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How to Study Economics Effectively

Economics is a confusing subject for many people. If you feel the same way about it then don’t worry. It is all about grasping the understanding of a few basic concepts.

Once that is done, you can apply the concepts easily. Of course, for this, you will need to practice and revise and this is where we come in. Before diving in and giving you the most amazing study tips, here is the exam pattern and syllabus.

This helps understand what is required so you are prepared for your revision.

AS-Level Economics Paper 1

Type: Multiple Choice

Duration: 1 Hour

Marks: 30

You will be given thirty multiple-choice questions and you have to attempt all.

AS-Level Economics Paper 2

Type: Data Response And Essay

Duration: 1 Hour And 30 Minutes

Marks: 40

This paper will have two sections. Section A and Section B. Section A will comprise one data response question that will be worth 20 marks. Section B will have three structured essay questions and each will be of 20 marks. You have to only do one question from this section.

A-Level Economics Paper 3

Type: Multiple Choice

Duration: 1 Hour 15 Minutes

Marks: 30

You will be given thirty multiple-choice questions and you have to attempt all.

A-Level Economics Paper 4

Type: Data Response And Essay

Duration: 2 Hours And 15 Minutes

Marks: 70

This paper will comprise of two sections. Section A and B. Section A will have one data response question of 20 marks. Section B will have six questions and each will be of 25 marks. You have to choose two from this section.

AS & A-Level Economics Syllabus

Topic 1: Basic Economic Ideas And Resource Allocation:

  • Scarcity, choice, and opportunity cost
  • Positive and normative statements
  • Factors of production
  • Resource allocation in different economic systems
  • PPC
  • Money
  • Classification of goods and services
  • Efficient resource allocation
  • Externalities and market failure
  • Cost-benefit analysis

Topic 2: The Price System And The Micro Economy

  • Demand and supply curves
  • Price elasticity, income elasticity, and cross-elasticities of demand
  • Price elasticity of supply
  • Interaction of demand and supply
  • Market equilibrium and disequilibrium
  • Consumer and producer surplus
  • Law of diminishing marginal utility
  • Indifference curves and budget lines
  • Types of cost, revenue, and profit
  • Different market structures
  • Growth and survival of firms
  • Differing objectives of a firm

Topic 3: Government Microeconomic Intervention

  • Maximum and minimum prices
  • Taxes
  • Subsidies
  • Transfer payments
  • Direct provision of goods and services
  • Nationalization and privatization
  • Policies to achieve efficient resource allocation and correct market failure
  • Equity and policies towards income and wealth redistribution
  • Labour market forces
  • Government failure in economic intervention

Topic 4: The Macro Economy

  • Aggregate demand and supply
  • Inflation
  • Balance of payments
  • Exchange rates
  • Terms of trade
  • Absolute and comparative advantage
  • Protectionism
  • Economic growth, development, and sustainability
  • National income statistics
  • Classification of countries
  • Employment and unemployment
  • Circular flow of income
  • Money supply
  • Keynesian and Monetarist schools
  • Demand for money and interest rate determination
  • Policies towards developing economies

Topic 5: Macroeconomic Intervention

  • Fiscal, monetary, and supply-side policy
  • Policies to correct balance of payments disequilibrium
  • Policies to correct inflation and deflation
  • Government macro policy aims
  • Inter-connectedness of problems
  • Effectiveness of policy options to meet all macroeconomic objectives

Study Tips To Ace Your A-Level Economics Exam

Now that we have covered all the basics, it is time to move on to some game-changing tips. Be consistent and follow these guidelines to ace your exam in no time:

#1. Master The Technique Of The Exam

While memorizing is important, it is also just as important to understand what your examiners want from you. You can understand this by looking at the mark schemes and checking how each section or question will be evaluated.

Also, check the weightage of the exams and sections to understand what matters more. In the papers that have data responses, you must utilize the data they have given you in your answer.

This doesn't mean to just state the data as it is but to critique and analyze it using your critical thinking skills. This brings us to our next point.

#2. Practice Makes Perfect

Yes, this is an overused line but only because it works. You need to keep practicing past papers and apply your knowledge again and again. This will help you in applying theory from many different angles and you will understand it better each time you apply it.

It will also perfect your analytical skills as data response questions require you to apply some critical thinking. You can only develop this through practice so keep on trying!

#3. Manage Your Time

Instead of leaving everything to the last minute, prioritize your time to make more room for studying. The syllabus of economics is extensive and requires in-depth understanding and analysis.

This is why you must start preparing yourself for a while before. Make a study schedule that is realistic and achievable for you and stick to it. This will save your time and effort as you will be able to make time for other things in life as well.

#4. Utilize Economic Theories

After all, they are there for a reason. Many students make the mistake of giving a more general answer to questions. This may not seem like a problem but to the examiner, it will seem as if you don't know much about the subject.

When you have learned so much in economics, it is essential to apply those concepts as well. Economic theories are vast and interconnected. Memorize them and learn to apply them in different contexts. This will set you apart from other students as it will help you score that A.

#5. Apply The 4-Step Process

The best way to answer economic questions is to explain your answer in a logical order. This means that for each point you write, you should:

  • Identify
  • Explain
  • Use data or examples
  • Evaluate and analyze

First, identify the point you are trying to make and then explain what it is. After that, you should prove that point through the use of data and other examples. Once that is done you should evaluate your point in the context of the question and give different viewpoints to provide an in-depth analysis.

All of your essay questions should be answered through this four-step process if you want to score the highest marks.

#6. Memorize Concepts 

This is a no-brainer. You have to memorize all the economic concepts. However, what technique should you apply to get the best results? We recommend you to follow the DDEE method. You should learn every concepts definitions, diagrams, explanations, and examples.

This will break your content down even further and you can learn more easily. If you want to take this technique to the next level you can even make flashcards of these.

First, you can memorize all of this and note it down on your flashcards. After that, you don't have to skim through your notes and various books again and again. All you will have to do is take out the flashcards and revise.

This will save you a lot of time and effort as you will have everything at your fingertips.

#7. Keep Reviewing

Every time you sit down to study, always take the first ten minutes to revise what you learned the last time you studied. This will help you freshen up the concepts you have learned and will make it more likely that you will not forget.

You can do this for each time and once you get in the habit of this then reviewing and taking in new information will become much easier for you. Ask yourself questions during this review process to understand the concepts even better every time.

This may seem like a tedious task but it is the most effective method of storing information.

#8. Don’t Give Up!

Many of us lose motivation during the process but the important thing is to not give up. Even if you feel like you don’t want to study try to discipline yourself and give it your all each time.

Make time for studying and sit down at the same time each day. This will help you in establishing a healthy studying habit. Once you get in this habit, your study time will become a part of your routine and you will automatically study every day!

Final Words

A-Levels is difficult but not impossible. If anything, it teaches us to be more disciplined and patient in the face of stress. Economics exam is not an easy feat but you can do it. 

All you have to do is follow these guidelines and stay focused. Remember, hard work always pays off and yours will too. Think of the amazing grade you will get and use that motivation to study hard and smart.

Once you do, you will be acing the paper with flying colors!

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Tutor City's blog focuses on balancing informative and relevant content, never at the expense of providing an enriching read. 

We want our readers to expand their horizons by learning more and find meaning to what they learn.

Resident author - Mr Wee Ben Sen, has a wealth of experience in crafting articles to provide valuable insights in the field of private education.

Ben Sen has also been running Tutor City, a leading home tuition agency in Singapore since 2010.