• Best of luck to the class of 2019 for their HSC exams. You got this!
    Let us know your thoughts on the HSC exams here
  • Like us on facebook here

A State Ranker's Guide to Economics (Part 2) (1 Viewer)

mreditor16

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2014
Messages
3,185
Gender
Male
HSC
2014
Introduction

Hey Guys,

This is mreditor16, with the long awaited second and final edition of ‘A State Ranker’s Guide to Economics’. First of all, I want to apologise to you guys for the delay in posting this. It is clear to see that a lot of you have been waiting for this guide, as evident by the grumpy PMs I have received over time haha. There are many reasons which I can attribute to explain the delay, but I don’t want to waste time on that – so in summary, my sincerest apologies for the delay.

Moving on, below is Part 2 to the guide. You can find Part 1 here – http://community.boredofstudies.org/22/economics/324354/state-rankers-guide-economics.html

Again, some disclaimers – it has been way over a year since I did Economics, so if there are many mistakes, please point them out. And feedback and questions on anything related to what I say or economics in general will be most appreciated.

And also, for those who may ask, my credentials. I completed HSC Economics in 2013, achieving 97 overall, with an external of 99 (which was a raw mark of 98).

Okay, so let’s get into it. :)

P.S. Amongst the mess of the comments below is a stellar post from iStudent - an Economics State Ranker himself. Make sure to check out the very valuable post - link is here --> http://community.boredofstudies.org/22/economics/336298/state-rankers-guide-economics-part-2-a.html#post6941516
 
Last edited:

mreditor16

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2014
Messages
3,185
Gender
Male
HSC
2014
Textbooks and Revising and Making Notes

Okay, so pretty much most Economics students I know write notes. But to me, that is a complete waste of time, especially since 90% of students, who are writing Economics notes, are retyping their main textbook (usually the Pearson one written by Dixon and O Mahony) and then adding information here and there from other sources. You’re wasting hours and hours if you’re doing that, in my honest opinion.

So, this is what I did – this is what worked for me personally. First of all, I highly recommend using the Pearson (formally known as Leading Edge) textbook by Dixon & O Mahony as your main source of learning and revising. If a student properly learnt everything just from using that one resource, they’re pretty much on the road to that Band 6, albeit probably a low Band 6. That’s how good the Pearson textbook is, in my opinion. So that’s step 1.

Then I’d recommend getting other good resources on the side, to get more statistics, to properly learn content not covered that well or in much depth by the Pearson textbook etc. This should include other textbooks (e.g. the Riley textbook and the Creative Economics textbook), study guides (e.g. Macquarie, Excel), topic papers (usually provided by your school) such as ‘Plain English Economics’ and ‘Current Economics’, and newspaper articles. I recommend checking SMH business section daily, just so that you remain on the lookout for articles that are relevant to any dot points or issues that have come across in your Economics studies.

I would be careful with the Riley textbook though, when using it to supplement your studies, because simply put a lot of the time Riley goes ‘overboard’. By which, I mean there are many sections in his textbook where Riley goes into quite a lot of detail and such in depth explanations are great for bringing your understanding and analysis to the next level, especially for those aiming for high band 6s and state ranks. However, it really doesn’t help when you’re trying to understand the basics or are confused by basic concepts and want to get your head around things. If you’re ever in the latter category, I would advise to consult the Pearson textbook and, if you’re still confused, asking your teacher is a very good idea.

Anyway, back on topic, so you have the Pearson textbook as your main resource and you have a range of supplementary resources (e.g. other textbooks, study guides, topic papers, newspaper articles). So, first of all, say you just finished the Inflation topic in class with your teacher and now you want to properly go over that section! What I would do is first read through the relevant chapter in the Pearson textbook, trying to understand what is going on and thinking about how it fits into what you’ve learnt in class about the topic. Try to match up explanations in the textbook with how you’ve learnt it in class. Just get the ideas flowing and try to understand as much as possible on your first reading. Don’t do any highlighting or annotating at this stage.

After completing this, get your highlighter and pen out. Re-read the same chapter, highlighting the important parts and making any annotations on the text to improve the explanations in the textbook. If you’ve reached this stage, you’ve pretty much gone through Pearson’s version of the content twice.

Next, go through the relevant sections of your supplementary resources and try to reinforce your understanding of the concepts – make sure to think about how each resource’s explanation matches up with Pearson’s. By going through the sections of the supplementary resources which cover the relevant topic, you are really locking in a solid understanding of the content, as you are essentially learning the content numerous times. Most importantly, when going through your supplementary resources, make sure to highlight explanations better than that in Pearson, statistics or examples not provided in Pearson, and general other snippets of relevant and useful information on the topic.

