Economics Paper 2 Essays On Love

As the government begins its crackdown on essay mill websites, it’s easy to see just how much pressure students are under to get top grades for their coursework these days. But writing a high-scoring paper doesn’t need to be complicated. We spoke to experts to get some simple techniques that will raise your writing game.

Tim Squirrell is a PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, and is teaching for the first time this year. When he was asked to deliver sessions on the art of essay-writing, he decided to publish a comprehensive (and brilliant) blog on the topic, offering wisdom gleaned from turning out two or three essays a week for his own undergraduate degree.

“There is a knack to it,” he says. “It took me until my second or third year at Cambridge to work it out. No one tells you how to put together an argument and push yourself from a 60 to a 70, but once you to get grips with how you’re meant to construct them, it’s simple.”

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Poke holes

The goal of writing any essay is to show that you can think critically about the material at hand (whatever it may be). This means going beyond regurgitating what you’ve read; if you’re just repeating other people’s arguments, you’re never going to trouble the upper end of the marking scale.

“You need to be using your higher cognitive abilities,” says Bryan Greetham, author of the bestselling How to Write Better Essays. “You’re not just showing understanding and recall, but analysing and synthesising ideas from different sources, then critically evaluating them. That’s where the marks lie.”

But what does critical evaluation actually look like? According to Squirrell, it’s simple: you need to “poke holes” in the texts you’re exploring and work out the ways in which “the authors aren’t perfect”.

“That can be an intimidating idea,” he says. “You’re reading something that someone has probably spent their career studying, so how can you, as an undergraduate, critique it?

“The answer is that you’re not going to discover some gaping flaw in Foucault’s History of Sexuality Volume 3, but you are going to be able to say: ‘There are issues with these certain accounts, here is how you might resolve those’. That’s the difference between a 60-something essay and a 70-something essay.”

Critique your own arguments

Once you’ve cast a critical eye over the texts, you should turn it back on your own arguments. This may feel like going against the grain of what you’ve learned about writing academic essays, but it’s the key to drawing out developed points.

“We’re taught at an early age to present both sides of the argument,” Squirrell continues. “Then you get to university and you’re told to present one side of the argument and sustain it throughout the piece. But that’s not quite it: you need to figure out what the strongest objections to your own argument would be. Write them and try to respond to them, so you become aware of flaws in your reasoning. Every argument has its limits and if you can try and explore those, the markers will often reward that.”

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Fine, use Wikipedia then

The use of Wikipedia for research is a controversial topic among academics, with many advising their students to stay away from the site altogether.

“I genuinely disagree,” says Squirrell. “Those on the other side say that you can’t know who has written it, what they had in mind, what their biases are. But if you’re just trying to get a handle on a subject, or you want to find a scattering of secondary sources, it can be quite useful. I would only recommend it as either a primer or a last resort, but it does have its place.”

Focus your reading

Reading lists can be a hindrance as well as a help. They should be your first port of call for guidance, but they aren’t to-do lists. A book may be listed, but that doesn’t mean you need to absorb the whole thing.

Squirrell advises reading the introduction and conclusion and a relevant chapter but no more. “Otherwise you won’t actually get anything out of it because you’re trying to plough your way through a 300-page monograph,” he says.

You also need to store the information you’re gathering in a helpful, systematic way. Bryan Greetham recommends a digital update of his old-school “project box” approach.

“I have a box to catch all of those small things – a figure, a quotation, something interesting someone says – I’ll write them down and put them in the box so I don’t lose them. Then when I come to write, I have all of my material.”

There are a plenty of online offerings to help with this, such as the project management app Scrivener and referencing tool Zotero, and, for the procrastinators, there are productivity programmes like Self Control, which allow users to block certain websites from their computers for a set period.

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Look beyond the reading list

“This is comparatively easy to do,” says Squirrell. “Look at the citations used in the text, put them in Google Scholar, read the abstracts and decide whether they’re worth reading. Then you can look on Google Scholar at other papers that have cited the work you’re writing about – some of those will be useful. But quality matters more than quantity.”

