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Home > Wednesday Wisdoms: Newsletter > Final Countdown: 13 Crucial Questions Before Your A-Level Economics Exam! 🚀

Welcome to the 40th edition of Wednesday Wisdoms by EdGenie!

Every Wednesday I send out actionable tips, tricks and real-world application insights from my 13-year experience coaching students to achieve As and A* in their Economics and Business A Levels.

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Final Countdown: 13 Crucial Questions Before Your A-Level Economics Exam! 🚀

Hey Genies,

With only a week left until your A-Level Economics exams, it's crunch time!

Are you fully prepped to tackle every curveball the exam might throw at you?

Here’s a checklist of 13 critical questions to ask yourself.

This isn't just any list; it's your roadmap (in no particular order) to ensuring you’re in top form for exam day.

Self-Check: Are You Truly Ready?

  • Weak Spots: Do you know which topics you're shaky on?
  • Big Ticket Items: Are you aware of the main topics that typically carry the most weight?
  • Exam Layout Mastery: Do you know your exam paper inside and out?
  • Actual Points: Can identify the priority points for every question in quicktime?
  • Case Study Skills: Can you efficiently extract answers from the case study?
  • Marking Scheme Insight: Do you understand the exact mark allocation per assessment objective?
  • Answer Structure: Have you mastered the structure of responses for every type of question?
  • Waffle Free: Do you know how to keep your answers focused and free from waffle?
  • Evaluation: Can you relevantly and specifically evaluate with evidence?
  • Analytical Depth: Are you skilled in both diagrammatical and contextual analysis/evaluation and in depth?
  • Diagram Precision: Can you accurately draw and label your diagrams?
  • Time Management: Do you have a clear strategy for how many minutes to allocate to each question?
  • Judgement Paragraph: Do you have a standardised structure to maximise your conclusion marks?


Turning Questions Into Confidence

 If you hesitated on any of these, now's the time to double down and turn those uncertainties into certainties. Here's how:

  • Pinpoint Revision: Focus your final days on areas you're less confident about.
  • Mock Tests: Simulate exam conditions to hone your time management and response structure.(Go back to my newsletter from two weeks ago. (read it here)
  • Diagram Practice: Ensure you can sketch and explain key diagrams swiftly and correctly.
  • Consult Resources: Utilise every resource at your disposal—whether it's textbooks, past papers, or EdGenie—to clarify any doubts.
  • Seek Feedback: Don't hesitate to ask for feedback on your practice answers from teachers or peers.

Final Stretch Strategy
Remember, it's not just about hard work at this stage—it's about smart work.

Align your final revision with the demands of the exam, and make sure you're not just ready, but primed to excel.
You're almost at the finish line, and now is the time to ensure you leave no stone unturned.

 
Let's make this last week count.

Turn these questions into a checklist of strengths, and walk into that exam hall armed with the knowledge and confidence to excel.

Emre

​Unfair banking’ and ‘damaging’ financial rules harming UK’s small firms, MPs warn

Summary

🏦 Unfair Banking Practices: The UK Parliament's Treasury committee warns that small businesses are at risk due to unfair banking practices and inadequate financial regulation, stifling innovation and growth.
📉 Decline in SME Confidence: A recent report reveals a significant drop in confidence among SMEs for accessing finance, with lower acceptance rates for business credit noted over the past five years, impacted by the global pandemic and energy crises.
🏠 Risks of Personal Guarantees: The committee criticizes the practice of requiring personal guarantees for loans, often involving personal assets like homes as collateral, which adds to the financial risks for business owners.
🚫 Issue of Debanking: An alarming trend of debanking, where banks close SME accounts frequently without sufficient explanation, has been highlighted. In 2023, 140,000 SME accounts were closed, particularly affecting sectors like defence and pawnbroking.
🛑 Ineffective Dispute Resolution: MPs find fault with the Financial Ombudsman Service and the Business Banking Resolution Service (BBRS) for inadequate dispute resolution processes and lack of independence, respectively.
📚 Lack of Transparency and Regulation: The report calls for increased transparency and regulation, suggesting that the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) enforce clearer rules on account closures and misuse of personal guarantees, and expand the remit of the Financial Ombudsman Service.
📢 Calls for New Measures: Recommendations include tighter FCA regulation on personal guarantees, a new independent system to replace the BBRS, and legislative actions to ensure banks explain and delay decisions on account closures.
💼 Government and Financial Sector Response: The Treasury has extended support schemes for SMEs, and UK Finance acknowledges the main reasons for account closures are related to financial crime concerns and incomplete customer due diligence.