Now, if you look at the Pearson textbook, you will notice a relatively large column of blank space on each page. This gives a perfect opportunity for writing in the stuff you highlighted in the supplementary resources. For example, for the chapter on Exchange Rates, Pearson doesn’t cover the theory of J curves, whereas Riley’s textbook does. So after seeing it in the Riley textbook when reading over the Exchange Rates chapter and highlighting it, I write in one of the blank columns in Pearson’s Exchange Rates chapter about it, as shown below –



And by doing this process, you will hopefully end up with double page spreads such as this –



Why do all this? There are two main reasons. The first is by doing this, you have essentially learnt the content many times and read explanations and descriptions of the same content by different people. That really helps in locking in your understanding of what is going on and solidifies your knowledge base. The second reason (arguably, the more important one) is that the textbook becomes a one-stop shop for all your study and revision. No need to worry about ruffling through your resources come exam time, trying to find which resource had that good explanation about J-curves, for example. Any questions you have, you go straight to your Pearson textbook. The textbook effectively becomes your notes, which you’ve compiled in much less time than if you had made notes from scratch, like that done by the typical Economics student. So that’s my method of revising and compiling Economics ‘notes’. ;)
 
Last edited:

mreditor16

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2014
Messages
3,185
Gender
Male
HSC
2014
Statistics and Updating Them

On a quick tangent, statistics! You will notice that the Pearson textbook has pretty much nearly all the stats all you need. BUT the statistics are current as at time of publishing, so when you get around to your HSC final exam, by that time, your statistics could be outdated by as much as 12 months. So what is the best way of updating them? Here was my way. So if you look at this picture below, you will see it is a graph of the inflation rate (both headline and underlying) over the years. And at the bottom, you will see that the source of the data is “ABS Catalogue 6401.0”. Pretty much, all the tables and graphs in the textbook will mention its source underneath it, so look out for that.



So, to get the latest data on the inflation rates (headline and underlying), you would google “ABS Catalogue 6401.0” and the first search result usually yields the latest data for that catalogue. Hence, you will have access to the latest data sets of the statistic provided in the textbook. And this would be how you update your statistics. Find out the source (most of time we’ll be dealing with ABS data, so this would be the catalogue number), search up the source (e.g. ABS catalogue number) and look at the latest data for that source.

Just as an example, below is a picture of some of my statistics updated –



Since we’re on the topic of statistics, a frequent question I get is about making up statistics in your exam responses. My response to it is “it depends”. I would make sure to memorise the big, main, important, reported-in-the-news statistics. Examples of which are the unemployment rate, the inflation rate, the economic growth rate, latest Gini coefficient and so on. However, for the less well-known and obscure statistics (e.g. growth in wheat exports from 2001 to 2005), most markers will never know you made it up, as long as you are in the ballpark range. The HSC markers, who I have spoken to, have said that they really never bother to check statistics (they simply don’t have the time to do it tbh), unless there is one that they come across which seems really wrong. So it links back to my emphasis on the point that make sure you are in the ballpark range and you should be fine. Also, if you do choose to make up a statistic, a good idea would be to make up a specific one (e.g. the percentage increase in crude oil exports to China and Japan together over the last 5 years - a bit of exaggeration but hopefully you understand what I mean). So in summary, I wouldn’t worry too much about making up statistics in exams, but please exercise common sense and restraint in doing so.
 
Last edited:

mreditor16

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2014
Messages
3,185
Gender
Male
HSC
2014
Studying in the Lead Up to School Assessments and Studying for your Final HSC Exam

So you have your Pearson textbook and you’ve gone through the process described in the previous section, for the chapters examinable in your school assessment. Before you get into anything, I would highly recommend re-reading the tested chapters in Pearson and your annotations and all that, just to refresh yourself. This is particular important, when revising for your Trial HSC, because you wouldn’t have touched Topic 1 for example in a very long time. Then, I would recommend updating your statistics in the tested chapters (if you’re low on time, I would only update the most crucial statistics).

Next up, I would recommend going through the workbook that comes with the Pearson textbook, and try to answer the questions on the chapters being examined. At the beginning, it’s alright if you have to refer to the textbook, but as you do more and more questions, make sure that you’re reducing the number of times you need to refer to the textbook. If it’s not going down, then it’s a pretty certain sign that your understanding of the content isn’t strong enough and you need to go back to the textbook and read over again the sections you’re struggling with. Be very careful though with the workbook, because the sample answers provided by Pearson are horrendously poor – often, some of the MC answers are wrong and some of the answers for the short answers are literally Band 3 quality. If you’re running low on time and don’t have enough time to write out the answers to the workbook questions, at least have a think about what you would write, if that question popped up in your assessment, and then look at the sample answers to see if you are on the right track. So doing some questions from the workbook gives some practice of answering questions about the content and to see whether you are actually able to communicate your understanding of the content.