And finally, the introduction

The old trick of dealing with your introduction last is common knowledge, but it seems few have really mastered the art of writing an effective opener.

“Introductions are the easiest things in the world to get right and nobody does it properly,” Squirrel says. “It should be ‘Here is the argument I am going to make, I am going to substantiate this with three or four strands of argumentation, drawing upon these theorists, who say these things, and I will conclude with some thoughts on this area and how it might clarify our understanding of this phenomenon.’ You should be able to encapsulate it in 100 words or so. That’s literally it.”

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So this article will serve as a kind of extension to a previous article I wrote which you can access through this link.

Economics. Boring to study (debatable). Very useful later in life. Today we’re focusing on IB Economics Paper 1 tips. This is gonna be more technique based.

As with all the techniques I’ve been posting about up until now, you want to make sure that you know your content fairly well enough.

If you’re going to do well for Econ, you DEFINITELY need to know your stuff before you walk into that exam. Now, let me just say that the IB Economics Paper 1 exam is A LOT easier if you have a method for doing it.

The advice I’m going to share today entirely revolves around your structure first. We’ll get into the analysis part at a later stage. So let’s get into it.

IB Economics Paper 1 Tips

Structure/Plan Of Action

Planning is a general theme to pretty much all my articles. There will be no exception for this IB economics paper 1 tips article. Planning is key and I know it’s a cliché to say this but when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Simple as that.

Don’t worry too much about that though. This is a pretty simple structure to follow so you won’t need to worry too much. It’s not very technical. Pretty much “IB Economics Paper One For Dummies” if you know what I’m sayin’.

So. How should you go about planning? With this, fool proof, examiner-friendly acronym that I credit my former Economics teacher for brining to our attention. It’s called DEED in the case of the 10 mark question and DEEDE in the case of the 15 mark question.

“Ok. Great. Fantastic. Stupendous, Rhys. Yeah I TOTALLY get what the acronym is supposed to mean”

Whoa calm down not so fast. I’m not done explaining it yet.

So What’s DEED and DEEDE Stand For?

First of all, I have to clarify that you use DEED for the 10 mark questions only. This is because for the 15 mark question, you need to add an evaluation. DEED basically stands for this:

D – Definitions

E – Explanation

E – Examples

D – Diagram

And since you know the 15 mark question needs to include and evaluation part to it, you know the final E in DEEDE is going to be:

E – Evaluation

Now you’re going to want to remember this acronym for the test and format your answer entirely around that format. Trust me. It’s foolproof if you’ve nailed your analytical writing.

So how would you go about answering a 10 mark question using the DEED format? For this, we’re going to look at an example from an actual past paper (Please don’t sue me IBO if you’re reading this)

This is the Microeconomics Question from the IB Economics November Past Paper:

For 10 marks:

“Explain why a government might decide to impose an indirect tax on the consumption of cigarettes”

For 15 marks:

“Discuss the possible consequences of the imposition of an indirect tax on cigarettes for the different stakeholders in the market”

We’re going to break down these two questions with the handy IB Economics paper tips I have in mind in the next two sections.

How To Structure Your 10 Mark Questions – IB Economics Paper 1 Tips

So remember DEED? Yeah. We’re gonna apply it now so don’t get TOO excited.

Definitions

Let’s start off with the easiest one (assuming you’ve done your content revision well). This is the part where you define all the theories or economic terms that you’ll be writing about.

So in the 10 mark question above, you may choose to define what an indirect tax is and also what demerit goods are (because cigarettes are demerit goods). Simple as that. Two definitions defined. Next.

Explanation

You could also write your example here if you wanted. It doesn’t really matter which route you take. So long as you’re clear, your answer flows well, and your explanation and examples are good obviously.

For the explanation, you’d have to get analytical and explain the theory of a government implementing an indirect tax on cigarettes. So how does the theory work? How does implementing an indirect tax help a government raise revenue and reduce the overall consumption of cigarettes?

