Economics students are no stranger to writing lengthy essays, a mandatory component of Paper 2 of H2 JC Economics. This paper is further divided into two sections, where Section A mainly focuses on microeconomics while Section B mainly focuses on macroeconomics. Students are expected to answer three questions out of the whole paper. As with other essay papers, students are required to choose one question from each section, as well as a third question from either Section A or B. Needless to say, having a wide knowledge of real-world economics will be extremely valuable when taking this paper.
What are Essay Questions Like?
Economics essay questions typically present a scenario and ask students to present a balanced view on the situation. The questions provide little data, instead of requiring students to rely on their own background knowledge and studied material to answer the question. You will notice common keywords appearing frequently in each question, helping you to identify the type of answer each question is looking for. For instance, keywords such as “discuss” and “explain” usually require the student to provide a balanced argument for the case in point. A good rule of thumb is to identify the two sides of the situation, and then develop a fair argument for each side.
It is also important for students to be able to determine what topic the question concerns. Since the economics syllabus comprises of many topics across microeconomics and macroeconomics, one must be careful of how they are approaching the question. Failure to correctly identify the relevant topics and concepts could potentially cost you a lot of marks from answering the question out of context. Students might also waste time answering a question according to the wrong concept, before realizing that they were on the wrong track and having to rewrite the entire essay. As such, the importance of thoroughly revising your economics content cannot be understated.
Getting Started on the Essays
It may be tempting to flip the paper over and begin answering the first question right away, especially if time is a constraint. However, we recommend choosing your questions carefully. Even if it takes a few minutes at the start of the paper to look through all your options, be sure to consider all the questions and choose the ones that you are most confident in answering. This could save you plenty of valuable time, compared to writing an essay halfway and finding that that topic is not your strongest after all.
Structuring a Great Economics Essay
Just like any other essay, an economics essay should start off with an introduction. The introduction summarises the situation you are discussing, as well as the points you will be including to support each side of the argument. If there are any terms or definitions that need to be clarified, add it to your introduction. At a glance, the introduction should give the examiners a clear summary of the contents of your essay. It serves to demonstrate how well you have understood the question and how you are going to approach it.
It is also good to include a thesis statement at the end of your introduction. If the question requires a balanced argument, be sure to include an anti-thesis as well. The thesis statement should be a sentence that directly answers the question and states the main idea of your essay.
However, it is worth noting that the introduction and thesis are usually written after you have planned out all your content, as it is much easier to backtrack and summarise what you have already written instead of the other way around. It is a good idea to draft out each point you will be making, as well as the relevant examples and explanation you plan to use to support it.
When writing your content, remember that cross-referencing is key. Just because the question asks about a particular scenario or event does not mean you have to stick to providing evidence solely from that topic. Sometimes, there may be other economic examples in the real world that can provide a compelling case for your argument. If you are referencing a real-world example, it is important to provide ample context and even illustrations if needed.
Lastly, always end with a conclusion to reinforce the perspective you are agreeing with. Explain why you chose this argument after looking at both sides of the coin. This tells the examiners that you have correctly understood and applied the economics concepts you have learned.
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