Knowing how to structure your answers will play a large part in how many marks you will receive on your test.  The Economics and Business GCE is primarily an essay based exam and examiners mark your paper using a checklist. They want to see that you’ve fulfilled certain conditions in writing your answers. Knowing how to structure an answer in your E&B test is about writing your answers in a way that makes it easier for an examiner to see that you’ve done what the mark scheme is looking for.

Understand your assessment objectives.

Mark schemes are like ladders, you need to complete objectives in a certain order. In other words you cannot demonstrate knowledge by defining key terms towards the end of your essay. Furthermore, some questions do not require all 4 objectives, questions worth 2 marks typically only look for knowledge, questions worth 4 marks look for application and questions worth 6 marks want you to go as far as analysis. Anything above that typically requires all assessment objectives listed below.

AO1: Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the specified content.

This is fairly simple as all the examiner wants to know is whether you’ve learnt and understood what you’ve been taught. This is purely based on memory; all you need to do is define key terms.

For 2 mark questions define key terms and to be safe show knowledge in context by providing an example. For longer questions, defining key terms then moving on is enough

A02: Apply knowledge and understanding of the specified content to problems and issues arising from both familiar and unfamiliar situations.

This is the one thing you cannot “Memorise” per se, so you’ll need to develop it as a skill. You need to draw out information from case studies or your question.

Put simply you need to just tie in information from relevant topics you’ve learnt into the case study. E.g. If the question deals about a specific market like say the car market, you need to give it some consideration and think of how you can apply things you’ve learnt to that.  For example the car market is something very international! We routinely drive cars that are from Europe, America, or even japan. You could then bring in factors that affect international trade like currency rates etc. This is all about having the skill to bend and twist whatever you’ve learnt into something that can apply to your case study.

Ways of showing application include combining data, and manipulating data you can gain your marks from applying your knowledge within context without doing any of these 2, but if you have the opportunity then it is in your best interests to do so.

Note: Simply stating the name of a company or affected party in your answer will not gain you any application marks, you need to make points directly relevant to the party’s situation.

A03: Analyse problems, issues and situations.

You need to develop arguments that follow a logical line of thought. In other words make a point, then use words such as “therefore” and “thus” or “this demonstrates that... and it follows that” in order to develop an argument. Simply stating that something is good or bad won’t gain you much marks, using words like therefore and thus will show the examiner you are making points then developing them.

You’ll generally find your arguments will either stack up for or against a certain outcome. Depending on the number of marks available, develop a couple of arguments either way then explore the other side of the answer.

In other words if you have developed arguments in favour of something such as a condition being positive for the business / stakeholders involved you should now begin stacking up arguments why that same situation could be bad for those involved. Use phrases like “However” or “On the other hand” in order to show the examiner you’ve ended the “advantages” and you’re beginning to talk about the “drawbacks”. If you make his/her life easier, the examiner will find it easier to reward you.

Note: You should already think about your evaluation, and structure your analysis to match. In other words if you want to conclude by saying something is good, You should start by listing all the negatives, and then using “however” to start making positive arguments. When you then “weigh up” your arguments in your conclusion, structuring them in that way encourages the examiner to agree with your judgement and subsequently award you more points. contains points you can use in your analysis

A04: Evaluate, distinguish between and assess appropriateness of fact and opinion, and judge information from a variety of sources.

 You’ve made a lot of arguments in your analysis, now in your evaluation you should weigh them up and make a judgement. Your judgement should directly answer your question by explaining which arguments are stronger and it should make a recommendation or a prediction for the future.

Your teacher may have told you something along the lines of there’s no right or wrong answer, but there is. The “Right” answer is an answer that directly answers your question at every step of the way, shows you’ve learnt your topic and you can apply that knowledge to situations given to you.

Define your key terms, apply what you know to the scenario when you make points for or against something and finish on a balanced judgement that gives a prediction or recommendation.