5 things to know about IB Economics Changes
As per the provisional data with IB, in May 2021 almost 26,000 students took the IB Economics examination, and this makes
Economics is the second most popular one after ‘History’ in the “Individuals & Societies section”.
In the 2022 May Exams, IB students will be writing exams for the revised course for the first time. You will be the first group to study the new syllabus of Economics.
In view of this, to help you guys cope with the changes and to prepare for success, here are a few critical areas that you should be well versed in before taking the updated examinations in 2022.
A Revised Approach That is based on Holistic Content Assessment
In the context of the updated IB Economics course, let us understand the term ‘holistic’. It means that the assessments bring together different features of the course, as compared to splitting them down and evaluating them individually.
It is for this that the students in IB Economics should keenly look for relations, correspondence similarities, and distinctions between the concepts of the course. It is suggested to consider making Venn diagrams part of your routine study and always look at a “larger picture” in mind ahead.
The changes in the assessment pattern in no way mean that the students are no longer required to use the old IB Economics content while preparing for their updated tasks. Instead, the proposition is that one should practice countering with a broader approach.
Revisions to Paper 1 and Paper 2
As was the case earlier, both standard-level and higher-level students will write Papers 1 and 2. Only the higher-level students will respond to an extra task in Paper 3.
At present, Paper 1 contains Section A, which is used to assess the concepts of microeconomics concepts, and Section B is used to assess the concepts of macroeconomics. These two sections, viz., Section A and Section B, also have further two subsections. The first section generally needs the students to give an explanation and the second section usually requires discussion. In both Sections A and B, the students can opt for one question to answer out of the two options given. But for the selected question, all sub-sections are mandatory.
At present, there are no changes to Paper 2, and it has a similar structure. The Section A of Paper 2 covers International Economics, whereas Section B covers Developmental Economics. Two Sections, A and B, both have two questions, and each question has four subsections. The students can opt to answer one question from each section while attempting all four sub-sections of the opted question.
However, in May 2022, Paper 1 will become an “extended response paper, and this will now assess the entire course,” per the IB website, in view of the newly holistic nature of IB Economics. Paper 2 will cover both quantitative and qualitative data this will be “based on case studies or the real-world factual situation.”
In the revised edition of Paper 2, the students must be well versed in working on both written texts and math that is economics-related. Knowledge of Graphs is mandatory, and hence the students must try to render themselves to a wide variety of visual representations of economic data throughout the two-year program.
Revisions to the Internal Assessment Portfolio
In the revised internal assessment portfolio, from the concepts listed below, the students will be required to analyze three-course concepts: Equity, Efficiency, Economic Well-being, Change, Choice, Intervention, Interdependence, Sustainability, and Scarcity. The students must use this portfolio to exhibit how their chosen three concepts are applicable to a real-life scenario – that is traversing meaning through the lens of causes such as poverty etc.– and present separate commentaries that will prove their understanding of the concepts.
How to Figure out
While gearing up for this assignment over the two-year diploma program in the school, the students are required to stay updated and abreast on the World of Economics and any major developments therein. If you are figuring out how to stay updated on the current status of the world of economics, there are a few ways of doing it that you can try. The students are advised to regularly read publications and newspapers covering financial news, such as The Financial Express and The Wall Street Journal. Accessing these publications quite often, the students will be very familiar with all financial terminologies used in the publications, besides staying connected on current trending topics and understanding relevant charts and graphs in the coverage.
The Economics syllabus was always split up into 4 major units, but the revision in the new syllabus has modified these units.
Irrespective of whether you take up Economics at the Standard level or higher level, the major 4 units are as follows:
1. Introduction to Economics Total teaching hours – 10 man-hours for both at standard level and higher level where the students are introduced to ‘Economics’ and how the world is approached by the Economists.
Total teaching hours: 35 hours for the standard level and 70 hours for the higher level, covering concepts like supply, demand, government intervention, and market failure.
Total teaching hours: 40 hours for the standard level and 70 hours for a higher level, where the students will study the objectives of macroeconomics, measures of economic activity, macroeconomic objectives, demand-side policies, and supply-side policies.
4. The Global Economy
Total teaching hours: 45 hours for the standard level and 65 hours for the higher level, which covers the benefits of international trade, exchange rates, protectionism, sustainable development, the balance of payments, and barriers/strategies to development
Changes from the Old Syllabus:
Earlier, Introduction to Economics was not considered a complete unit, and the Global Economy was split into two smaller units (International and Development).
Exam vs IA Weighting
For the students studying Economics at the standard level, the Internal Assessment commentaries now carry a weighting of 30% of the overall grade, Paper 1 is also weighing 30%, and Paper 2 is worth 40%. So, your IA has become slightly more important while your Paper 1 has decreased in value slightly!
For the students studying Economics at a higher level, the score of Paper 1 makes up 20% of the overall grade, Paper 2 and Paper 3 make up 30% each, and Internal Assessment commentary carries the balance of 20%. So, Paper 3 has comparatively become more important than earlier, and Paper 1 has become slightly less important.
Changes from the Old Syllabus:
In Standard level: Earlier Internal Assessment Commentary was only worth 20%, and both Paper 1 and Paper 2 were worth 40% of each of the overall grades.
In Higher level: Earlier, Paper 1 and Paper 2 were each weighed 30%, Paper 3 was weighing 20%, and the balance of 20% was for Internal Assessment Commentary.
Higher Level Paper 3
At a higher level now, Paper 3 looks totally different in the revised Economics Syllabus. Now Paper 3 is termed the ‘policy paper’. The students will be required to answer 2 compulsory questions. Paper 3 is largely on the quantitative elements in the syllabus, but there will be a larger need for explanations and definitions, as was the case earlier. Towards the end of each question, the students will be required to suggest a Policy for the given situation.
Changes from the Old Syllabus:
Paper 3 was earlier known as the ‘quantitative paper’, where very few questions required explanation or definitions. Now the focus of this paper has been shifted and may prove to be slightly more challenging (as witnessed by Paper 3 now being worth 10% more compared to earlier).
To avoid any last-minute surprises that would not be pleasant enough and create panic, the students must be well aware of these major changes to the IB Economics course. To know more in detail, it is also advised to go through the IB’s official explanation of these revisions on their website. It will be a good idea to have some additional help, support during your classes. You can look at online resources like tribe topper to support you in getting higher marks.