Summarising the A Level H1 Economics Part 1: The Central Economic Problem
Economics is a dynamic and important JC subject, driven by market forces and consumer behaviour, but for JC students who may have to study it, what’s more important is that this subject is offered both at H1 and H2 level. What does each level entail, and is this the subject you want to take? We’ll help you decide, by summarising the Singapore A Level Economics H1 syllabus in an easy-to-understand way, in three parts. Check out our H2 syllabus summary here.
The Differences Between H1 and H2 Economics
The H1 syllabus differs from the H2 A Level Economics syllabus in several key ways.
1. Exam Format
One notable difference between H1 and H2 Economics is the exam format.
For H1 Economics students, the mode of assessment comprises only one written examination paper: Paper 1. This consists of two 45-mark case study questions, each consisting of one or more:
- Data-response questions worth 18 marks in total
- Higher-order questions worth 27 marks in total
For H2 Economics students, there are two examination papers. Paper 1 is similar to H1’s paper 1, with two case study questions. However, in H2, Paper 1 only takes up 40% of the total score weightage. The remaining 60% weightage is taken up by Paper 2, which is an essay paper that requires you to choose three 25-mark essay questions (which may either be a single question or broken up into sub-questions) to answer.
2. Scope of Contest
Another major difference is that H1 Economics is less content heavy than H2 Economics. For example, some topics like Market Structure are not covered under H1 economics.
The themes covered under H1 Economics are very fundamental to the subject itself. So, if you are a student either planning to study the subject, or currently taking up a subject combination that includes Economics as one of your core subjects – H1 covers the basics you need to understand the market-driven world around you!
Summarising the A Level Economics H1 Syllabus
Although economics may seem very daunting and technical, don’t be afraid! We are here to help make sure that the ride is a smooth-sailing one. So, we have come up with a 3-part series specifically for H1 economics students where we will be breaking down the syllabus into a rough overview of each theme:
- The Central Economic Problem
- The National Economy.
In this article, we’ll look at the first theme–the Central Economic Problem.
Theme 1: The Central Economic Problem
The first theme is definitely the foundation for the next two themes, and is the basis for most economic concepts. In a simple world where people have infinite wants but there are only finite resources, the scarcity of those resources makes it necessary for people to make choices and decisions which incur opportunity cost.
As a student, you are expected to understand how these concepts of scarcity, choice and opportunity cost are faced and balanced by economic agents, which consist of customers, producers and agents. You will understand, analyse and evaluate how and why these economic agents behave in their particular ways, which consists of the ways they use available information to aid their decision making, the kinds of constraints they face, the costs and benefits they weigh, and the consequences of their economic choices.
Under this theme, these are the major concepts covered:
- Concept of scarcity and the inevitability of choices by economic agents (consumers, producers and governments)
- Concept of opportunity cost and the nature of trade-offs in the allocation of resources
- The rational economic decision making process
- What are the objectives of each economic agent?
- What are the constraints they face?
- What are the available information and perspectives?
- What are the costs and benefits in decision-making?
- Are there trade-offs?
- Are there consequences? Are they intended or unintended?
Once you can grasp the concepts above, you will need to apply them to answer real-world case study questions by relating these concepts to one another using other economic concepts such as:
- The Production Possibility Curve (PPC) which measures trade-off between producing one good versus the other
- Marginal cost: the additional cost of producing one more additional unit
- Marginal benefit: a maximum amount a consumer is willing to pay for an additional good or service.
- Marginalist principle which refers to an increase in the level of activity if the marginal benefit exceeds the marginal cost.
- Maximisation of Utility
- The concept that Maximisation of Profits occurs when Marginal Revenue = Marginal Cost
- The concept that Maximisation of Social Welfare occurs when Marginal Social Benefit = Marginal Social Cost
You will also need to illustrate these concepts and relationships with the appropriate diagrams, and you can expect to be introduced to your first Economics diagrams under this theme.
How To Score Well for H1 Economics Theme 1
As fundamental concepts, the economics covered under this theme of the H1 syllabus should come easily to students. However, if you find it daunting when actually studying it, don’t be afraid to ask your lecturers, or get some extra help outside the classroom!
At JC Economics Tuition Centre, we help you build a strong foundation of Economics knowledge to help you do better in later, more complex topics. It is essential to strengthen the fundamentals from the beginning in order to grasp the concepts better and understand the subject well. With our experienced tutor Mr Anthony Fok, we’ll help you get to where you want to be! As the preferred economics tutor of hundreds of JC students over the years, rest assured that you’re in good hands.