AS Macro Revision: Hints on Exam Technique

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Information about AS Macro Revision: Hints on Exam Technique

Published on February 21, 2014

Author: tutor2u


AS Macro Revision AS Macro – Hints on Exam Technique Spring 2014

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AS Macro – Know The Essentials • Determinants of macro performance – Understanding AD-AS analysis / changes in AD and AS – Using this AD-AS analysis to explore recent and current developments and policies e.g. Recession and recovery, unemployment and inflation, trade • Analysing and critically evaluating a range of macroeconomic policies (e.g. MP, FP and SS-P) – How do policies work? – What are the limitations / constraints of each policy? – What are some of the key assumptions underlying different economic theories – Which policies are most effective in achieving goals?

Macro Essentials (2) • Understand some of the external environment and how it impacts on UK economy (e.g. Events in Euro countries, effects of globalisation) • Try to be aware of how the different macro topics link together – – – – Inflation and unemployment Growth and trade balances Productivity and business profits & investment Investment in new capital and trade competitiveness • The key is to show the examiner that you know what is actually happening in the UK economy – that have good contextual awareness of the world around you

Macro performance and stability • Domestic objectives: – GDP: Real economic growth (short and long term) – CPI: Price stability (low stable positive inflation) – Jobs: Achieving higher employment / less unemployment – Higher living standards (GNI per capita and other measures of well-being and social welfare, addressing inequality issues) • External objectives – Sustainable position on the balance of payments – Improving competitiveness in global markets • Restoring economic stability – building a durable recovery – Coping with domestic and external economic shocks – Putting in place effective policies for stronger growth & jobs – Re-balancing the economy, less debt-fuelled consumption

Building a Strong Exam Paragraph One Main Point per Paragraph Analyse / use Connectives Support with Examples / Evidence Evaluate the actual point you have made It is important to focus on one key argument in each of your main paragraphs – avoid a scatter-gun approach! Build chunk paragraphs! Many students miss out important parts of the explanation! Provided that you explain the relevant economics with clarity and accuracy, you will do well! Use the data available in the exam extracts but also introduce into your answer relevant examples and evidence based on your wider economics reading! This is really important! Focus on the argument in your paragraph and challenge / question this point rather than a general evaluation point!

UK Economy is affected by many External Factors When writing about the UK, keep in mind that – as an open economy – many outside factors impact on key macro indicators Growth in BRICs and other high-growth emerging nations Economic problems in the Euro Area Changes in world commodity prices such as food and hard metals Fluctuations in exchange rates e.g. $ and Yuan and the Euro

General Exam Hints • Try to ensure your answers have a clear, logical structure • For longer style questions, look to make, analyse and evaluate four key points or arguments before the final reasoned paragraph • Use analysis diagrams – know your AD-AS analysis perfectly • Evaluate arguments/policies as you go – you must evaluate each point made in term • Where possible, use evidence to provide support for arguments or to refute a point of view • Present an argument and conclude on the basis of that argument • Maintain a high quality of presentation, especially in high mark questions and with your diagrams • Quality of writing (EdExcel): This will be taken into consideration for questions marked with an asterisk (*)

Things to Avoid! Quotes from Exam Reports Bullet point answers and diagrams drawn without rulers do not endear candidates to examiners Evaluation was too often undeveloped with examiners wanting a little more than “supply side policies take a long time to work and are very expensive” Among weaker candidates there was too much description and not enough analysis and evaluation All of the essay questions require evaluation, so many candidates lose marks by providing ‘one-sided’ answers

Distinguish Between – Avoid Common Mistakes! In AS macro papers many students confuse similar-sounding concepts and measurements – here are some examples! • Please make sure that you can distinguish between: 1. Productivity and production 2. Fiscal deficit and a current account deficit 3. The rate of inflation and the general price level 4. Short run and long run aggregate supply 5. Money income and real income 6. Economic growth and economic development 7. Unemployment rate and employment rate 8. Interest rate and the exchange rate 9. Budget deficit and the national debt 10. Consumer price index (CPI) and retail price index (RPI)

Improving Your Evaluation in AS Macro • Consider and explain the effects on different agents – e.g. Explain how a rise in the exchange rate will have more effect on car manufacturers than construction businesses • Consider the short run versus long run effects: Some monetary and fiscal policy changes have a fairly immediate effect, others have longer time lags. Supply-side policies often have very long time frames before the full effects are seen • Consider the elasticity of the AS curve following a change to AD • Consider (and explain) the likely size of a multiplier effect after a change to one or more components of AD • Consider (and explain) possible accelerator effects – i.e. A rise in exports might cause an increase in business capital investment

10 Top Tips from the Economics Examiners 1. Use diagrams and ensure they are clear, annotated and correct! 2. Use plenty of real world examples - often exam questions will say “using the data and your own knowledge” 3. Use precise terminology – learn your definitions well, often start an answer with a good definition! 4. Pick up on ‘trigger words’ e.g. solely, inevitably, always 5. Breadth & Depth – avoid a list, but don’t simply make one point! 6. Answer the question but back up any assertion made with evidence or example 7. Beware twists in questions e.g. evaluate the reasons for and consequences of a policy 8. Don’t feel evaluation must always be a criticism. You will also gain credit for explaining why a strategy is particularly effective 9. Avoid repeating yourself in a conclusion 10. MANAGE YOUR TIME well by looking at the mark allocation for each question/part

EdExcel – The 30 Mark Macro Question In 30 mark question – 18 marks are available for Knowledge, Application and Analysis 6 marks are usually reserved for definitions and a relevant theory diagram 12 marks are reserved for explaining the relevant macro economic theory 12 marks are for evaluation • The examiners might award 4+4+4 for three pieces of evaluation or 6+6 for two very-well explained pieces.

OCR – AS Macro – Comment / Evaluation Questions Comment questions • 2 comment questions - usually 6 markers and follow similar pattern • Comment on whether a fall in unemployment will increase economic growth • Comment on whether an increase in income tax would reduce a country’s inflation rate • Analysis marks (3) clearly explaining why it 'would' • Evaluation marks (3) - explain two reasons why it 'may not' • One evaluative statement well explained can gain the 3 marks but saying it depends on the size of the increase in income tax.... the bigger the larger the effect (explained!) will only ever get 1 mark as its too basic The 18 market question • Advise 3 fully developed evaluative paragraphs (this might be 2 and a brief one in conclusion if struggling for time) • In each paragraph: • One key point per paragraph - Explain, analyse, support • Evaluate the point

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