How to Write a Good Economics Essay

GovernorReal World Applications 3 Comments

Economics Essay Writing

Many students ask “How to write an economics essay?” This Guide to Writing a Good Economics Essay is applicable to both IB economics as well as the Singapore JC A-Level H2 economics examinations. Many of the pointers here are also applicable to large-mark case study questions.

6 Steps to Writing a Good Economics Essay

Step 1: DISSECT the Question

Make sure you analyse and fully understand the KEYWORDS and REQUIREMENTS of the question. This is a very important skill that is taught in our economics tuition classes.

For example, “Best”, “Most Effective” are closely related but mean different things.

Paraphrase the question to make it simpler if necessary.

Take note of the command word (eg: Explain, Discuss) as it determines the approach needed for the essay, for example, whether two sides are needed or one side is sufficient. Below are some common examples found in economics essay questions:

Command Words                                      Action Required

Account for                                                 Explain why

Analyse                                                        Break it down into step-by-step explanations

Assess                                                          For & Against. Consider other factors.

Compare                                                      Identify Similarities & Differences

Distinguish                                                   Point out differences

Discuss                                                        Explore both sides

Evaluate                                                       The Good and The Bad.

Explain                                                          Show why and how

Explain whether                                            Cover both possibilities

Examine                                                        Look closely. How so and how not so?

To What Extent                                              Yes…..But….Judgment

Remember to look out for the context in the question. This is usually given in the form of a country (eg: Singapore). The examples in your essay must be tailored to this particular context (for example, do not suggest interest rate policy for Singapore as that is considered infeasible in the Singapore context). If no context is given, any real-world example can be used.

Keep in mind the question throughout the essay and remember to always answer the question. Don’t go off-point!

Common Examiner’s Comment : Not Answering Question (NAQ))

Step 2: Plan Your Answer

Take some time to consider what economic framework you will use to approach the question. Scribble down your main thesis and anti-thesis points. Ensure they ANSWER THE QUESTION.

Step 3: Essay Introduction

In the introduction, include definitions of keywords in the question and spell out the economic framework you will employ for your answer as well as key definitions.

Step 4: Body of Essay

In the body, there will be several paragraphs. 

The number of points/paragraphs depends on the question. It is common to require 2 main points for each 10 mark essay and similarly for 15 mark essay questions. Under each main point, there may be 1-2 sub-points.

Use one paragraph for each sub-point you are making.

However, do not be too focussed on the number of points or paragraphs. The key is to answer the question.

For each body paragraph, use TET’s PEEL(ED) structure. Include only one main idea per paragraph.

  • Point – Write your point in the first sentence so that markers will know what the paragraph will be about. The topic sentence must directly answer the question!
  • Explanation – Explain what you mean
  • Elaboration – Provide further analysis with clear step-by-step economic reasoning. This part may be done with examples as well as diagrams.
  • Link – Link your explanations back to the Point and to answer the question.
  • Exemplification – Give an example to support your reasoning. It can be statistics or real-world examples (for Case Studies, evidences from the Case must be uncovered!)
  • Diagram – Where possible, araw an appropriate diagram with correct labelling and refer to it in your answer. This is crucial to show economic reasoning. Diagrams are very important for economics essays!

These are of course much easier said than done! Thus, students in our economics tuition classes are regularly honed to achieve such output including with tips and tricks to spark off the correct thinking process.

Our resources including the Study Guides for A Level and IB economics also provide a very powerful and handy reference on the depth of analysis required to score the highest marks.

Common Examiner’s Comment : Mere statements and claims. No economic rigour.

Step 5: In-Body Evaluation

This applies especially to the 15 mark essays for A-Level Economics. A total of 5 marks is catered for Evaluation. Students should attempt to achieve about 2-3 in-body evaluation marks by pointing out how the thesis and anti-thesis points may not be true due to certain assumptions made that may not hold. Students may write “However,….may not necessarily happen……It would depend on whether….”. This statement can be written after the associated sub-point has been made.

Step 6: CONCLUDING SECTION

This only applies to the 15 mark essay questions.

Earn more evaluation marks by making a reasoned judgement. Deliver your verdict like a Judge! 

Check back on the question before you embark on this. Ensure your judgement answers the question.

So the question now is, how does a judge arrive at and deliver a verdict? Certainly, you should not be summarising or merely paraphrasing your main points in the conclusion. Obviously, you cannot expect more marks by saying the same thing over and over again!

After a verdict and reasons have been provided, consider providing further relevant insights and/or recommendations.

Common Examiner’s Comment : Repetitive. Mere Summary.

Here are some quite common types of Concluding Sections 

  • Consider the relative importance of thesis and anti-thesis factors. Which factors are most important or pertinent in the given context? For example, certain policies better fit specifc types of economies.
  • Consider short-term vs long-term pros and cons. Do the short-term benefits outweigh the long-term costs? Is the policy more effective in the long-term, and if so, how pressing is the problem that needs to be addressed?
  • Suggest a multi-policy approach, in which each policy has strengths and weaknesses that allow them to complement each other.

There is no way to really memorise evaluation points as every question and context is different. After all, you are being tested on higher-order thinking!

There are other evaluation tips that our students will receive but the key point here is that the training of the mind to think and apply economics is essential. That is where our weekly economics lessons come into play and that is why our students are often asked questions in class and trained to think on their feet. As ex-student Xue Min from YIJC testified, Chief Tutor Mr. Kelvin Hong does not just spoon-feeds our students but mentors them in their thinking to arrive at the answers. This was different from other tutors that her classmates experienced and eventually this was the key to Xue Min’s A grade.

FINAL TIPS

In your essay, write in simple and clear sentences. Everything you write should be value-adding. You do not have to spend time showing off vocabulary as no extra points are awarded for language. Focus on economic reasoning. Use succinct and effective examples which support the point you are trying to make as well as accurate diagrammatic analyses.

For samples of great economics essays, please check out our free Economics Model Essays and sample Past JC A-Level Economics Questions and Answers.

For our econs publications that are sold worldwide, please check out our A Level & IB Economics Study Guides and Model Essays Publications

About The Economics Tutor

Founded by Kelvin Hong in 1998, The Economics Tutor is one of the leading economics tuition in Singapore. We provide a comprehensive program to guide students in understanding complex economic concepts and applying them through case study analyses, essay writing and discussion of real world events.

For 24 years, the way we teach JC Economics Tuition (A Level Economics Tuition) and IB Economics Tuition classes helped learners appreciate economics and everything it entails on a much larger scale. We take things step-by-step, implement effective techniques in memorising frameworks and give every student the chance to nurture their ideas. 

We don’t just solely focus on helping you get stellar grades and perfect scores. We make sure that we also hone the critical thinking skills and investment / business decisions you can use outside the four walls of your classroom.

Looking for a fun, engaging and probably the best economics tutor in Singapore? Look no further—check out our extensive and high quality economics resources on the website such as our IB and A Level Economics Publication. Click here to order.

Book your lesson today and master the nuances of economics in our next class!

Comments 3

  1. its good knowledgeable post regarding ib economics commentaries. i just wanted to admin can i use your blog as reference to my students .

    1. Post
      Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *