Tuesday, March 8, 2016

“How to” succeed on IB Economics higher level paper 3 | Economics in Plain English

“How to” succeed on IB Economics higher level paper 3 | Economics in Plain English

The link above takes you to Jason Welker's website that details a post on exactly what you can expect from a paper 3 exam in May. It's quite long. It's quite numerical. But at this point in time, you should be expecting that.

Paper 3 has the highest average score around the world, but involves calculations from across the entire two year  course and all sections of the syllabus. Therefore, it doesn't allow you to focus on just micro or just development.

This might seem a bit overwhelming at first, but you should recognize that many of the formulas are recycled with different names for different situations. For example, line equations are used multiple times and percentage change equations are used multiple times.

The more energy you spend working through the exercises in the book and reviewing the above link now, the easier the exam will be. This is definitely a test where practice and exposure is almost certainly your best bet. Do all the work, ask questions if you get stuck, and you should be as prepared as you possibly can be.

I would also personally take the time to write out all the formulas from across the text so that you can organize them mentally in the way that best works for you. This could be a Google Doc, flashcards, or even taking a list you find from the internet from the many examples that already exist. The point is to keep it handy over the next month, look at it a lot, and do your best to memorize them so you don't have to rely on filling in too many gaps on test day. It simply speeds up your problem solving if the formulas are already automatic and lets you spend time where it counts the most.


  1. Description of paper 3:
    - has various command terms relating to mathematics
    - need to show the method
    - explainations of diagrams (as well as giving reasons for why something has occured)
    - plotting curves
    - solving functions of curves and finding variables
    - calculating possible effects from the diagram
    - calculate various rates from a set of data

    1. My understanding of paper 3:
      -Highest scoring paper
      -Involves mathematical calculations
      -Analysing data from graphs.

  2. Paper 3 - Involves the use of the mathematical formulae found throughout the book, using this information to draw graphs to further prove our understanding of the formulae and their backgrounds.

  3. After reading the article I think I should definitely start compiling a list for all the calculations I must know. In order to be prepared for the paper 3 I need to understand the command terms terms in questions. This will allow me to have a better understanding of the question and answer it effectively. I should also know formulas found throughout the economics syllabus. Most importantly I should develop a better understanding of how and when to apply certain formulas to certain situations, and how to read the results of the formulas.

  4. Paper 3

    - Knowledge of various command terms is required to fully understand the questions
    - Understanding of mathematical formulas
    - Application of mathematical formulas
    - Manipulation of mathematical formulas
    - Analysis of data and graphs
    - Completing practice questions is key

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  6. Paper 3:

    - all the mathematical formulae we learned and will learn
    - calculating certain changes and their effects in different situations
    - mostly line equations
    - theoretical changes in situations with mathematical proof (demonstrating connection)
    - with these calculations e.g. comparing percentages
    - analyzing graphs
    - like always: Understanding, application, analysis

  7. My knowledge of Paper 3

    -Paper in which we demonstrate our complete knowledge of the mathematical elements of economics.
    -Understanding of how the maths is evidence of economic theories.
    -Does not require as much analysis or evaluation of the mathematical elements as the other papers do.
    -Every section has a mathematical element that has similar calculations, only different terminology to the other sections.

  8. Paper Three Understanding:

    -Paper three is the mathematical part of the exam
    -The use of the different formula that we have been learning
    -Looking at data and making interpretation based on them

  9. Paper 3:

    Math section, only for HL

    Chapters from which we might be tested for this section:

    - Micro: Markets, Elasticities, Government intervention
    -Theory of the firm: Costs, Revenues, Profit, Perfect competition, Monopoly
    - Macro: GDP, AD/AS, Unemployment
    - International: Free trade, Protectionism, Balance of payments