Economics, to a lot of students in JC, is a new subject. Unlike the traditional and isolated subjects previously learned in secondary school, Economics requires not only a firm grasp of mathematics principles but also current events, human psychology and behavior, and local and global policymaking. This combination is new, and students find themselves having to make predictions and calculations that are different from the detached math or physics questions they have previously done.
New students become overwhelmed, and a single misstep could lead to them falling behind in JC. What then?
Well, let’s discuss several strategies that we employ during our economics tuition sessions outside of rote memorisation.
Understanding and application through case studies
While the memorisation of general trends is important, comprehension of those trends can help significantly during essay-based questions, which may present unexpected situations. For economics, three general principles guide understanding:
- How to convert from one form to another (e.g., phrases to relationships)
- How to interpret and explain the given material
- How to understand and estimate trends based on the given material
For instance, the following question is presented:
A shoe store is selling a specific brand of Noke shoe, which have sold very well over the last year and are likely to continue doing well this year. This year, Noke is releasing a new brand of shoes, which critics are saying will likely do equally well. How do you predict the demand curve will shift for the older brand of Noke shoe?
- The curve shifts left.
- The curve shifts right.
- The curve does not shift.
The above question asks students to understand and interpret the question: there is an item. A competitor is coming out. They are likely to do equally well. How does the student predict the demand will be for the older brand?
About 40% of questions on JC Economics exams will be questions in a similar vein, that require students to understand taught concepts beyond memorisation, and subsequently, apply them.
The easiest way to learn this? Exposure to real-life case studies
The newspapers frequently release real-life economics problems of the world; parents, guardians, and economics tutors in Singapore can (and do) frequently leverage these to have discussions with their teenagers on how that may affect market demand and, if relevant, fiscal or monetary policies.
Get concepts explained in a different way
Singaporean students depend on several resources to get through their studying, and this commonly involves textbooks, school assignments, and practice materials from economics tuition or economics tutors in Singapore. This does mean, however, that explanations and examples tend to be along the same vein, and this can be frustrating for students who aren’t able to grasp concepts from the monotonous explanation.
Lectures and materials can easily and quickly be paired with concept explanations from additional sources. Specifically, our tutors frequently recommend and use Khan Academy and Crash Course. The use of additional materials and lecturers can help students view concepts from an entirely different perspective, and thus help them understand ideas better.
Of course, neither Crash Course nor Khan Academy offers practice problems or solutions, simply content. They are also specific to U.S. school curricula more than the MOE curriculum. As such, they cannot be used on their own to get through MOE Economics and ‘A’-Level Economics. Instead, the presence of a tutor or parent must still be present to provide guidance during the application of these concepts to practice problems and essays.
Many students learn content in school or class and subsequently go through the content over again during economics tuition. With a good tutor, we actually recommend the opposite, where you learn from your tutors and revise the concepts during class instead. Tutors can tailor the introduction of concepts to students and increase engagement and retainment, and they can then reinforce this at school during their teacher’s explanations, which are geared to convey information to the whole class instead of an individual.
There are several major benefits to this last one, and the biggest one as mentioned above is tailored learning, which increases absorption and retainment of information, as well as the student’s understanding of concepts. This arrangement, however, also serves to help with your performance during class as well as your assignment grades, although indirectly.
After class, students will continue to practice, but can then use points 1 and 2 to bolster their knowledge of the concept in order to better prepare for exams. Tutors can revisit difficult concepts as needed later on based on the student’s learning, as opposed to topic by topic and being guided by the school curriculum.
Economics can be a sudden and difficult subject for many students to master, given the sudden combination of both mathematics and humanities in the subject. With sufficient learning, additional external aids, and the help of a tutor to help the student through things, Edu Aid is confident that anyone can learn to do well in Economics.