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Welcome to the 4rd 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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Start September Strong: 4 Actionable Tasks + BONUS

Want to kick off September with confidence?
Toss aside the usual “read your books” mantra.
Let’s focus on processes that'll take your learning truly come alive.
As we step into a new academic year (esp. if you are going into year 13).
Gearing up for your predicted grades is essential.
Oh, and speaking of starting strong, check out this throwback YouTube video I made last year: 

These 4 actionable tasks to start September strong!

  1. Active Learning

    It's more than just textbooks.

    What it's not:
    Opening a textbook, scanning through topics. It's not just understanding Fiscal Policy or exchange rates.

    What it is: Engaging with real-world situations. Did you know current inflation levels are wildly different from the past decade? The key is to connect real-world applications with theoretical content.

    Why it's essential: Most students understand theory but struggle to link it with the real world. If you're learning about inflation, understand what's causing inflation today.

    How to do it: Activate notifications from the BBC, The Guardian, or the FT. Stay updated with what’s happening around the world. Compare it to last week’s events and understand the economic implications. For instance, if a prime minister steps down, what might be the new economic policies? How might they impact micro and macro objectives?

    If you're not connecting your learning with the real world, you're missing out on deep insights. Start now if you're aiming for that A*.

  2. Review the Syllabus:

    It’s your roadmap to success.

    What it's not:
    Something you glance at once and forget.

    What it is: Your guiding document that lists every topic you need to grasp. It’s like a checklist for your learning.

    Why it's essential: Many students go through their entire A-levels without truly understanding the syllabus. How can you ace the exam if you don’t know what’s coming? It helps identify where your knowledge gaps are.

    How to do it: Go over the syllabus. Pinpoint what you covered in year 12. Compare that with the notes you’ve taken. Identify what’s missing. This isn’t just about making sure you’ve covered everything; it’s also about reinforcing your knowledge. Platforms like EdGenie can help you with this. Let's say you’ve covered 'demand', but you missed the evaluation of 'supply-side policies'. Find that out now!

    Use your syllabus as a tool for focused learning. It's not just a document; it's your study compass. Ensure you've covered every nook and cranny.

  3. Elaborate:

    A deeper dive into understanding.

    What it's not:
    Merely accepting what you're told.

    What it is: Questioning what you're learning. Push yourself beyond simple absorption. Dive into the "how", "why", and "what if" of concepts.

    Why it's essential: Elaboration allows you to fully comprehend concepts. Instead of merely recognising a fact, you understand its implications, background, and relevance.

    How to do it: Always be curious. For instance, if news hints at potential deflation, probe deeper. Who said it? Why? How will it affect various stakeholders? Films like "The Big Short" can offer context to such topics. Don't just memorise; aim for deep understanding.

    Challenge the status quo. Economics is not about rote learning. It’s about understanding complex interconnections, making it second nature.

  4. Pluralistic Testing:

    Expand the horizon of your understanding

    What it's not
    : Looking at a topic in isolation.

    What it is: Understanding the multifaceted impact of an economic concept.

    Why it's essential: Economics is a web of interlinked concepts. Understanding one topic in isolation might mean missing the bigger picture.

    How to do it: Always seek connections. For instance, consider taxation. Beyond the obvious effects on corporations, delve into its influence on R&D, employee wages, governmental revenues, international businesses, and more.

    Every economic principle or policy has ripple effects. Grasping these helps you see the broader picture and makes your understanding holistic.

Bonus Section: Forming A* Habits

1. The Power of Habits
  • Your habits form the foundation of your success.
  • I've always highlighted the importance of good habits to my students.
  • Many of your peers recommend "Atomic Habits" by James Clear.
  • Reading this book can be transformative; implementing its principles can make a huge difference in your routine.

2. The 1% Rule
  • Embrace the mantra: "win the day."
  • Aim for a 1% improvement every day, be it in understanding a topic or boosting your economics grade.
  • Remember: small, consistent efforts result in big changes over time.
  • Many top-performing students swear by the power of consistency.

3. Removing Frictions
  • Aim for a seamless learning journey.Use techniques like elaboration.Dedicate a day to delve into topics, e.g., inflation.
    Allocate short sessions, like 10-15 minutes, for activities such as mind mapping.
  • Harness resources:Use tools like EdGenie.
    Prioritise key topics from the syllabus.
  • Often, starting is the hardest part; reducing barriers can make a significant difference.
    Streamlined learning processes can lead to significant and rapid progress.

4. Implementation & Consistency
  • Reflect on integrating these tips during your holidays or downtime.
  • Keep your passion for economics alive, regardless of where you are.
  • Incorporating these habits during breaks will make the academic year feel more manageable.

​Wilko administration explained - store closures, job losses and closing down sales​


  • Wilko, a household and garden products retailer, has entered administration after failing to secure a rescue deal.
  • Mark Jackson, the CEO, confirmed the news on August 10.
  • The company's history dates back to 1930, starting with one store in Leicester and growing to 400 UK stores.
  • Administrators from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) will continue seeking potential buyers for parts or all of the business.
  • The fate of the 400 UK stores, including those in Chelmsley Wood, Acocks Green, Selly Oak, Kings Heath, and Redditch, is uncertain.
  • Job losses are anticipated, but exact figures are not confirmed. The goal is to preserve as many jobs as possible.
  • Employees will continue to receive salaries during the administration phase.Closing down sales are possible, as indicated by a sign at the Acocks Green branch.
  • Reasons for Wilko's collapse include operational challenges despite a robust turnaround plan, streamlined costs, and a strategy that would've made Wilko the most profitable within two years. The inability to secure a deal within a necessary timeframe due to the cash position led to the decision to enter administration.

