In this blog, Eddie explains the four assessment objectives for CIE IGCSE Business Studies, and outlines strategies for improving exam technique so students can achieve higher grades.
Students of IGCSE Business Studies often make the assumption that getting the highest mark will just require a basic idea of how business works and a vague recollection of the key concepts in the syllabus. However, to gain top grades in IGCSE Business Studies students need to know the precise criteria that examiners are looking for in each question. Here I will guide you through each of the assessment criteria and give simple tips on how to maximise your marks.
Knowledge is the foundation of each question and makes up 40% of your final grade. Therefore, it is essential to have a secure knowledge base of all the key words and concepts on the syllabus. It can be very helpful to learn a short definition and example for each of the key words on the syllabus. This will mean you can quickly get the marks on the paper 1 definition questions, allowing you more time on the more difficult questions.
Application is all about referring explicitly to the business context in your answers and makes up 20% of your final grade. Each of the exam questions on both paper 1 and paper 2 will be based on a fictional business. Application marks are awarded for using information specific to this business in your answer. For example, in a question about a restaurant it could be as simple as referring to staff as cooks or waiting staff, rather than employees. Students often forget to keep referring to the business in their responses, and often miss out on marks as a result. It can be really helpful to underline the key words specific to the business as you read the case study. As you answer each question, briefly go back and review the information about the business, and pick an issue or detail about the business to include in your answer.
Analysis is 25% of your final grade. It is all about explaining the impact of a problem or an issue on the business. Students often lose marks here because they don’t make it clear to the examiner why a business decision will have a positive or a negative impact. In order to explain clearly it can help to use sentence starters like “this means that” or “this will impact the business positively because”. Remember to tie your analysis to to the specific business in the question so you stay focused on the most important issues and also to gain application marks.
As evaluation is the final 15% of your grade, and can be the most difficult of the assessment criteria it is often neglected by students. However, perfecting your skills of evaluation can often make the difference between a B and an A or A*. Evaluation is about making a business decision and justifying why you have made that decision. The crucial component that students often miss, is explaining why one option is better than the other option. A good way of ensuring you get full evaluation marks is to acknowledge the benefits of the option you decide not to choose, and then explain why the benefits of the other option you have chosen are greater. For example : “Although option A has a lower short term cost, option B will rapidly increase revenue and allow greater profitability in the long term”.