If you’re poring over your textbooks and revision notes ahead of the HKDSE economics exam this Friday, here’s how you can prepare more effectively. Young Post spoke to Carl Hung, an economics tutor at King’s Glory Education Centre, about what to expect from this year’s exam, and common mistakes to avoid.
When doing practise papers for Paper 1, be sure to brush up on your data analysing skills, says Hung, as there were a lot more data-based multiple-choice questions than usual in last year’s exam.
Hung recommends looking at the data given in a question as a whole, to see how it can show or explain a trend. Hung also stresses the importance of reading the question carefully.
“Students sometimes overlook important terms and phrases such as ‘absolute value’ versus ‘growth rate’,” he says. “Another example is money in banking; ‘increasing money supply by a certain amount’ is different from ‘the amount of money supply’.”
Units of measurement often cause confusion, too, so try to familiarise yourself with all of them. For example, “unit of labour productivity” means the same as “unit of output per man hour”.
Remember to write down your equations when answering questions that involve calculations; not only will this earn you extra points, you’ll have something to refer back to for questions that have multiple steps.
Hung suggests paying extra attention to the aggregate demand and aggregate supply model (ADAS) which appears in both Q1 and Q4 on Paper 1, as students perform poorly in this area every year.
“This topic tests your analytical and diagram drawing skills in regards to current affairs. Many fail to analyse the impact of current issues on long and short-term bases, because they are unable to demonstrate the relationship between the two,” says Hung.
Hung points to the impact and cost of running and maintaining the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge as an example of applying different economic theories and viewpoints to a certain situation.
Another tricky topic is economic efficiency; here, your answers need to include clearly labelled diagrams and explanations – which many students tend to leave out.
As with Paper 1, more data response questions are expected in this year’s Paper 2. “These questions require students to make use of data and sources, which often give clues to the answer,” says Hung. “Failure to do so could mean you end up deviating from the correct answer.
When it comes to doing practice papers, it’s vital to pay attention to how each question is worded. If you don’t understand exactly what a question is asking of you, your answer or diagram may end up missing something.
For instance, a question that asks you to “reduce the negative impact” is different from one that asks you to “solve the problem” and this needs to be reflected clearly in your diagram.
Hung adds that answers need to be written in an essay format, not in bullet points. Don’t lose valuable points just because your answers aren’t in full sentences.
Sadly, there are no short-cuts for these exams; if you want to do well, you’ll need to practise. If you’re aiming for one of the top grades, Hung says the key is to be aware of what’s going on around you.
“You should follow current affairs closely, and analyse the economic impacts of various incidents. More importantly, you should apply economic theories to the answers and analyse from different viewpoints.”