Preparing for the economics exam is certainly a task that can be made easier with the correct guidance and resources. Students often get bogged down with the sheer volume of material that the course is comprised of.
In this blog, I will provide a series of effective methods and insights as to how to study economics such that students can maximise their potential in the final exam.
Having completed the course myself, I will provide tips as to what I employed within my preparations in order to gain a competitive advantage and also what I would do differently if I had the opportunity to sit the exam again. Ultimately my goal is to provide instruction surrounding how you can best prepare for your economics exam.
Economics is one of the more extensive subjects offered to students, with the course covering a broad range of topics in order to give students a taste of its diverse components. The course also serves to prepare students for the variety of jobs that may stem from a degree in the subject by providing them with a comprehensive knowledge of emerging markets and an understanding of the elasticity of supply and demand.
While economics might fascinate you, if you are like most students you will not want to spend any excess time preparing material that is unlikely to feature on your final paper. Remember, it is important not just to work hard, but smart!
Where should I begin my preparations for economics?
When exploring resources to help with your economics exam preparations, it is important to be able to differentiate between core and supplementary resources. This is something that you might have heard your teacher mention in the classroom from time to time, but it is important that you are able to differentiate between the two in order to ensure that you are consulting the appropriate information that will likely appear on your exam paper.
While many sources may give you an edge or a more condensed overview of the examinable topics which typically appear on the final economics paper, there is just no substituting core resources such as the leaving cert textbooks.
There are a multitude of different textbooks that you can use to study economics over the two years. The exam paper is created each year such that a certain amount of the course is examined, failing to cover the course in its entirety can run the risk of putting you at a disadvantage in the exam hall!
Nonetheless, these are great resources for learning, once you can get your head around the sheer volume of pages across the different books you can get stuck right into the material. You might also realise some value in covering the more condensed books and allocating the time that you save to practicing exam questions that will likely feature on your economics paper.
You can take comfort in the fact that these books have been purposefully created to include the economics syllabus in its entirety. By taking the time to read through these resources you would inherently be putting yourself at a significant advantage over your peers to achieve your goals in the subject.
This is a great study resource to kick off your learning, you will find that it introduces the more simplistic concepts of each chapter at a more elementary level, before developing the student's skills through a series of problems that progressively get more difficult with time.
This allows students to progress through chapters and improve their knowledge of the simpler concepts, right up to the more advanced material featured on the economics papers.
Supplementary resources for learning Economics
The internet has plenty of resources that can help you to understand the concepts you learn about in your Economics class. It can also be a useful source of information if you want to find out more about the topics you are studying, or to read up on the latest news relating to the economy.
Economics Help has some very clear explanations of the terms and ideas you need to understand for your exams, so it is a very useful resource if you need help with a difficult concept. There is also Tutor2u which has some revision notes covering the topics that you will cover in class. It can be a useful resource if you want to review a particular subject, and the list of the key terms is a convenient place to check definitions.
Both students and teachers alike find value in Bized, The site has a useful economics section that can help you to learn about many of the topics that you will cover in class.
Here, you can focus on areas such as government policy, development or the housing market. Each section comes with a review of the topic, case studies and a quiz. The site is intended for teachers, but you can easily use the resources in your own revision.
The Bank of Ireland have some useful resources if you want to learn more about the countries economies. As well as learning more about the history of the central bank, you can also find resources relating to current economic policies, and some educational tools that are designed for economics students.
The Made for Money tool is particularly useful if you want to review the key topics that you will need to understand for your exams, but you can also watch short films or investigate issues such as inflation.
The World Bank also has some interesting resources that can help you to explore the global economy. The You Think! blog showcases stories about young people working on development projects, while the main site features economic news stories and resources that could help you to research topics you want to use for your coursework.
If you are interested in development, you can also find some useful information on Ireland's Sustainable Development website.
The National library has created a list of resources to help students understand key concepts relating to the economy. Although this site is intended for students in the US, so some of the terms may not be relevant to your economics syllabus, this is a great place to find help if you want to review a particular concept.
Some more resources..
You can find basic definitions and explanations of the terms, as well as links to news stories and other resources that will let you take a deeper look if you want to learn more. Quizlet also has a good tool for learning your economics terms, with flashcards and various options for testing yourself to see how well you have remembered what you have learned.
The Nobel Prize website has some information about famous economists who won prizes for their work, which could be useful if you want to learn more about their theories. The site also features the Trade Ruler game, which you can use to try out the theories of Nobel Laureate Bertil Ohlin, who helped to create the Heckscher-Ohlin model of international trade.
News websites can also be useful if you want to keep up to date with the latest economic news. Some sites focus specifically on stories relating to the economy, and sometimes provide in-depth insights into the types of issues that you will cover in your economics classes.
Among the best sources of financial news are the Financial Times and the Economist, but you will also find plenty of items relating to the economy on other news sites. The Institute of Fiscal Studies blog often offers useful commentary on current economic stories, so it can be worth a look if you want to investigate further.
Twitter can also be an interesting source of news relating to the economy, and the Studying Economics website, which is designed for undergraduate students, has collected together a list of some of the best economists to follow, including @Freakonomics.
Now, check out the following related and helpful articles for Economics information:
Additional help for economics students
I recommend to students who are studying economics to consider consulting supplementary learning resources for a more condensed source of the course's material. Perhaps the most popular of these revision books are the ‘Revise Wise’ and ‘Less Stress More Success’ books which are available for both higher and ordinary level economics papers.
Personally, I employed both of these books within my study efforts and would certainly recommend them to students, particularly when under pressure with time towards the latter part of your exam years.
Students should also consider many of the online resources that they have at their disposal. Websites such as Sparknotes.com and Studyclix.ie are extremely useful for finding template solutions for many questions which frequently appear in the economics exam.
Flicking through these resources will present some insightful findings that will help you to study more effectively and potentially even jump up a few grades in the exam. Students can discover trends that have occurred in past years in the economics papers and notice how topics such as market structures are likely to feature on their final exam.
Preparing answers to sample questions is perhaps one of the most effective methods that you can use when studying economics.
Final pointers for economics students
Ultimately the topics that are delved into throughout the economics course will provide description and insight into the uniqueness, function, and role of the global economy, and how consumers interact with it.
Students will learn about how money circulates around the economy and how banks dictate interest rates and reserves. The course will also get students to think about how such effects and changes will influence a consumer's propensity to invest or consume etc.
Evident from our discussion the economics course has a considerable amount of variance in its material and should be considered by students who are looking to target their study efforts towards the most frequently occurring topics that surface each year.
When considering what supplementary resources to rely on when preparing for your upcoming economics exam, it is always important for students to diversify their portfolio of exam resources.
Implementing economics past papers and revision books can dramatically improve your confidence in tackling exam-style questions as well as helping you to practice your time management.
These are two important factors that often get pushed aside by students, after all, you should ask yourself the question, why spend two years studying the material if you are not going to allocate time practising how to showcase your knowledge in the most effective means possible.
You'd be surprised what practising working through past economics papers under exam conditions can do for your grade in the final exam, after all that is where it matters most!
This leaves students with a more holistic and concrete knowledge of the fundamentals of economics while giving them the opportunity to approach the material in a practical manner.
I hope that through seeing what topics are available to students within the course that you will now have a better understanding and perhaps some direction of how to study for your economics exam.
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