Then, I would have a crack at some questions from past trial papers, whether it be past trial papers of your school, CSSA trial papers, Independent trial papers or NEAP trial papers. I would recommend trying questions which actually have sample answers and/or marking criteria to draw upon, in order to help you reflect upon your answer and think about what you could have done better. Also, if you have the opportunity to do so, I would hand in some of your responses (especially for extended responses) to your teacher and/or tutor to get their feedback, in order to help you refine your exam technique, improve how you structure your answers and, more generally, help you get an idea of where you at. Again, like before, if you are low on time, simply reading through some of the questions, having a quick brainstorm about what you would write and then looking at the sample answer and/or marking criteria definitely goes a long way.

However, there is something which I need to mention when talking about practicing in such a way. There’s no point in trying questions from the workbook and past papers, if you haven’t bolted down your understanding of the content. So I just want to emphasise that if at any point you feel your knowledge base and understanding is not up to scratch, then don’t hesitate to go back to the textbook and learn properly the areas you feel that are lacking. There is no point in refining exam strategy and improving your structuring of exam responses when you don’t have the correct ideas to communicate, to begin with. If you continue to have difficulties with any concept or topic, ask your teacher or post on BOS ;). Lastly, on this note, I would highly recommend the final thing you do before any assessment (e.g. the day or night before) is to re-read over your textbook and the annotations for all the examinable sections – it’s a nice low-tuned, semi-relaxed and covers-all-content way to revise the day before. :)

In your preparation for exams, I also suggest to high-achieving students to have a study buddy, who is performing at the same or higher level. I personally had one of my own, and it made such a difference. We met up often and had study sessions together, where we would discuss syllabus dot-points. We would even make up questions to ask each other, such as "How does A effect B?". Through this, we indirectly exposed ourselves to different questions that could possibly be asked and different ways of thinking, which was very useful for me personally.

In terms for preparing for the final HSC exam, it’s a very similar process of revision. The major difference is instead of past trial papers, you really need to be attempting past HSC papers. Be careful though because the syllabus was amended around 2010 with some dot points taken out and some put in. This means some of the pre-2010 past papers test dot points that are not examinable for you and often you might have not bumped into these concepts. So take this into consideration when doing past papers. I also would not go beyond 2001 at all, because the pre-2001 syllabus is completely different to the one at the moment. When doing past papers, I would highly recommend working backwards in terms of the years – doing the most recent past papers first and the least recent ones last. This is because of two main reasons. The first one is that you will get more practice at questions of the type which are most likely to appear in your final paper (i.e. the style of questions in the 2015 paper is pretty much guaranteed to match up with the style of questions in the 2013 paper versus the style of questions in the 2005 paper). The second reason for doing the most recent papers first is because you will encounter more questions relevant to the new post-2010 syllabus and questions relevant to the latest trending economic issues.

I actually bumped into this post the other day and I reckon it’s a very good plan for your revision close to the final HSC exam –

What I've found that works:

Spamming MC using the BoS's question generator (I swear I've done every question twice by now)

Doing sets of SA Qs by topic (also practices handwriting)

Essay plans (I don't believe in memorising essays, waste of time, so I'd rather perfect my ability to prep an answer in the exam)

Writing practice essays and getting feedback (mainly for practicing essay technique and trying out new things, I don't memorise them at all)

Memorising stats to use in the exam (literally the only thing I actively memorise in Eco)
Oh, one last comment. Give equal time to every single topic. HSC examiners actually make the exam such that each of the four topics is tested with an equal amount of marks, so don’t neglect any topic.
 
Last edited:

mreditor16

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2014
Messages
3,185
Gender
Male
HSC
2014
Tackling the Exam Itself

In terms of multiple choice, I have two main pieces of advice – a) eliminate the clearly wrong answers and, more importantly, b) don’t overthink it. Overthinking multiple choice is a common trap that students fall into and, from what I’ve seen, it actually is a bigger pitfall for the stronger students. I commonly see the very best students only losing marks in multiple choice, yet getting full marks in short answers and extendeds.

