H1 or H2 Economics for A Levels?

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Being on this page suggests you are serious about learning JC A Level Economics, which is a really wise move. 🙂 Perhaps, you have read our article about the Benefits of Learning Economics.

But faced with a choice of taking H1 or H2 Economics, what should you do?

1. CONTENT – H1 vs H2 Economics

H1 Economics is basically a lighter load than H2 – about 60% lesser content. The H1 syllabus does not cover Theory of the Firm and Market Structure topics, arguably the largest  and most complex topics in H2 Economics. It also does not cover International Trade and Globalisation as well as Balance of Payments topics. You can find the H1 Economics Syllabus here and do check out our customised version of the H2 Economics Syllabus as well.

The upside of doing H1 Economics is that you get more time for your other subjects and for life in general. 🙂

The downside is that those topics excluded are extremely interesting and have many real-world applications. For example, I have even applied concepts in Market Structure to comment on the political arena in Singapore. There are so many useful business concepts that can be learnt for these topics, which can serve to be very useful in future.

US-China trade wars could be analysed and better understood…I have even helped my students speculate about the Viet Dong appreciation as a result of the trade wars…and true enough it did appreciate significantly…and to my horror, because I forgot to invest in it! Understanding the Foreign Exchange market could be a step towards a very lucrative career or hobby of a Forex Trader (unless like me, you forget to place your trades).

If there is a chance you would consider Entrepreneurship or aspire to be Chief Executives of large corporations, or to work in the world of Finance or become an Economist or a Government policymaker, or just to manage your own investments and increase your wealth, then I would say those are topics that you would really want to learn. Believe it or not, I (Kelvin Hong) have done most of these! You can read up more about the profile of The Economics Tutor.

2. EXAMINATION FORMAT – H2 vs H1 Economics

H1 Economics: 3-hour Paper with 2 Case Study Questions (each worth 45 marks) 

H2 Economics: 

Paper 1: 2 hours & 15 minutes to complete 2 Case Study Questions (each worth 30 marks).

Paper 2 : 2 hours & 15 minutes to complete 3 Essay Questions (total of 75 marks). 

There has been a change in the examination format for H1 Economics since 2018. In the past, H1 students did 2 Case Studies (total of 60 marks) and 1 essay (25 marks) in 3 hours. Now they have to earn 90 marks (versus 85 marks) in the same amount of time.

[This is like FORCED Productivity growth by our Ministry of Education: Do More in Less time]   Way to go!  🙂

Whether H1 or H2, Case studies are a notoriously challenging paper. You have to be able to accurately comprehend, dissect, infer, deduce from whatever extracts thrown at you. As a result, many students run out of time. [Of course, we have a way of helping our students successfully cross the finishing line in the nick of time and I won’t be sharing it with you here. 🙂 Of course it has to be reserved for students of our JC economics tuition programme! ]

What is clear is that the additional 5 marks to be earned without any increase in time, increases the pressure for H1 Economics examinations. In addition, some students may not cope so well under the gruelling conditions of a 3hour paper as opposed to 2hr 15mins for H2. And if one did not perform well in Case Studies, there is no Essays paper to pull up your grades. For H2 Economics, Paper 2 Essays has 60% mark weightage. There was a student who did not cover a huge 8 mark question in the case studies paper due to mysterious carelessness (can you beat that?!) but scored an A anyway because he walked out of the Essays examination with all smiles.

These are the downsides to taking H1.

The upside would be lesser examination time compared to H2. In total, 5 hours for H2 exams compared to just 3 hours for H1. In addition, students who find it challenging to write essays (which shouldn’t be the case given years of studying the English Language) may also rejoice at not having to do that at H1 level. However, do note that H1 Case Studies do contain 10-15 mark questions (H2 Case Study questions are usually worth 10 marks at the most), which are as good as Essays. Thus, it is perhaps not that much of a difference. And an Economics essay tends to be like a semi-scientific paper given that it is a social science and therefore writing flair does not matter. Shhh…check out our guide on How to Write an Economics Essay (JC A Level & IB) to get a head-start! You can also check out some A Level Economics Model Essays here.

At TheEconomicsTutor, we have been teaching both H1 and H2 Economics Tuition very successfully over many years. We have also created a system that has allowed both H1 and H2 Economics students to be benefitting from learning in the same class. 

H1 Economics or H2 Economics
H1 and H2 Economics in progress!

There are many success stories of H1 Economics students, including Nicole Hia, from DHS, who flunked Promos as well as most of her J2, but who aced it at the A Levels. This is also the same experience for Kejia, TJC, amongst many many others. We also had students like Brandon from ACJC, who flunked H2 Promos and almost dropped to H1 Economics but after attending my lessons, decided to stick to H2 Economics and immediately scored a B at the next test and eventually an A at the A Levels. Honestly, quite a common experience for my students as 80-90% score A, whilst only about 35% score A nation-wide. Feel free to browse through some testimonials from past students. More are also available on Google.

So how now – H1 or H2?

I can’t decide for you. But I think for Arts stream students, if you are less keen on Mathematics, you might want to choose H1 Math and H2 Economics. You probably might score better overall and the additional Economics concepts would probably be more useful in life than the additional Math you learn studying H2 Math (Ask your parents if you don’t believe me!).

For Science stream students, many of you might think you can handle 4 H2 subjects, and you are probably right. If not, H1 Economics might be a good choice for you. But if you are bored with the sciences and are looking to study something different and exciting, H2 Economics should be considered.

Ideally, all students should study H2 Economics, join my A Level Economics Tuition programme and fall in love with Economics (or The Economics Tutor). H2 economics includes the most exciting topics, which are highly relevant to the real world. After all, what are you schooling for?

Need more advice? Just leave your questions or comments below.

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 Publications

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

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