How will students be tested at the A Level Economics examination?
The examination requirements for H1 and H2 Economics students vary, in terms of the depth of study in the two major themes of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics.
For H1 Economics, students will be required to study fewer Microeconomics chapters as compared to those taking H2 Economics. In addition, H1 Economics syllabus questions focus more on direct explanation and trend analysis.
For H2 Economics, the examination questions require more elaborate application of writing and analytical skills. Questions would also be set with real world contexts, implying that students have to be well-read on the past and recent economic issues as well as the state of economies for various countries.
A Level Economics examination format
Given the understanding that H2 Economics students are studying more chapters and with more in-depth analysis of the concepts than H1 Economics students, it is also important to recognize the exam format structure. Generally, H2 Economics students are required to completed two papers in separate sessions, whereas H1 Economics students attempt one paper.
H2 Economics examination structure
The H2 Economics examination is separated into two parts: Paper 1 and Paper 2. For Paper 1, students have to complete two case study questions (CSQs), in which one CSQ will focus on Microeconomics and the other CSQ will examine Macroeconomics issues. However, it is imperative for students to bear in mind that the examinations in the recent years were observed to integrate both areas. For example, the first CSQ may include the application of Macroeconomics concepts as well. On average, a CSQ has 6 sub-questions. The duration for Paper 1 is 2 hours 15 minutes. Paper 1 occupies 40% of the overall grade.
For Paper 2, students will attempt three essay questions out of six, in which every question carries 25 marks. The economics essay questions can either be set as a 25-marks question or divided into two parts, (a) and (b). Paper 2 is structured in two parts: Section A and B. Students must attempt at least one question from each section. The third question can either be from Section A or B. The duration for Paper 2 is 2 hours 15 minutes. Paper 1 holds 60% of the overall grade.
For more information, please refer to the SEAB syllabus for 2017 H2 Economics (9757).
H1 Economics examination structure
The H1 Economics examination has only 1 paper, in which all the required questions are to be completed within 3 hours. The examination is separated into two parts: Section A and Section B.
For Section A, which refers to the Case Study Questions, students are to complete two sets of questions based on the given economic data and extracts. Students will be expected to apply economic concepts to solve the stated problems. Questions may require the integration of knowledge across multiple chapters, which is similar to H2 Economics CSQs. For each set of CSQ, which occupies 35% of the total marks, 14% focuses on data response type questions and 21% focuses on higher order thinking questions. Section A occupies 70% of the overall grade, which highlights the importance of CSQs to H1 Economics students.
For Section B, which refers to the Essay Questions, students have to complete 1 out of 2 essays. Usually, one question will be on Microeconomics and the other question focuses on Macroeconomics. However, students should avoid ‘spotting questions’ as there was one past year examination that set both questions on Macroeconomics. Section B holds 30% of the overall grade.
To find out more, please check the SEAB syllabus for 2017 H1 Economics (8819).
What skills are required to excel in A Level Economics?
Students must develop two areas in their skills development, which can be seen in terms of essay writing skills and case study answering techniques. These skills are important as the examination questions set in the recent years have been geared towards the analysis of economies, which students may not be aware of. By possessing these techniques, students do not have to be concerned with the uncertainty of questions since the skill requirements remain unchanged. Students of Economics Focus will learn how to acquire these essential skills to excel at the A Level Economics examination.
Essay writing skills
For the essay writing skills development, students should learn how to examine the question in an analytical way, whereby they can pick out the key terms and directional words to determine how the essay structure is set. Then, students have to develop a clear and concise introduction to enable the examiners to obtain a preview of the overall essay direction. The use of economic terms is important as it gives the essay the much-needed context to answer the questions. Also, if necessary, students should draw their diagrams to illustrate certain economic conditions in an organized and legible way.
Case study answering techniques
For CSQ skills development, students should read widely to understand the context of questions for various industries and economies around the world. The A Level Economics examinations are focused on the assessment of a student’s ability to handle economic data and extract information to derive the appropriate conclusions. The first few questions of the CSQ require students to apply the skills of trend analysis. Students must be familiar with many economic data format, such as diagrams, tables, and charts. The last few questions carry more marks as they require students to apply analytical skills in evaluating the reasons or impact for certain economic implications.
What is the latest trend of GCE A Level Economics examinations?
The study of exam trends is carried out by experienced JC economics tutors of Economics Focus. Students can use the observations to determine the key areas of study to better prepare for the upcoming exams. It is important to note that the trend observations are not absolute as the questions in the subsequent A Level Economics examinations may differ in the way they are set. Therefore, the following content is based on the most recent paper.
Trend observations of Paper 1 (CSQs)
The recent past year examinations have shown students that there is no definitive segregation of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics study for the two CSQs. Both themes are used in either CSQs. In addition, students should not only develop the ability to apply factual explanation skills, but also point analysis and evaluation. To avoid being hindered by the complexity of questions, students must develop broader awareness and understanding of different industries, like airlines and smartphones. At the Microeconomics level, students must understand the product and industry nature. At the Macroeconomics level, students must recognize the economic issues at the national and international scales. Hence, it is imperative for students to be up-to-date on economic-related developments, aside from knowing the theoretical aspects.
Trend observations for Paper 2 (Essays)
Essay questions in the recent past year examinations are based on the integration of chapters. This means that students cannot spot chapters and invest their revision time on their preferred areas of study. For example, a Section A question might test both Microeconomics and Macroeconomics concepts together. Furthermore, essay questions may contain a preamble, which requires students to give context to their essay discussion. Hence, students are expected to set their scope of writing by adhering to the given context. Besides, students must prepare explanatory notes, which comprises of process explanation, issue-based evaluation, and graphical illustration, based on the question context.