Acing Business Management (in Five Steps)By Karly Banks in Study
14th of May 2017
Karly Banks graduated in 2013 with a raw 48 in Business Management. Having already completed a Bachelor of Arts, she’s now studying her Juris Doctor at the University of Melbourne. Ask Karly your BusMan questions in this thread here!
I’m particularly passionate about business subjects as a whole. I love how they can so easily be taken outside the scope of VCE, and directly into your everyday life. The things you learn in subjects like Business Management can make a huge difference in your dealings with employers, union, other businesses, as a consumer, as a potential employer, and just life in general.
Below are five of my top tips to help you smash BusMan. So this will be about both getting the VCE score you want, and also improving your businesses sense in general. (Two birds, one stone – can’t say that about Methods, can you?)
1. KNOW YOUR DEFINITIONS
This is the first piece of advice because it is one of the most vital. Any of my students will tell you I harp on about the need to know definitions more than I harp on about anything else. And I harp on about A LOT. Being able to define the key terms in the study design is a great place to start revision before SACs and the exam. And it’s useful for a number of reasons (I know I said five tips, but sub-numbering doesn’t count):
1.1: A lot of marks in the exam come from definitions. There are questions that simply ask for a definition, but there are also marks available from definitions in longer questions.
1.2: Definitions are great for setting up a longer response. Before you start a 4/5/6/8/10 mark question, defining key terms will help to a) [“Oh no, now she’s sub-lettering her sub-numbering”] settle your mind as to what you’re meant to write about; b) ensure you don’t go off track later on; and c) show the examiner you definitely know what you’re talking about.
1.3: Knowing how to define something provides great foundation for further learning in respect to a certain concept.
2. USE THE CASE STUDIES
Okay. Phew. Got a bit tricky up there with the sub-lettering of the sub-numbering. I promise not to do that again.
Case studies! They are, without a doubt, the most vital thing you will read in the BusMan exam. USE THEM IN YOUR ANSWERS. Sorry, I shouted. But it’s important. The examiner writes the case studies – and the questions that follow them – with specific answers in mind. As such, it’s important that you’re linking your answers directly to the case study you’ve been given. This is because examiners aren’t just testing your theoretical knowledge; they’re testing your ability to apply that knowledge, too.
While we’re on this point, it’s important you don’t give the answer you think you can write best on. You should give the answer you think the examiner is looking for. So like, don’t write about the consultative management style just because you know it really well, when the autocratic management style would better suit the question.
Assessment reports are constantly talking about how students don’t make strong enough links to case studies. So it is vital you structure your responses with the case studies in mind. Make sure you make the stronger, clearest possible links to the information you’re given.
3. PLAN THE LONGER QUESTIONS
If it’s longer than a four-mark question, you should scribble down a plan for your answer.
This is particularly relevant to the ten-mark question, which now can take questions from any part of the study design. Often, you’ll need to draw knowledge from multiple areas of study to craft a response. So if you don’t make a plan before you start writing, you’ll likely get confused halfway through and start to ramble.
It doesn’t need to be an intense plan. Just note down everything the question is asking you to talk about, how you’ll talk about it, and how you’ll link it to the case study.
4. STRUCTURE YOUR RESPONSES
You can easily lose yourself in a BusMan exam response. Often, answers can come out sounding confused, even if you know exactly what you’re trying to convey.
Structuring your response well can help to avoid this. A Business Management answer needn’t read like an English essay. (Liability waiver: I’m not suggesting you write in dot points, or slang, or abbreviations. I’m just saying it doesn’t need to flow like one of your Literature poems.) So if you’re asked to discuss a concept’s strengths and weaknesses, it’s perfectly okay to say:
One strength of [concept] is _____. However, a weakness is _____. Another strength is _____.
Or if you’re explaining a process, you might go:
The first step is _____. The second step is _____. Thirdly, _____.
Basically, it doesn’t have to read particularly nicely – so long as it’s readable.
Having a well-structured answer also makes it easier for an examiner to see your train of thought. If you can make their job easier by clearly signposting where they can give you marks, they’ll give them to you!
5. APPLY BUSMAN TO YOUR LIFE
A lot of people will tell you that you can’t just use common sense when studying BusMan. This is absolutely true. You need a solid foundation of knowledge and practice to be able to ace this subject.
BUT (everyone lean in; I’m about to share a sacred secret) –
You can use your common sense to supplement your learning. Especially if you stumble upon a particularly tough question in an exam, and you experience the dreaded but common brain freeze. Put yourself in the case study, and ask yourself what you would expect or want out of that situation. I mean, don’t use this tip as an excuse not to study, thinking you can rely on life experience to get you through the exam.
Spoiler alert: you can’t.
But you can put yourself into the scenarios you’re presented with, and utilise your street smarts to help jog your memory. (You also can’t say that about Methods, can you?)
So there you have it: my five top tips to smash Business Management. The last one is perhaps most important. A lot of what you learn during high school seems irrelevant (and a lot probably is). But if you’re studying Business, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t soak up all of the knowledge possible. Many people float through their work lives not knowing their rights or entitlements – or, indeed, how to manage people! But BusMan is a great place to start honing those skills.
Good luck, have fun, and take note!