A Level Economics Questions:

Q: Discuss how unfair banking practices can impact the growth and innovation of SMEs.
A:Unfair banking practices, such as the use of personal guarantees and debanking, can significantly impact the growth and innovation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). By requiring personal guarantees, banks transfer a high level of risk to business owners, potentially leading to more cautious business decisions and reduced investment in innovative projects. Debanking, or the sudden closure of business accounts, disrupts regular business operations and could strain the financial liquidity of SMEs, further discouraging risk-taking and innovation necessary for growth.

Q: Evaluate the role of regulatory bodies like the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in protecting SMEs from unfair financial practices.
A: The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) plays a crucial role in protecting SMEs by ensuring fair financial practices and transparency among banking institutions. The FCA's responsibilities include enforcing regulations that prevent unfair use of personal guarantees and overseeing the practices of banks concerning account closures. By tightening regulations and ensuring that banks are transparent about their actions, the FCA helps create a more stable and supportive financial environment for SMEs, although challenges remain in terms of effectiveness and the breadth of oversight.

Q:Analyse the impact of external shocks, such as the global pandemic and energy crisis, on the financial stability of SMEs.
A: External shocks like the global pandemic and energy crisis have compounded financial instability for SMEs by disrupting supply chains, increasing operational costs, and reducing consumer demand. These shocks have likely exacerbated the decline in SME confidence in accessing finance, as uncertain economic conditions make lenders more cautious. The compounded effect of these external shocks with unfair banking practices has made financial survival even more challenging for SMEs, impacting their long-term sustainability and ability to invest in growth.

Q: What recommendations have been put forward to improve the financial environment for SMEs, and how might they impact the sector?
A: Recommendations to improve the financial environment for SMEs include forcing banks to be more transparent about their decisions to close accounts and to share data on their closure decisions. There is also a call for the Financial Conduct Authority to tighten rules around the misuse of personal guarantees and widen the remit of the Financial Ombudsman Service. Implementing these recommendations could lead to a more supportive financial environment for SMEs, ensuring better protection against unfair practices and enabling more stable access to finance, which is crucial for business operations and expansion.

Possible A Level Economics 25 Marker Question

Evaluate the role of regulation in the Financial Sector.

Infographic of the Week

Shifting Dynamics in the EV Battery Market

Panasonic, once a frontrunner in the EV battery industry, now finds itself in fourth place, holding an 8% market share, a decline from 9% the previous year. The Japanese battery maker's competitive edge appears to be waning as Tesla, its principal client, has diversified its battery sourcing strategy to include multiple suppliers. Meanwhile, the global EV battery market is poised for substantial growth, with projections suggesting a rise from $49 billion in 2022 to an impressive $98 billion by 2029, as reported by Fortune Business Insights. This growth is driven by the increasing demand for electric vehicles and the subsequent need for more advanced and efficient battery solutions.

Chart of the Week

Disney's Major Acquisitions: A Century of Strategic Growth

In November 2023, Disney solidified its ownership of Hulu by purchasing Comcast's remaining one-third share for approximately $8.6 billion, having previously acquired a 60% stake through its 2019 purchase of 21st Century Fox. This acquisition, valued at $71.3 billion, stands as Disney's largest in its 100-year history, adjusted for inflation to around $85 billion. Prior to Hulu, Disney's significant acquisition was of Capital Cities/ABC in 1996, costing $19 billion, valued at $38 billion today. Noteworthy yet smaller in financial terms, Disney's purchases of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm over the last two decades have generated considerable media attention. Pixar's acquisition made Steve Jobs Disney's largest individual shareholder, while Marvel significantly boosted Disney's cinematic presence with the launch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Lucasfilm, acquired in 2012, continues to thrive under Disney with its Star Wars franchise, significantly influencing global culture with its expansive media presence.

Macroeconomic Data


Whenever you're ready there is one way I can help you.

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Join EdGenie 🧞‍♂️: Transform your A-Level Economics essays and exam marks (genuinely) with our comprehensive on-demand learning platform. This carefully curated course blends engaging content with effective exam techniques, the same ones that have empowered over 1,000 of my students to achieve an A or A* over the last 13 years. 
A huge thanks for hopping on board EdGenie's Wednesday Wisdoms newsletter! 
I'm Emre, and I've got a big goal - to make A* education accessible to all A-level students.
And it Starts With You!

Emre Aksahin
Chief Learning Officer at Edgenie