As for short answers, I’ve mostly covered in the part 1 (link is at the very top of the page), so check out part 1 for advice on short answers. The only thing I can add is don’t worry about overkilling short answer and writing too much – sometimes you need to write much more than the space provided by the lines to actually get the marks. Also, don’t fall into the common trap of rushing short answers, in order to give you maximum time for the extended response questions. Put it this way – if I gave you 5 extra minutes, you are much much more likely to pick up some marks by spending it on the short answer questions versus spending it on the extended responses (i.e. each mark in short answers is relatively easier to gain than in the extended response section). At the same time, make sure you don’t go through short answers too slowly – you do need enough time for the extended responses.

Personally, I usually aimed to spend 20 minutes on Multiple Choice (don’t rush MC either!!), 60 to 70 minutes on short answers, and 40 to 50 minutes on each extended response. Of course, don’t be rigid with your time schedule – be flexible but at the same time, keep track of the time! :)

Okay, now for some thoughts about approaching extended responses…
 
Last edited:

mreditor16

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2014
Messages
3,185
Gender
Male
HSC
2014
Extended Responses

A common approach to extended responses and preparing for them is to make essay skeletons in advance. I am personally quite against essay skeletons. Instead, I advocate the approach of knowing your stuff and answering the question you get on the day from scratch. I especially recommend this approach because, of late, HSC final exams have increasingly been asking unconventional and left-of-field questions (e.g. the question in the 2013 paper about the highway) and prepared essay skeletons can restrict you (and your marks) when faced with such questions. My approach with extended responses (and economics in general) can be easily summed up by the immortal words of the BOS user Cleavage (Band 6er FYI) – “Don't memorise economics, be economics. Let it flow through you” and “If you don't feel confident with this method, practice. Practice, not memorise.”

So, when you meet your extended response question, the first thing you should do is brainstorm – write your thoughts on the exam paper. What are some main points you can talk about? Do any examples or statistics instantly come to your mind? Write them down! Now, make a brief essay plan. Are you going to make any important definitions or contextualisations in your introduction and/or conclusion? What are your main points are you talking about and in what order? What key sub-points and/or examples will be your making for each main point? Remember to be selective, don’t talk about everything you know. That is for two reasons – a) you don’t have the time to do so b) your essay will seem like you are rambling and it will be hard to keep a solid line of argument. Doing this before actually writing your essay will actually reduce the time taken in writing your essay and, in fact, increase the quality of your essay. Why? Because the plan you’ve made means you know where you’re going with this essay. And then, yeah, get writing! :) In terms of writing it, my main tip is to get a good balance of economic theory and explanations AND real-world examples and statistics. If you can do that, you’re well on your way to a Band 6 essay. :)
 
Last edited:

mreditor16

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2014
Messages
3,185
Gender
Male
HSC
2014
Keeping up to date with current issues

Keeping up to date with current economic issues is very important, as it provides snippets of knowledge you can use as examples in your exam responses. More importantly, it is argued by many that the HSC examiners are increasingly setting the extended responses on that year’s trending economic issues, so by that logic, staying updated with that latest economics news and discussions can give you an edge in the exam.

As I said prior, a good way to keeping up to date with economic issues is by checking SMH business section daily, just so that you remain on the lookout for articles that are relevant to any dot points or issues that have come across in your studies. For example, you might bump into an article from a year ago about Dutch Disease – and that comes up in Topic 2 – so that would be a good article to read. After reading it, it might be good to make a brief annotation in your textbook about a good statistic in the article or something like that.

In particular, I would keep on the lookout for articles by Ross Gittins, as most of his articles are tailored well for HSC economics students and cover topics that are part of the syllabus. Also, I know some student who made it their aim to read the full paper every single day, but in my opinion there is no need for that at all.
 
Last edited:

mreditor16

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2014
Messages
3,185
Gender
Male
HSC
2014
That’s it Folks

Well, that’s it for me. I think I’ve tried to cover as much as I could. And I sincerely hope this study guide (Part 1 and Part 2) will help you out with high school Economics. Best of luck with your studies!

And just to repeat from before, any comments/feedback/criticisms/questions below will be more than appreciated! :)

Catch ya later!
 
Last edited:

swagmeister

Active Member
Joined
Oct 4, 2014
Messages
528
Gender
Male
HSC
2015
yessssssssssssssssss

life = complete

can see why it took you a while haha! Thanks so so much man, I'm sure heaps of people are (including myself) are going to benefit heaps from this :)
 

Chatoyance

New Member
Joined
Aug 31, 2012
Messages
26
Gender
Female
HSC
2014
Another job well done by mreditor :)

You must spread some Reputation around before giving it to mreditor16 again.

