Quick tips to get top marks in your IB Economics essay
Updated 5th October, 2022
How can I maximise marks in my IB Economics essay?
This is a question our IB economic tutors are often asked.
So, to help give you ideas to get even better marks, we talked to Bogdan, who is our resident IB Economics expert.
He is an IB teacher and an IB Economics Examiner and has taught in international schools in Romania, China, and Germany.
Here, he goes through his top tips on how to ace your Economics essay.
Please click here if you would like a lesson with him.
Understand the Question.
First, try to understand the essential point behind the question, then try and rephrase the question into a simpler version, if appropriate like this:
Examine the macro economic implications of a significant fall in UK house prices, combined with a simultaneous loosening of Monetary Policy.
Here it is re-written in plain English:
What is the effect of falling house prices on the Economy?
What is the effect of falling interest rates (loose monetary policy) on the economy?
In effect, there are two distinct parts to this question. It is a valid response, to deal with each separately, before considering both together.
By breaking it down like this you increase your chances of taking all the marks for a given question.
Write in simple sentences.
For clarity of thought, I usually recommend that students write in shorter sentences.
The goal is to avoid combining too many ideas into one sentence.
So, if you write in short sentences, it may sound a little stilted.
But it is worth remembering that there are no extra marks for a Shakespearian grasp of English. (At least in Economics Exams). It is better to be clear and concise.
(Do you see how short and simple my phrases are, above?)
What is the impact of higher interest rates?
Higher interest rates increase the cost of borrowing. As a result, those with mortgages will have lower disposable income. Also, consumers have less incentive to borrow and spend on credit cards. Therefore, consumption will be lower. This fall in consumption will cause a fall in Aggregate Demand and therefore lead to lower economic growth. A fall in Aggregate Demand will also reduce inflation. (Draw diagram.)
I could have combined 1 or 2 sentences together, but here I wanted to show that short sentences can aid clarity of thought. No words are wasted in the above example.
So you can see here that with no wasted words, and I also save valuable time writing my answer.
Answer the Question.
As an IB examiner marking IB Economics exam essays, I often notice that some candidates have a reasonable knowledge of Economics, but unfortunately do not answer the question. As a result, they can get zero marks for a question. Although this may seem harsh if you don’t answer the question the examiner can’t give you any marks.
At the end of each paragraph you can ask yourself; how does this paragraph answer the question? If you think it does not address the question clearly enough, you can write a one-sentence summary, which directly answers the question. Don’t wait to the end of the essay to realise you have answered a different question.
Discuss the impact of EURO membership on UK fiscal and monetary policy.
Most students will have revised for a question on – The Benefits and Costs of the EURO. Therefore, as soon as they see the EURO in the title, they put down all their notes on the benefits and costs of the EURO.
You can see that this question is quite specific; it only wishes to know the impact on fiscal and monetary policy.
Evaluation, what do we mean by it?
The “joke” goes, put 10 economists in a room and you will get 11 different answers. Why? You may ask. The nature of economics is that quite often there is no “right” answer.
It is important that we always consider other points of view, and discuss various, potential outcomes.
This is what we mean by evaluation.
The effect of raising interest rates will reduce consumer spending.
In contrast, if confidence is high, higher interest rates may not actually discourage consumer spending. If the economy is close to full capacity, a rise in interest rates may reduce inflation but not reduce growth.
Having said that, if there is already a slowdown in the economy, rising interest rates may cause a recession.
If you need help preparing for any part of your Economics IB exams including your IB Economics essays, we can match you with Bogdan or one of our other IB Economics experts for face to face lessons or online IB tuition. Our IB experts are here to give you the support you need.
Bogdan teaches IB and IGSCE Economics for TutorsPlus. To book a lesson with him, click here.
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