Developing effective writing techniques is an essential skill that students need to undergo in order to poise them to excel in their essay writing paper for H1 or H2 ‘A’ level Economics examination. To achieve this, students must be able to develop a systematic approach which will enable to them to understand the requirement of the question, crystallize a flow of the answer, create a structure from this thinking development, and write out the causation of argument in conceptualized terms along with well illustrated diagrams if needed. To comprehend these aspects of writing techniques, students need to understand the necessary procedures of these areas of thinking and writing for the essay writing examination for ‘A’ level Economics. All these areas of learning must be construed into a mechanism that will enable the students to answer a question effectively within forty-five minutes.
1) Understanding the Requirements
The understanding of the requirements of the essay writing paper is the first step in effective essay writing for ‘A’ level economics as students must make sure that they have the right source of information for the question and understand the link on how to apply the source of information to the requirements of the question as stated in accordance to the context of the question. To do so, students must be able to extract the necessary economic phrases or terms that will depict the source of information needed. There is also a need to understand the nature of discussion in the question by looking at how it is asked by focusing on words like ‘explain’, ‘discuss’, ‘evaluate’ and others which will determine how students should develop their causation. Very often, students also need to look at the preamble for the understanding of the context of discussion and some key determinants which must be used in the question.
For H2 level, the question may be given as a 25 mark essay and students are further required to develop the answer into different sections in accordance to the requirement of the question. This is not difficult if students are able to understand the key phrases and economic terms to set the line of argument for the essay. Very often, students fail to achieve this as a result of the failure to plan the essay.
2) Thinking Development
Based on the requirements of the question, students need to come up with a flow of discussion in their mind to link the various sources of information and apply in accordance to the context of the questions to fulfill the requirements of the question. In doing so, students must be able to departmentalize their knowledge of the various chapters of the notes and link it to the question. Weak comprehension of the studies of the economic knowledge will impede this development and severely undermine the writing of the essay.
3) Structural Development
Once the flow of discussion is conceived, students need to develop a structure that will guide the flow of discussion with introduction, perspectives for the main body, and conclusion. At the respective parts of the essay, the main ideas of discussion are linked or arranged in an orderly manner as required by the questions. This is significantly needed for the main body as the perspectives will provide the flow argument or discussion that will answer the question, given that the respective perspective will be answering a part of the requirements of the question.
For introduction, students need to list the definitions of the key economic terms in the essay like the meaning of ‘barriers of entry’ or ‘standard of living’. Students also need to state the requirements of the question without provision of the answer but a brief description on how the question will be answered.
For the main body, the structure of the discussion must be set with different perspectives based on the nature of discussion and requirements of the question. For example, for a question that asks on the explanation and evaluation of the monetary policies to curb inflation or the taxation on how to solve market failures, the structure of discussion must be divided into the mechanism of policy, strengths of policy and weaknesses of the policy. If comparison to other policies is needed, there will be further need to explain the mechanism of the other policies and how it can be compared to the mentioned policy.
For conclusion, a retrospective summary is needed, followed by an opinion or suggestion made on the discussion. This can be done by listing the key factors that influence the discussion in the main body.
4) Economic Causation
Developing effective causation is vital to excel in essay writing as it serves to make it easy for the examiner to understand the answer provided by the students. To do so, there is a need to develop an effective topic sentence that has a well conceptualized term or phrase that will depict how the answer is given and guide the paragraph. This is further supported with the proper economic terms and clauses that will clearly demonstrate the ideas to be explained or presented. It is also imperative to make discussion in the context of the essay whereby any examples given for evaluation and analysis is to be made in accordance to the preamble or any contextual requirements of the question.
Students also need to take note that there are different types of causation which are classified based on the nature of discussion and these types of causation can be for explanation, comparison, application, evaluation and analysis. For different types of causation, students will need to develop the discussion on different flow of development in their paragraph development.
5) Graphical Presentation and Description
Graphical Presentation is another crucial part of essay writing which is needed to demonstrate economic principles or concepts to support the argument in the essay. To do so, students need to ensure that the diagram is properly labeled and the curves are lined according to economic principles. It is important for students to use the graphs to properly explain the required causation or implication. Very often, the students illustrate these graphs according to their notes without considering the context of application, failing to provide well description of the diagram to support the flow of discussion in the essay.
The above points seek to create the awareness in students on how to excel in H1 or H2 essay writing examination for ‘A’ level Economics. Students need to be trained or tutored according to this development to make them capable in developing the necessary skills to excel in their writing for economics.
This article is contributed by Mr. Simon Ng, founder and principal JC Economics tutor of Economicsfocus who has 20 years of teaching experience. Currently, Mr. Simon Ng provides specialized Economics Tuition and GP Tuition. Please visit www.economicsfocus.com.sg/jc-economics-essays to read more of our JC Economics articles.