A Level Economics Questions:

Q: "Wilko thrived and successfully grew from one to 400 stores by listening to its customers." Evaluate how a firm's understanding of consumer behavior and preferences can influence its growth, especially in the context of oligopolistic markets like the high-street retail sector.
A: In an oligopolistic market structure, where a few large firms dominate the market, understanding and catering to consumer behaviour and preferences become even more critical. The reasons are:
Product Differentiation: In oligopolies, products are often close substitutes. Thus, a nuanced understanding of consumer preferences allows a firm to differentiate its product from competitors, fostering customer loyalty and potentially increasing market share.

Barriers to Entry:
High-street retail, for instance, has significant barriers to entry, including brand reputation and economies of scale. By deeply understanding and responding to consumer behaviour, firms like Wilko can further strengthen these barriers. If consumers feel a particular retailer "gets them", they are less likely to shift loyalties to a newcomer.

Strategic Behaviour:
Firms in an oligopolistic market often engage in strategic behaviour, reacting to the moves of their competitors. A firm grounded in consumer insights can better predict how consumers will react to competitors' moves and adjust its strategy accordingly.
Wilko's growth from a single store to 400 is a testament to the power of aligning business strategy with consumer behaviour. By closely listening to its customers, Wilko could offer products and services that met their needs, thereby ensuring repeated visits and establishing a loyal customer base.

Q: "We started out in the great depression and the second world war, we’ve been there for our customers through highs and lows, recessions and coronations." Discuss the impact of economic cycles on the long-term survival and profitability of businesses, using Wilko's historical resilience as a case study.
A: Economic cycles, consisting of booms and recessions, have profound effects on businesses. The impact is multifaceted:
Demand Fluctuations: During booms, consumer spending tends to rise, leading to increased demand. Conversely, during recessions, spending contracts, and businesses might see dwindling revenues.

Cost Pressures:
Recessions can lead to cost pressures as suppliers hike prices or credit becomes costly. Conversely, booms might see increased wage demands from workers.

Liquidity Concerns
: Recessions can lead to liquidity concerns, especially for businesses operating on thin margins or with significant debt.

Investment Decisions:
Booms might see firms expanding, while recessions can lead to cutbacks in investments.
Using Wilko as a case study, its survival through events like the great depression and the second world war shows remarkable resilience. Factors that likely contributed include:

Offering a wide range of household and garden products might have shielded Wilko from sector-specific downturns.
: Their ability to listen and adapt to changing consumer needs could have helped navigate shifting economic landscapes.
Strong Values and Brand Loyalty:
With roots going back to significant historical events, the brand could have forged a deep connection with its customers, making them less likely to abandon it during hard times.

Q:  CEO Mark Jackson mentions the need to "preserve as many jobs as possible, for as long as is possible, by working with our appointed administrators." Analyse the economic implications of company administration on employment. How might this impact local economies, especially in areas with a significant presence of Wilko stores?
A: Company administration is a double-edged sword when it comes to employment:

Short-Term Preservation:
Initially, administrators may keep the business running, preserving jobs temporarily. This helps in maintaining incomes and spending in the local economy, especially in areas where Wilko or similar firms have a significant presence.

Restructuring and Layoffs:
However, as administrators assess the business's viability, they may decide to restructure, which can lead to store closures and layoffs. This can have negative repercussions for local economies, leading to reduced consumer spending and potentially a domino effect on other local businesses.

Potential for Revival:
If administrators successfully find a buyer or a rescue deal, the company can come out of administration, potentially preserving many of the jobs in the long run.

In areas where Wilko has a significant presence, prolonged administration without a clear resolution can create economic uncertainty. Local suppliers might face receivable issues, and employees might cut back on spending due to job security concerns.

Possible A Level Economics 25 Marker Question

How do external economic factors and internal company decisions interact to impact the viability and profitability of a firm, using Wilko's entrance into administration as a case study?

Infographic of the Week

Life cycle emissions of Electric vs. Combustion Engine Vehicles

The transportation sector, heavily dependent on fossil fuels, was responsible for 37% of 2021's CO2 emissions. A study using Polestar and Rivian’s Pathway Report compared the life cycle emissions of battery electric vehicles (BEVs), hybrids, and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, revealing that BEVs have the lowest total emissions at 39 tCO2e, compared to hybrids' 47 tCO2e and ICE vehicles' 55 tCO2e over a 16-year use phase. However, BEVs have higher production emissions due to battery manufacturing, with electricity production being their most emission-intensive phase. Decarbonizing electricity and recycling vehicle components can further reduce emissions, emphasizing BEVs' potential in a carbon-neutral future, provided battery production becomes more sustainable and cleaner energy sources are embraced.

Chart of the Week

This week's chart of the week dives into the intricate dynamics of wage growth, capturing the pulse of the UK's economic health. Between April and June 2023, we witnessed the highest annual growth rate for regular pay since 2001. This period also saw a significant surge in total pay growth, influenced by one-off NHS bonus payments. Adjustments for inflation provide further depth to these figures, revealing the true purchasing power of workers. Join us as we unpack the nuances of these crucial economic indicators.

Between April and June 2023, regular pay saw an annual growth of 7.8%, marking the highest rate since records began in 2001. Including bonuses, total pay growth was 8.2% – the largest increase outside the coronavirus pandemic period, although this was influenced by a one-time NHS bonus payment in June 2023. When adjusted for inflation using the CPIH, total pay increased by 0.5% annually, and regular pay grew by 0.1%. AWE data for the latest month is provisional, with May 2023 experiencing significant revisions due to updated or late data, a trend expected to continue for June 2023, especially in light of the NHS pay deals and the annual seasonal adjustment review.

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