This photo may seem unrelated to the blogpost, but it was snapped by one of my students’ iPads when I was trying to explain how to write the perfect economics essay for Paper 1, so it inspired me to write this blogpost!
So, you have a Paper 1 question made up of Part (a) and Part (b), how do you tackle it?
My approach to Paper 1 was inspired by this blogpost from IBMastery.com.
For part (a): Do the DEED!
DEED is an acronym for: Definitions + Explanation + Example + Diagram/s…
What I tell my students:
1- Definitions: Make sure you define all key terms that are ‘relevant‘ to the question. Also, writing a vague definition is always better than writing no definition; but writing an accurate and precise definition always beats a vague definition!
Remember, not all ‘relevant’ key terms will necessarily be mentioned in the question.
2- Explanation: Make sure you explain all economic concepts/theories that are ‘relevant’ to the question. Explanations need to be accurate and in enough detail to demonstrate sufficient knowledge and understanding. Wishy-washy vague explanations are not very helpful!
3- Example/s: You defined and explained, now you need to APPLY and ANALYZE… how? By providing relevant real-life examples and drawing a diagram/s! Remember, a hypothetical example is always better than no example at all, but a real-life example will always beat a hypothetical example! That’s why it’s important to follow economic news and build a bank of real-life examples that are relevant to your concepts as you’re studying the course!
4- Diagram/s: economists love diagrams and models! Think about it, every chapter has at least one diagram or economic model in it! Make sure your diagrams are accurately labeled and the labels are in full detail! Label the axes in full detail as well as any curves/graphs you draw. It’s also not enough to draw the diagram, you need to explain it and apply it in the body of the essay, using the same labels, for example: as shown in the diagram, the _______ caused the demand curve to shift from D1 to D2 etc…
Now the real skill is in how your essay flows and how you link each component of the DEED together, but this basic structure provides a good starting point!
To sum up:
1- Accurate/precise relevant definitions
2- Detailed and clear explanations
3- Contextualized and relevant real-life example/s
4- Accurate and clearly labeled diagram/s with full explanations!
Here’s a short video to explain in more detail: