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BGCSE in Economics

Preparing for the BGCSE Examination in Economics

The examination component of the BGCSE in Economics, which accounts for 70% of the overall grade, is presented in two papers. Paper 1 consists of thirty-two objective type questions comprising multiple choice, matching, and true/false options; along with “short-answer” questions, which of course will mean organizing your thoughts in a concise manner. Paper 2 which is made up of two sections, presents another series of “short-answer” questions in the first section, these however could require a few simple calculations. In the second section you will be expected to select two out of five essay questions. Unlike the “short-answer” module, essay questions will require a more comprehensive review of the issue(s) at hand, which should be organized in a manner that demonstrates a well thought out argument.

Oftentimes students make the mistake of trying to prepare for economics exams by simply memorizing information. Economics examinations however test your ability to understand and interpret information using a variety of methodologies. They challenge students to develop well reasoned arguments and to use such reasoning to draw sound conclusions. Study therefore should focus not only on understanding concepts and theories but also on their application.

Getting Started

To begin your review, you should ensure that you have the following resource material: your text, class notes, old homework and class assignments, previous test papers, including past BGCSE exams. When reviewing previous assignments and test papers, the first thing that you should do is go through them in order to identify questions for which you would have gotten partial or no credit. With the aid of your teacher, parents, classmates, or any other person competent in the subject areas, draft responses that would have instead received full marks, thereby creating a very valuable information base for yourself.

Next, divide your full course of study into the appropriate section headings, taking one section at a time, identify the key concepts and list them in the order they would have been covered in class with the first at the top of the list, and the last at the bottom. Go through this list, and highlight the concepts which you may be having some degree of difficulty fully understanding, thereby separating your weaker points from your strengths. Now if you have been totally honest, this alone should indicate just how much review work you will need to do.

Starting at the top of the list, if the first is a concept that you feel comfortable with, go to your resource material and identify related problems/questions. Without looking at the solutions, attempt at least three questions (select questions that challenge you in different ways) and work your way through them until you feel confident enough that you could successfully complete such a question if it appeared on the exam. If after three questions you are still skeptical, then try a few more and continue until you have a good handle on the subject.

If the concept is one that you are not comfortable with, then go to the definition provided in the text. Read over it a few times (even out loud if you have to, that actually helps sometimes). Then read it again, this time more slowly, pausing at every punctuation mark, to ensure that each group of words makes sense to you before moving on to the next group. Bottom-line, break it down as much as you can and deal with it bit-by-bit.

From there go to the example provided in the text, and before reviewing the solution, break-down the question and ensure that you understand what it is asking. Be patient, and take the time that you need, if necessary take a short break and come back to it at a later date. Then when you’re comfortable with the logic followed in the example, proceed to trying relevant problems/questions from your resource material (as noted above) then move on through your list, and do the same for each section.

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