Going above and beyond the specification when preparing for university, or when showing off your commercial awareness in exams. This is for those that want to achieve top marks in their Economics exam or those that want to study Economics in the future e.g. university
Most specifications have now and will only continue to embrace context. This essentially means that textbook recited answers are not what examiners will reward most. The application and understanding of real-world context is a skill that Economists must adopt. This is because at the core of this subject is the idea that the issues and analysis being considered are relevant today.
You may argue that for example with Edexcel, most questions will be referring to data in the data response and this is certainly what you must base your answers on. However, this only reinforces the importance of context, because the ability to apply is not content specific and is a skill in and of itself. Moreover, for the larger essays, you are likely to struggle for content and will be wasting time thinking and pondering about what to write in the exam rather than executing, had you enriched yourself with news items throughout the two years of A-levels.
This can undoubtedly be daunting for an A-level student who has various other subjects to study as well as a life to live. It may seem like keeping up to date and regularly reading articles to refresh your memory of new context seems like a big ask. But over the two years, I was lucky enough to be in a class of very talented people that were generous in their sharing of content and I believe that some of the hacks I have to getting on top of context will save you many hours and will reduce tension near the exams.
Hack 1: [FREE]
BBC 4 Today programme. If you don’t find the time to read broadsheets and you still want a very detailed, thorough review of the most recent business and Economics news, download the BBC Sounds app and look for best of Today podcasts and the Business news is uploaded at around 08:00 every day. I would always listen to this on my walk to school and it was easy to absorb and listen to the most up to date account of business and Economics news. With guest speakers from different industries and covering a broad range of current affairs in a ten minute podcast, this is probably one of the best (and free) resources you can use to enrich yourself in the study of Economics. I cannot recommend this highly enough.
Hack 2: [FREE]
Sign up to a newsletter. One that a friend suggested to me was the Deloitte Monday Briefing. This is sent straight to your inbox every Monday morning and covers a very detailed range of content, with a specific topic focus at the beginning of each week, a round up of market news, political news and a fact to make you laugh at the end. This is done and provided for free by Ian Stewart (Chief Economist at Deloitte) and his team. Once again, I cannot recommend this enough, especially for those that want to study Economics at a higher level.
Hack 3: [Financial Times-FREE] or [£26 per year with Times every single day- I’m not affiliated in any way, but that is breathtakingly cheap!]
A favourite of mine was to read David Smith’s Economic Outlook articles from the Sunday Times each week, which will improve your reading comprehension and ability to absorb graph data (especially useful if you plan on preparing for numerical tests in the future). Furthermore, it was sometimes coincidentally aligned with the Economics Syllabus and this emphasizes how possible it is to apply what is learnt in class. With the Today programme to give you a grounding in your Economics understanding, this will enable you to form your own opinion on such matters and will grow your interest in a way that would make you complain at how you cannot fit all that you want to say in the 4000 characters UCAS demand.