Case studies constitute 40% of your A level H2 Economics grades. Not being able to do well in this section can very well cost you your A in the subject. Even knowing the content at the back of your hand, still may not guarantee you a good score in this paper. Here are 7 tips to help you with case studies.
Objective of case studies: case studies do not test you on how well you know the content (that’s in paper 2), but how well you can apply these concepts in a given context.
Tip 1: Manage your time well
Many students often walk out of the examination hall with one long question left undone that is just too many marks lost unnecessarily. To avoid this, set time markers during the paper. Here is a table suggesting how you need to spend your 1 hour and 5 minute for each case study.
|Skim through the extracts||5 min|
|Finish all the short answer questions||20 min|
|Finish both long questions||8 marks||17 min|
|10 marks||23 min|
Be flexible with the time allocated. Personally I prefer to spend more time on the long questions and I will allocate more than 40 min for them and less for the others. Use the last 5 minutes you have to check or use it if you think you need the extra time to finish a good answer.
Tip 2: Write less to answer more
This will help you meet the 20 minute target for the short answer questions. Some of the 4 – 6 marks question can cover a wide scope and students will often overwrite for these questions. So how much is enough? Well, there is a formula that I came up with to count how many points you need for each short answer question, unless the question states otherwise.
Tip 3: The answers are IN THE EXTRACT
Some case studies essay question may ask about something you have not formally studied about. For instance, one of my school papers asked about youth unemployment and the impacts of it on UK economy. We are all familiar with the impacts of unemployment, but youth unemployment? One of the extracts has provided answers like brain drain and long term structural unemployment. Don’t panic if you are unsure of what is being asked, answers can always be found in the extracts.
** Do not answer case study questions like it is a comprehension paper, you will never get above a L1 or a low L2 marks for the essays. To get better score, you have to find the points in the extract and use the economic theories and concept you have learnt to back up the points.
For example, use the AD/AS diagram to show how brain drain can harm both the actual and potential growth of the economy.
Tip 4: Know all the A level tricks
A level paper has been infamously tricky and students who are careless often lose marks by overlooking certain key words like “best” or overlooking certain statistics. Look through the past years paper and you will realise that these tricks are being recycled every year like using percentage change instead of the actual growth values in graphs or charts. If you are careful enough you can avoid losing these marks which are supposed to be giveaways.
Tip 5: Learn from your peers’ and your own mistakes
Read your friend’s script and find out what mistakes they have made and try to avoid it as well. There is less than 2 years before you seat for A levels and about 6 more months for the current J2s. You will never make all the mistakes there are in this short time. Hence, learn from not only your mistakes but others’ as well.
Tip 6: Read up on economic news
Case studies are often about some prominent economic crisis, like the Eurozone crisis or the oil market. Having some contextual knowledge will definitely help you a little in answering the questions. Subscribe to econoception newsletter if you have not done so. We will bring you articles that are relevant to A level economics syllabus.
Tip 7: Practice
You will definitely need to practice if you want to do well. I don’t mean practice as you take your own sweet time to finish the paper, try to stick to the allocated time and put yourself under exam conditions.
Till next time, dream economics.