I tried ;P
 

iStudent

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2013
Messages
1,157
Gender
Male
HSC
2014
Just to make this complete guide even more complete... (I state ranked too)
1.
If you have other people's essays and notes as well as PAST INDEPENDENT EXAM PAPERS WITH SOLUTIONS, abuse this privilege. Unlike Mreditor, I sourced my "current issues" by reading notes and the sample essays in the independent paper and noted them down (in conjunction with the really big headlines in newspapers + teacher) - and pretty much read them again before the exam so I can try to bring them up when I needed evidence for my arguments.
Also, those sample essays are pretty much 20/20 quality (most I'd say). Use those to learn how to write full marks essays - each paper has 4 sample essays so if you have around 3 papers, you could easily have 12 exemplars which should be enough to get an understanding of what it takes to do well.

2.
One thing that worked for me and not necessarily for others - if you're writing notes, write your notes as if you're writing notes for the essay component (go into as much depth as you feel is relevant) rather than for MCQ or short answers - you'll be indirectly preparing for MCQ/short answers. It's ok to go outside the syllabus. This could also mean writing notes as if you're writing an essay (though, in dot point format). So like, inserting relevant graphs at relevant places and structuring your notes starting with the point you're making, then explanation and evidence etc.

3.
I have to admit I'm guilty of only doing 3-4 HSC past papers (just MCQ/short answers) + around 3-4 more MCQ hsc papers. I simply didn't have time to do them all (poor time management) but in the end, I still did decently. What this means is that it's not thaaat *essential* to do past papers (still do as much as possible though). If you're confident enough with the content, feel free to focus entirely on preparing for the essays. (and that said, I feel like preparing for essays/knowing your stuff is more important than doing past papers - because it's very unlikely that you'll get the same question again in your hsc exam).

4.
Ultimately, doing well in the exam isn't about how many past papers you've completed, or how many essay plans (if you make them) you wrote - it's about how well you know your stuff. When I did my trials/hsc exam I pretty much knew the content back to front. I had the whole dixon textbook dissected and memorised (well not memorise memorise, but complete understanding + subsequent ability to regurgitate MOST of it in my own words. excluding stuff like statistics and the charts but including stuff like the theory *and how they worded it* as well as the examples that they used). You have the whole year - and each chapter is only like 10 pages so this is very doable. Do this as your main priority. Then use the Riley textbook to enhance your essays (make sure the stuff that can be used in your essay is understood + able to be regurgitated) as well as other sources such as the ones I mentioned above.

and just because i cbf preparing for my mid sems tomorrow...

5.
If you're mreditor and you can wrek any essay question the examiners throw at you, then ignore what i'm about to say.
if there's one thing that differentiated me from other candidates, it was my (luck?) at guessing and preparing for the essay question. my whole exam prep focused on preparing for the essay topics that were likely to be examined
Trials:
if your school uses independent papers, then this should be relatively straightforward. if you have past papers, you'll notice that there are topics that are almost ALWAYS asked (i think this was monetary/fiscal policy). every now and then they like to examine on case studies and others around the same. point is, try to predict what topics will be asked - then go and master those topics. Also, between years they just change the wording of the question - you can prepare for these questions in almost the same way every year. no extreme curveballs here.
i'm not sure about other papers, but the process should be the same...

HSC:
Same deal with trials, except I'd say the topics are even more predictable (some of the bos members here were able to guess most of the topics), but the questions can be curveball and in your face. I was lucky in that both the essay q's I did were relatively straightforward so I can't really comment on this 8D (I did inflation/case study for '14).

Oh, and use the section of the syllabus that says "students learn to examine...". This is pretty much where examiners take essay questions.
 
Last edited:

mreditor16

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2014
Messages
3,185
Gender
Male
HSC
2014
Great words of advice, iStudent. Some really useful stuff there! (Y) (Y) Posted a link to your post at the very top. :)
 
Last edited:

teridax

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 3, 2014
Messages
609
Gender
Undisclosed
HSC
N/A
nice job! :D

also, do you guise reckon this will surpass crobat's eng adv guide? huehuehue
 

Katsumi

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
May 15, 2014
Messages
1,933
Location
Sydney, Australia
Gender
Male
HSC
N/A
Excellent guide mreditor. I highly suggest that all economic students give both parts of this guide a careful read.
 

astab

Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2014
Messages
74
Gender
Male
HSC
N/A
An absolute god! I was panicking because I have my half yearlies next Thursday and still have those grey areas. This thorough guide really relieved some pressure!
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

Top