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A comprehensive guide to Market Structure in JC economics

Be it at the H1 or H2 level, a strong mastery of the two major themes- Microeconomics and Macroeconomics is critical in helping you develop both your content foundation as well as your ability to do economic analysis. Microeconomics refers to individual and business decisions regarding the allocation of resources and one of the major concepts for Microeconomics is Market Structure. If you’re struggling with Market Structure or Economics in general, worry not! Zenith’s JC Economics tuition uses a proven pedagogy that has consistently delivered stellar results and massive improvements for all of our students. With that said, let’s dive right into this comprehensive guide on Market Structure compiled by the top JC Economics tuition centre in Singapore!

Mastering content

Both Microeconomics and Macroeconomics require a solid mastery of content as well as an excellent ability in applying concepts to different questions. An important topic that needs to be grounded would be Market Structure as a big part of Microeconomics revolves around it. According to the Corporate Finance Institute (CFI), Market Structure refers to how different industries are classified and differentiated based on their degree and nature of competition for goods and services. In Economics, firms exist in a multitude of forms, such as monopolies or oligopolies. The key here is to be able to differentiate them by being cognizant of their varying characteristics. With a strong foundation of these concepts, we are then able to understand the motivations behind the decisions that they make.

Fig 1. A monopoly curve

For example, a monopoly would not price its products at market equilibrium because it is the only type of firm that produces goods with no close substitutes available (Fig 1.). Consumers that wish to buy such goods are forced to pay the price decided by the monopoly. By pricing above the equilibrium level, monopolies tend to make supernormal profits in the long run since they face no competition at all. If you are able to discern each market structure based on their varying characteristics, it would greatly help when you’re explaining the content in both essays and case study questions. You can try to create mind maps that help you visualize better as the differences and similarities between different firms become much more salient then. Cross examinations between different firm models will serve to be a valuable skill in your economic analysis as well.

Applying relevant concepts

Unfortunately, the rigor of A Levels Economics does not simply require you to have a solid command over the content. You also need to be able to think critically by applying the theories that you have learnt to different real-world scenarios. Many students are often stumped at which theories to use for different questions and end up simply regurgitating all the concepts they think are relevant. You may know the different Economics concepts like the back of your hand, but without proper application, it would be useless. This is a crucial skill to learn as it is one of the intended assessment objectives (Refer to Fig 2.).

Fig 2. SEAB’s syllabus assessment objectives

At Zenith, our students will be taught how to engage with a plethora of question types in a critical fashion. Students will learn how to do proper Economic analysis and be exposed to a multitude of different real-world settings to accustom them to answering for their exams.

Answering the question

As we all know, it’s always a race against time in examinations. You may have a high proficiency in content and have stellar application skills, but if you fail to manage your time properly, it would be pointless! For H1 A Level Economics, you will be tasked to complete 2 case studies within 3 hours. You’ll have to analyse them in an in-depth fashion and chances are, Market Structure will appear as either of the two case studies. For H2 A Level Economics, it becomes slightly trickier as there are 2 papers instead. The first paper will be your case study paper where 2 compulsory case studies have to be attended to. The next paper is your essay paper where 3 essays are to be completed. Both are 2 hours and 15 minutes long. As you can tell, time is scarce and there's simply no time to waste by providing long-winded answers. Go straight to the point! Brevity is a vital skill to have. You should focus on writing down concise economic analyses and evaluations rather than simply describing or stating. Refrain from wasting precious time by answering the question directly. To avoid this, you can attempt to employ the PEEL structure: Point, Explain, Example, Link. For example, if the question asks us why there are benefits from being an oligopoly, we can start by writing about its characteristics, followed by its advantages and disadvantages. We should also provide a real-world example. For instance, the telecommunications industry in Singapore where Singtel, Starhub, and M1 are the dominating firms. Following that, you can link your example back to the question and explain further about the industry's characteristics as well as an oligopoly’s characteristics in general.

With these tips in mind, get started on triumphing your A Level Economics exams! Adopting these tips provided will be by no means an easy feat but as you gradually learn the ropes, you will find even the hardest questions easy to conquer! In the beginning, it may seem intimidating and daunting, but as long as you embrace the tips dished out by the top Economics tuition centre in Singapore, Zenith (that’s us!), you will ace Economics in no time. Many of our former students who previously struggled have turned the tables to successfully conquer their dreaded A Level Economics exam! At Zenith, we offer both J1 and J2 Economics tuition. If you’re still unsure, Zenith offers a free trial too!

We hope that you’ve found these A Level Economics tips insightful. Click here to be part of Zenith’s JC Economics tuition program today!

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