Ten Things We've Learned from from Edexcel… | tutor2u Economics
Exam technique advice

Ten Things We've Learned from from Edexcel Economics CPD (Updated)

Here is some feedback that is worth bearing in mind when teaching Edexcel Economics drawing on reports from recent Edexcel events looking back at the 2017 exam series.

Check out the Tutor2u YouTube Channel which now has a wide range of revision playlists for A Level Economics

  1. Markets and the price mechanism
    1. Students need to know clear distinction between renewable and non-renewable resources. Plus the key roles of the state in a mixed economy
    2. Functions of the price mechanism (signalling, incentive, rationing functions) often the basis for a question
  2. Externalities and market failure
    1. Students only need to know 2 out of 4 externalities diagrams
      1. External costs of production (MSC>MPC)
      2. External benefits of consumption (MSB>MPB)
    2. Also need to know the perceived marginal private benefit curve in cases of information gaps 
    3. Merit and de-merit goods not on the spec
  3. Macroeconomic performance and the economic cycle
    1. Output gaps - students could be asked to draw output gaps using AD-AS analysis
    2. The multiplier - could be tested as a calculation e.g. simple formula (k=1/(1-MPC) or 1/marginal propensity to withdraw
    3. Economic well-being - happiness index is on the spec. Students also need to be precise about terms such as real GDP, GNI, PPP etc when discussing living standards
  4. Macroeconomic policies 
    1. Students should show awareness of how other countries conduct monetary policy (e.g. different inflation targets, use of QE, managed versus floating exchange rates) + evaluate effectiveness of monetary policy in an international context
  5. Business economics / imperfect competition / government intervention
    1. Industry regulation + risk of regulatory capture also important
    2. Nationalisation is on the spec - arguments for and against to be covered
    3. No need for PFI to be covered
    4. 2 firm, 2 price game theory model is required to demonstrate interdependent decision making in an oligopoly / duopoly
    5. Kinked demand curve - not on the specification
    6. Monopsony power - no need for a diagram
    7. Importance of divorce between ownership and control especially with Plcs; roles of activist shareholders
    8. Objectives - focus on multiple objectives including satisficing, price and output analysis for each, impact on consumer welfare
    9. Students need to know why some firms remain small
  6. Labour market economics
    1. No need to know/cover MRP theory
    2. But derived demand for labour is important + factors affecting mobility of labour
      1. Students need strong awareness of current labour market issues 
        1. Labour migration - analyse and evaluate micro and macro effects
        2. Ageing population - analyse and evaluate micro and macro effects
        3. Automation, robotics, AI - consider the impact on level and pattern of employment
        4. Trade unions
        5. Economics of the Gig Economy
  7. International macroeconomics
    1. Global trade imbalances a key aspect of this part of the spec - causes and consequences of persistent trade deficits and surpluses
    2. Comparative advantage - numerical (table) format fine for showing comparative advantage and/or PPF / trade possibility curves
  8. Terms of trade - index numbers important - calculating ToT - and understanding the implications of a change in the terms of trade
  9. Emerging and developing countries
    1. Significance of capitalism for inequality
    2. Causes of persistently high levels of relative poverty
    3. The developmental state - how the state can contribute to / hinder sustainable and inclusive development
    4. Development strategies - split to market versus interventionist approaches
  10. Financial sector economics
    1. Financial regulation needs to be covered - principles of regulation, new roles for central banks, how financial regulation can have micro and macroeconomic effects
    2. Emphasis likely to be on causes of financial market failure
      1. Market rigging e.g. LIBOR scandal
      2. Speculation and market bubbles
      3. Moral hazard in banking / impact of regulation / bail-outs etc

Synoptic paper technique

  • Good practice in the 25 mark questions to explicitly state at the start of a paragraph whether the argument being made is micro or macro
  • Paper 3 essays - students need to discuss both micro and macro points to avoid a lack of balance

Common confusion - between

  • Competition
  • Contestability
  • Concentration ratio

25 mark question for EdExcel Paper 3

25 marks in total – all levels based (25-30 minutes to write)

One minute per mark rule is a good one to follow

  • 16 marks for KAA 
  • 4 Knowledge
  • 4 Application (data supported paragraphs)
  • 8 Analysis (using chains of reasoning)
  • 9 marks for Evaluation

Critiquing a point or offering a counter-point
Answer must cover both micro and macro
Refer to all aspects of the question
Signpost when you are making a point or an evaluation
These are “essay-type questions” rather than full essays
No introduction or conclusion is necessary
Each evaluation should be given a separate paragraph

Subscribe to email updates from the tutor2u Economics

Join 1000s of fellow Economics teachers and students all getting the tutor2u Economics team's latest resources and support delivered fresh in their inbox every morning.

You can also follow @tutor2uEconomics on Twitter, subscribe to our YouTube channel, or join our popular Facebook Groups.

Teaching Vacancies


Advertise your vacancies with tutor2u

Much cheaper & more effective than TES or the Guardian. Reach the audience you really want to apply for your teaching vacancy by posting directly to our website and related social media audiences.

Find our more ›

Advertise your teaching jobs with tutor2u

A New Home for tutor2u Resources

We've just flicked the switch on moving all our digital resources to instant digital download - via our new subject stores.

For every subject you can now access each digital resource as soon as it is ordered. This will always be the latest edition of each resource too (and we'll update you automatically if there is an upgraded version to use).

Simply add the required resources to your cart, checkout using the usual options and your resources will be available to access immediately via your mytutor2u account.