How to write AS and A2 essays in Economics

A timely reminder about essay writing for economics as we approach our mid year school exams. This is in preparation for the real thing in September / October. Below is a mindmap on economic systems (market economy) which could be useful as an essay plan. I have also attached a document on writing Economics essays – goes through the important aspects of what Cambridge are looking for – Knowledge, Application, Analysis and Evaluation. Click below:

Source: CIE A Level Revision – Susan Grant

Economics Speed Essay Game

Rationale

  • This is a fun game to help students who hate writing or revising essays/short answers for IGCSE, AS Paper 2 and A2 Paper 4 .
  • I see this as both a formative tool that can be used in normal teaching as well as a revision exercise in Term 4.
  • I am sure you will have your own ideas and I would be interested as to how you adapt and modify to meet the nature of your individual teaching style and syllabus.

Brainstorming key ideas related to the essay (Term 4)

  • Divide class into 2,4 or 6 groups of approx 4 students. You may try to mix abilities or academically stream depending on your cohort. Each team to elect an ‘Examiner’. This person will rotate and change with each game.
  • Choose an essay (Most Eco essays have two parts A & B). Half the teams will start with essay A, while half start with essay B.
  • Prior to the essay game you may wish to revise the topic and / or give students time as a team to do so.
  • The teams get 2 mins to try to name as many mark points as they can. The Examiner cannot help the teams but can simply tick and confirm when they get a mark point.
  • The Bonus round! At the end of 2 minutes the Examiner A swaps with Examiner B. Hence all teams have seen both essays. The new team is read the question as well as the mark points already gained by the previous team. Any extra mark points that they brainstorm are bonus points. (You may wish to give these double value!)
  • Marks are collated both as a team of 4 students as well as a Super Team of 8 students i.e. the 2 teams that work together on the same essays A & B.
  • Team Points can me collated over a lesson or a term. You may wish to offer a prize to the best team and/ or the best Super Team.

Essay Plan (Term 2)

  • In pairs, they have 2 mins to plan a logical chain of thought that links the mark points they individually understand.
  • Do not encourage them to use point that they do not understand. Remember that aiming for B/C grades do not need full marks.

Writing a draft essay (Term 1)

  • Students have 1 min in silence to revise the essay.
  • Students have 4 min in silence to revise the essay.
  • Student pairs then mark each others essays.

Economics Speed Essay Game

Essay PlansHere is an idea I picked up off the Biology Department to make revision a bit more entertaining.

Rationale

This is a fun game to help students who hate writing or revising essays/short answers for IGCSE, AS Paper 2 and A2 Paper 4 .

I see this as both a formative tool that can be used in normal teaching as well as a revision exercise in Term 4.

I am sure you will have your own ideas and I would be interested as to how you adapt and modify to meet the nature of your individual teaching style and syllabus.


1. Brainstorming key ideas related to the essay (Team 4)

• Divide class into 2,4 or 6 groups of approx 4 students. You may try to mix abilities or academically stream depending on your cohort.

• Each team to elect an ‘Examiner’. This person will rotate and change with each game.

• Choose an essay (Most Eco essays have two parts A & B). Half the teams will start with essay A, while half start with essay B.

• Prior to the essay game you may wish to revise the topic and / or give students time as a team to do so.

• The teams get 2 mins to try to name as many mark points as they can. The Examiner cannot help the teams but can simply tick and confirm when they get a mark point.

• The Bonus round!
At the end of 2 minutes the Examiner A swaps with Examiner B. Hence all teams have seen both essays. The new team is read the question as well as the mark points already gained by the previous team. Any extra mark points that they brainstorm are bonus points. (You may wish to give these double value!)

• Marks are collated both as a team of 4 students as well as a Super Team of 8 students ie the 2 teams that work together on the same essays A & B.

• Team Points can me collated over a lesson or a term. You may wish to offer a prize to the best team and/ or the best Super Team.

2. Essay Plan (Team 2)

• In pairs, they have 2 mins to plan a logical chain of thought that links the mark points they individually understand.
• Do not encourage them to use point that they do not understand. Remember than aiming for B/C grades do not need full marks.

3. Writing a draft essay (Team 1)

• Students have 1 min in silence to revise the essay.
• Students have 4 min in silence to revise the essay.
• Student pairs then mark each others essays.

A2 Economics – Evaluation Skills for essay writing

Here are ten strategies for improving your evaluation skills in data response and essay questions written by Geoff Riley of Tutor2u.

1. Make good use of your final paragraph – avoid repetition of points already made
2. Look for key stem words in the question – build your evaluation around this
3. Put an economic event, a trend, a policy into a wider context
4. Be familiar with different schools of thought e.g. free market versus government intervention
5. Be aware that a singular economic event never happens in isolation especially in a world where economies are so closely inter-connected.
6. Question the reliability of the data you have been given
7. Draw on your wider knowledge to provide supporting evidence and examples
8. Consider both short term and longer term consequences (they are not always the same)
9. Consider both positive and negative consequences
10. Think about what might happen to your arguments if you drop the “ceteris paribus” assumption

Very worthwhile with the essay paper on Wednesday.

Essay tips for CIE exams

This is something that might be of use leading up to the exams:

Ten strategies for improving your evaluation skills in data response and essay questions

1. Make good use of your final paragraph – avoid repetition of points already made
2. Look for key stem words in the question – build your evaluation around this
3. Put an economic event, a trend, a policy into a wider context
4. Be familiar with different schools of thought e.g. free market versus government intervention
5. Be aware that a singular economic event never happens in isolation especially in a world where economies are so closely inter-connected.
6. Question the reliability of the data you have been given
7. Draw on your wider knowledge to provide supporting evidence and examples
8. Consider both short term and longer term consequences (they are not always the same)
9. Consider both positive and negative consequences
10. Think about what might happen to your arguments if you drop the “ceteris paribus” assumption

Economics is rather like a jigsaw, if you do enough reading, thinking and revision, eventually the pieces really start to fit together and finally you can see the whole (bigger) picture. Tutor2u.net