Business and Management is one of the popular subjects in Group 3 but it’s common for the students to struggle with getting a high score. So here are some tips for when you prepare for the final exam.
1. Main Tips for the Exam in Business and Management
1.1 Understand the Use of Command Terms
Command terms are demanding verbs used in questions on exams. Knowing what each command term means helps you understand what the question is asking you and what you’re supposed to write in the right way. For example, you’ll have to write an answer with balanced arguments when the question starts with “discuss” or “evaluate”.
Here are some examples of command terms:
- Explain… Give an explanation on the subject in detail with reasons.
- Compare… Compare two or more things or situations. Focus on similarities. Rather than explaining one thing more than the other, it’s better to spend the same amount of writing on each subject.
- Discuss… Rather than drawing a conclusion of yes/no, explain the subject with different perspectives and argue the problems that occur for such differences.
- Distinguish… Compare two or more things or situations. Focus on differences.
- Evaluate… Explain both pros and cons of the subject, consider both sides, and draw a conclusion.
1.2 Use Time Wisely
Since there are many questions based on a case study in the exam and you have to analyze each case study before solving the questions, how you use time will have a great impact on your score. Especially, students will have to spend more time on section C in paper 2 (CUEGIS essay) as it’s worth 20 marks out of 70 marks. So it’s best to decide how much time you spend on each section in the paper beforehand as you practice with past papers.
1.3 Know What the Financial Data Means
Both papers ask you some questions about finance and use the previous answer to recommend the best option to the company in the case study. (e.g. “Using the case study, additional information given and appropriate business tools, recommend whether Company A should take over Company B”) These questions are often worth high marks, so you’ll need to know how to calculate financial values and what each of those values means in business management.
2. Tips for Paper 1
Students will be asked questions based on the pre-seen case study, so the more deeply you analyze the case study, the more likely you will get high scores.
2.1 Highlight the Keywords
The pre-seen case study is given to students beforehand and IB gives them some time to analyze it. Students will find many keywords they learned in the course in the case study and the examiner will ask questions based on those words. So, first, you should read the case study carefully and highlight the keywords so that you can more easily understand the case study and analyze it more efficiently with a reference to the syllabus.
2.2 Make Original Questions
After the first step, try to come up with some questions for each topic that examiners could ask you. By going through past papers, you will find a trend in how they ask questions. Here are a few examples of how the question is made from the keyword.
- Primary Market Research → “Define the term primary market research.” “State one advantage and one disadvantage of using primary market research as the research method.”
- Leadership → “Examine which one of the leadership styles is more suitable for Company A: democratic or paternalistic.”
- Expansion/Merger/Acquisition → “Using the case study and the additional information, recommend whether Company B should implement option 1 (merger) or option 2 (get a loan).”
2.3 Read Again and Again
A few months prior to the final exam, students will be able to check the case study for paper 1, so it’s up to you how you use your time after getting the case study. But if you’re aiming at 6 or 7, it’s best to read as many times as you can to understand the history of the company, the current situation that it’s in, and the main characters around the business. This way, not only you can come up with wise answers easily, but also you don’t have to check the case study during the exam!
3. Tips for Paper 2
There are three sections with questions based on case studies that students will get for the first time in the exam. In section A, students are asked to analyze the financial data using the tools mainly from Unit 3. In Section B, students will answer the questions based on case studies. In section C, students will write an essay based on an existing business and two concepts from “CUEGIS” – Change, Culture, Ethics, Globalization, Strategy.
3.1 Be Flexible to Answer Every Question
If you look at past papers, you’ll see most of the questions in section A is related to finance as 8 out of 10 marks come from questions that require calculations. So practicing calculations is the key to getting a good score on section A. Although a formula booklet is given to students during the exam and it’s not necessary to memorize the formula, It’s best to review the analytical tools if you’re not sure about their meanings. Otherwise, it’ll be hard to apply the result of the calculation to the case study.
3.2 Write Down Every Step You Took to Get the Answer
Examiners look not only for the answer itself but also for the process students take to get the answer to see if they understand the concept. You don’t want to miss the points you could’ve gotten just because you were too lazy to write down each step of the calculation. In fact, you could get “Method Mark” if your answer was wrong but your calculation process was right. So just do your best even if you’re not sure about the answer.
Another point you want to keep in your mind is that you should use a ruler and proper scalings when drawing a graph or a chart like break-even analysis because there is a mark for the “presentation”.