That’s basically what the explaining part is about. Explaining the theory, how it works, what it’s affects are and potential flaws (you don’t actually need to mention the disadvantages of the theory unless it’s a 15 mark question).

Example

In this part of your answer, you need to basically give an example supporting your explanation and the theory you used. It can be a real life example that you know of or you could make up a hypothetical one .So you could basically go:

“For example, the government of country Y decided to implement an indirect tax on cigarettes to reduce the negative effects of passive smoking on non-smokers. As a result….”

That’s probably not such a good example. You should check with your teachers about it but yeah. That’s the general gist of how you would approach the example stage of your 10 markers. Remember. It doesn’t need to be a real world example. It can be hypothetical but you have to explain it well.

Diagrams

This is probably the easier part of the entire 10 marker. You could get some very easy marks, I’m talking 2 or 3 marks even, for drawing the diagram correctly, labelling the diagram correctly, and titling it correctly.

Points for diagrams are literally the easiest marks you can get in the IB Economics Exams. Trust me. It’s so easy to pick up marks here that you BETTER remember to include them. I know I’m blabbing on about their importance but let’s take a look at a markscheme shall we?

Now before I get into anymore detail, let’s PRAY my site doesn’t get flagged by the IBO for just giving you a sneak peek at a markscheme…

So. Notice anything different between boundaries 2 and 3?

No? Look again. It clearly says “Where appropriate, diagrams are included”. Same goes for boundary 4. You see how hard it’s going to be for an examiner to give you a mark higher than a 6 if you don’t include a diagram?

See why that’s important? 4 marks. Poof. Gone. Include your diagrams folks because it’ll make all the difference. You could have the best theory and explanations and still land a 6 instead of a 10. Diagrams are easy marks unless you forget to include them.

So. Moving on to the 15 marker.

How To Structure Your 15 Mark Questions – IB Economics Paper 1 Tips

This time we’re adding that extra E to DEED. Let’s get right into it. Here’s the question in case you forgot:

“Discuss the possible consequences of the imposition of an indirect tax on cigarettes for the different stakeholders in the market”

Definitions

Looks like indirect tax comes up again as a possible term to define. Guess what though? No worries! All you gotta do is say “Please refer to part a) for the definition of an indirect tax.” Bam. Done. Moving on.

You can move on to the next definition which is likely ‘stakeholders’ or ‘the market’. Before we move on let’s just clear things up. You don’t need to define a term that’s already been defined in the 10 marker.

You can just refer the examiner to the same definition. Gives you more time to spend on everything else (by the way we’re going to get into time management after this 15 mark section don’t worry).

Explanation

This is where you use that thing in your skull called a brain to really impress your examiners. Keep in mind examiners mark you based on how relevant your answer is to the question. SO. Your theory has to revolve around the question.

Basically you have to ask yourself “Ok so it’s asking for possible consequences on stakeholders in the market…Right so I have to think about how the indirect tax affects different stakeholders”

In these cases, it’s always good to include 3 stakeholders to really show off your writing skillzzzz. So for example in this question, the three that you would pick that would make sense would be the government, consumers, and producers of cigarettes.

Your explanation revolves around telling the examiner how the indirect tax affects all three stakeholders.

Example

Like earlier, you gotta include your examples. They can be hypothetical or real life examples that have to essentially indicate the effects of the theory you just explained in real life.

So in this case, off the top of my head, you could go:

“The government of country Z for example decided to implement indirect taxes on alcohol. While the end result was an increase in revenue, the addictive nature of alcohol meant that country Z was unable to lower consumption for the demerit good” (In this example I’m just gonna assume demerit good was define earlier)

Probably a crap example but you get the idea.

