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3 common mistakes in QCE Economics

By Rishi Goel in QCE
10th of February 2021
Study tips for QCE Economics - how to avoid common mistakes

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Rishi graduated in 2020 with an ATAR of 99.90, and now tutors at TuteSmart. In this article, Rishi presents a past student perspective on common QCE Economics mistakes.

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Economics is considered the social science of how people interact with money. It focuses on the behaviour of economic agents (economists) and how economies as a whole work. In all, Economics is a fantastic subject for those who want a challenge or those who want to learn more about the way money works in the economy, and why we don’t just print more money to get rid of debt.

However, while Economics was one of my most enjoyable subjects, it was not the easiest. I finished with a final raw study score of 95 in Economics and looking back, I wished I had corrected these three easy to fix mistakes when I started.

 

1. Not linking your answer back to a broader idea

In Economics, the ideas and theory you will have to learn are incredibly broad, from scarcity to efficiency to governmental objectives. So oftentimes when doing a very specific analysis, it’s easy to get caught up in the data and sources they give you, but this is missing half the picture. After analysing a source such as graph or table, you always need to link back to a bigger idea.

For example, in the 2020 external mock (not yet publicly available), there was a question about waste management that asked us to analyse three sources and draw connections between them to show an issue in Australian economics. Without going into too much depth, the basic idea of the three sources was that waste production was going to increase. While most students were able to understand this and write it very clearly, they identified that the issue in the Australian economy was that ‘excess waste is not good for anyone’. In contrast, students should have written that the presence of excess waste demonstrates that companies and individuals are not using their resources efficiently and thus causing harm to both the economy and the environment. In essence, students needed to link back to a broader idea of efficiency.

This is why students oftentimes miss out on crucial marks, as the big idea can separate A level students from B level or even C level students.

So next time you do an analysis, try to think about what the bigger and broader economic idea the sources are relating to.

How to avoid common mistakes in QCE Economics

 

2. Not considering both cause and effect

Consider cause and effect the holy grail of economics. For those who haven’t seen my January Economics Head Start lecture, I recommend you check it out (see free online QCE lectures here) because we talk about this in a bit more depth. That being said, I will provide a fairly detailed explanation of the necessity for both cause and effect.

To put it simply, think of analysis as a childhood story that is meant to teach a moral story. You should have an introduction (causes), then a complication (the economic issue or situation), and then a resolution (the effects), and throughout this ‘story’ you have a big idea (the broader economic theory outlined in the above section).

Oftentimes when peer marking or looking over work, I would see students addressing only one of either cause of effect and rarely see both. This limits your potential marks to about 70% as you are entirely missing a fundamental aspect of the sources and question.

Further, linking sources together through cause and effect is a key aspect of the 2nd dot point in the analysis criteria of the ISMG, so missing out on this loses you two easy marks. Addressing both is also a surefire way to make your paragraph flow smoothly and sound cohesive, also earning you brownie points with your marker.

So next time you see a group of sources for analysis, aim to link them together like a story, and flow from causes, to the situation, and then to the effect.

Study advice for QCE Economics - avoiding common mistakes

 

3. Not using economic vocabulary when writing paragraphs

This is one quite self-explanatory. When you are writing a paragraph response, you must try to use economic words. These may feel unnecessary and redundant at times, but many are explicitly mentioned in QCAA’s Economics syllabus (see more here). So to help you out, I’ve made a little list of some terms that I would know how to use so you can whip them out in your external and internal exams. That being said, you can just as easily lose marks for using these the wrong way, so make sure you understand what all these mean:

Prima Facie
Ceteris Paribus
Dynamic Efficiency
Intertemporal Efficiency
Government Objectives
Ad Volorem Tariff
Asymmetric information
Rational Consumers
Business/Consumer Confidence
Cost Push Inflation
Contestability Theory
Economies of Scale

 

Overall, Economics can be an easy subject if you focus on big economic ideas, clearly explain cause and effect and use the correct terminology.

Good luck with your Economics studies in year 11 and 12, I wish you all the best!

 

Written By Rishi Goel (99.90 ATAR)


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