Diagrams

Now remember children. You should never ever miss skip your daily dose of healthy diagrams or the big bad examiner will tell you off and you’ll fail your exam and you’ll fail your subject and you’ll fail IB and end up homeless and poor and starving and, and, and….. Need I say more? 😀

Ok so I’m gonna assume most of you rolled your eyes at that one. Hey man. Just so you know, I do try to make these posts as unboring as possible. Yeah I know unboring isn’t a word but I’m using it. Sue me 🙂

RIGHT enough crappy comedy. Diagrams, easy marks, draw them correctly and you’ll be alright. You get the picture. Moving on.

Evaluation

Here we go ladies and gents. The final frontier for the economics paper. Evaluation is probably what chokes up a lot of IB Economics students. For the 15 mark questions, this part makes all the difference between a 6 and a 7.

So how do we approach this? Well look at the question again:

“Discuss the possible consequences of the imposition of an indirect tax on cigarettes for the different stakeholders in the market”

It’s not asking for an evaluation that goes “In conclusion, this theory creates revenue, reduces consumption and..” NO. DO NOT go down that path. LOOK at the question again. It says “Discuss” and “Possible consequences”.

Get it yet? It’s asking for a discussion where you compare the advantages and disadvantages. If you took another route and didn’t use advantages vs. disadvantages, then a discussion with the points you wrote.

Essentially your evaluation should look more like this:

“In relation to the consequences, producers and consumers see to lose more with this indirect tax as consumers will pay more for goods that were previously cheaper and cigarette manufacturers may see a decrease in demand for their product.

Alternatively, the consequences of cigarette consumption towards society in the form of passive smoking and health problems may remain as smokers may not react to the indirect tax as cigarettes are addictive in nature.

On the other hand, the immediate benefits of an indirect tax are an increase of revenue for the government which could increase government spending on the economy.

A reduction in cigarette consumption could also lead to a reduction in negative externalities of consumption in the economy as there would be a reduction in passive smoking etc. etc.”

You get the idea.

Probably not the best answer in the world but that’s along the lines you should be writing. Use key words from the question to indicate to the examiner that you know your stuff. Also, you DO need a conclusion so you’ll need to pick, in this case, whether advantages beats disadvantages or the other way around. So it would be something like:

“Overall, upon further analysis, while it’s true that there are potential drawbacks to multiple consumers for the implementation of an indirect tax on cigarettes, there are also numerous more advantages to be considered which could benefit society and the government in the long run”

That’s basically how you would answer that.

Time Management

Ok, ok, ok I’m sorry. Look I know you’ve done a ton of reading already. Don’t worry. This part will be shorter BUT IT’S STILL IMPORTANT. So read on folks.

Bare with me now. We’re almost at the end of the post. This last part has to do with managing your time in the exam. It’s crucial so stick around.

You have an hour and a half for the exam both SL and HL. You want to be making sure you’re allocating your time efficiently.

Which question deserves more attention? The 15 marker obviously. So let’s break it down into manageable amount of information:

1 hour and 30 minutes

45 minutes per question

Since the 15 marker deserves more attention, you need to give more time to it. Depending on how fast you write, you could split it into a 15 minute and 30 minute arrangement; 15 minutes for the 10 marker and 30 minutes for the 15 marker.

Personally, I was taught to allocate 17 or 18 minutes to writing the 10 marker and 28 or 27 minutes for the 15 marker. Either way you do it, make sure you’re arranging more time for the 15 marker. Also take into account reading time of 5 minutes.

Do a lot of practice before walking into that test. It’s a monumental help. Also, just as an FYI. Make your diagrams BIG and BEAUTIFUL. Ok not beautiful but just make them big. Bigger diagrams are easier to read, mark, and are generally more appealing to the eye, especially for an overworked examiner who’s got like 30 other papers to mark.

***IMPORTANT***

I may not have mentioned it explicitly with the other IB Economics paper 1 tips but I will now.

MAKE SURE that you make references to the information given to you. It’s not mandatory because you’re essentially referring to the information given to you on the paper but it’s good practice to explicitly reference of cite the info from time to time. This is applicable to both the 10 mark question and 15 mark question

 

Looking for some more studying tips? Here are some general, but effective, ones!

Posted by Rhys McKenna in IB Economics

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