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A Level H2 Economics Syllabus - Syllabuses 9732 and 9757


At JC Economics Essays, we focus on strong writing skills, clear and direct explanations of core economic concepts, the use of relevant, real-world examples to strengthen arguments, and a generally good understanding of economics for students. That is what JC Economics Essays as an economics blog stands for. 

And the use of good reference examples of varied essay responses and sample economics essays and answers will help economics students level up, improve, and write better economics essays. Tips and techniques will also improve economics students’ approaches and skills in case studies and essay questions too. Students must know what they are doing.

Nonetheless, it is also useful and important to keep updated on the latest A level Economics syllabus. And parents and economics students alike often want to know what is in the syllabus, and what is out – and what they should be focusing on. 

This post will make a quick comparison between the 2015/2016 H2 economics syllabus, and the 2017 (onwards) H2 economics syllabus. The research for this piece come from the Singapore SEAB website as well as references to current economics teachers and tutors in Singapore.  

The H2 Economics (2016) Syllabus 9732 shared that its aims were to develop in examination candidates an understanding of fundamental economic principles, theories, and concepts, and various methods of analysis used by economists; the ability to use economic reasoning to explain, analyse, and resolve economic issues, and evaluate economic policies; read critically, from a wide variety of sources, to gain information about changing economic activities and economic policies; and the ability to use evidence in making rational arguments, in context. 

Examination candidates were expected to demonstrate understanding of the main concepts, principles, and economic theories; methods of economic analysis; and understand and interpret economic information presented in textual, numerical, or graphical forms; apply relevant economic concepts and principles to explain and analyse contemporary events at the micro-economic and macro-economic levels; recognise unstated economic assumptions and make interpretations and valid inferences, and evaluate the reliability of information; evaluate alternative theoretical explanations and perspectives of economic problems, issues, and policy decisions; and organise and communicate economic ideas and arguments in a clear, logical, and appropriate form.  

The first theme of the 9732 H2 Economics syllabus was on the Market System. This theme provided an introduction to economics and examined the operation of markets for goods and services. It also focused on how consumers and producers make decisions in a market economy. Candidates were expected to understand the price mechanism as a means of allocating resources and apply theoretical demand and supply analysis to real world economic situations. 

The second theme of the 9732 syllabus was on Market Failure and Government Intervention. This theme examined market failure, its causes, and possible microeconomic policy remedies. Candidates were expected to understand why free markets may not allocate resources efficiently, and apply economic analysis towards dealing with market failure, and an evaluation of how effective policies, used by the government to deal with market failures, are. 

The third theme of the 9732 syllabus was on the National and International Economy. This theme provided an introduction to the key economic indicators of macroeconomic performance, AD/AS and AE-Y (Keynesian cross) economic analysis, and the main objectives and instruments of government policy. Candidates were expected to have a good knowledge of recent economic trends and developments in Singapore and the international economy, and to appreciate the possible underlying causes of these economic trends and developments, and evaluate the effectiveness of government policies.  

And now the latest economics syllabus is Economics Higher 2 (2017) (H2 Economics, Syllabus 9757). 

The learning of Economics is aligned with the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) Desired Outcomes of Education. 

Through the application of economic concepts, theories, and principles, examination candidates should assess the role of economic agents in the allocation of scarce resources, and adopt multiple perspectives in understanding real-world economic issues. Examination candidates recognise trade-offs and consequences from decision-making, and arrive at well-reasoned economic decisions. Candidates should develop knowledge, skills, and values, and take an active interest in Singapore's economy and the global economy as contributing and concerned citizens.

There is a greater focus on Disciplinary Thinking in A Level 9757 H2 Economics

Globalisation, changing population and demographics, and technological advancements are some of the key driving economic forces of the future, in Singapore, and also in the world. 

To help economics students thrive in a fast-changing VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) world, one of the key 21st Century Competencies emphasised in the Economics Curriculum is Sound Reasoning and Decision Making. These are under the domain of Critical and Inventive Thinking. Given the importance of decision-making skills, the decision-making approach through an economic lens will be used to front disciplinary thinking in A Level Economics. 

Under this new economics syllabus, in the light of the central economic problem of scarcity of unlimited wants with limited resources necessitating choice, decision-making is fundamental to a deep understanding of economics as a discipline. Scarcity leads to the inevitability of choices, opportunity cost, and trade-offs. 

In this economics syllabus, decision-making is now framed as a process where economics students analyse how decisions are made from the perspectives of different economic agents (e.g., consumers, producers, and governments), adjusting for changes where appropriate.

Examination candidates will take account of the benefits, constraints, costs, perspectives, and necessary information, while recognising the impact of intended and unintended consequences arising from the decisions made, and corresponding trade-offs. Examination candidates will also recognise that decision-making by economic agents can have multi-faceted, short and long term implications that impact other economic agents. 

The 9757 syllabus is intended to provide the basis for a broad understanding of economics. Specifically, the 9757 H2 Economics syllabus aims to develop in candidates an understanding of fundamental economic concepts, theories, and principles, and the tools and methods of analysis used by economists; the ability to use the tools and methods of economic reasoning to explain and analyse economic issues, and evaluate perspectives and decisions of economic agents; the habit of reading critically, from a variety of sources, to gain information about changing economic activities and policies at the national and international levels; and the ability to use evidence in making well-reasoned economic arguments, arriving at rational and considered decisions. 

Economics Assessment

The updated 9757 economics assessment comprises two compulsory written examination papers: Paper 1 (on Case Studies) and Paper 2 (on Essays), similar to the previous syllabus and not fundamentally different. Taken as a whole, both Paper 1 and 2 will incorporate a balance of microeconomics and macroeconomics questions. 

Examination candidates are required to answer all questions for each case study, which carries 30 marks and constitutes 20% of the total marks. About 12 marks of each set of case study questions will be for data response questions, and about 18 marks will be for higher-order thinking questions. 

Examination candidates are required to answer a total of three economics essay questions; one must be from Section A, one from Section B, and the final question from either Section A or B. 

Economic Themes

Theme 1 introduces candidates to the central economic problem of unlimited wants and limited resources. 

Scarcity of the factors of production of land, labour, capital, and entrepreneurship necessitates choice, and leads to economic decision-making. Through examining how the concepts of scarcity, rational choice, and opportunity cost are faced by economic agents (such as consumers, producers, and governments), examination candidates will be able to understand the central problem of economics facing all societies, and how economic agents use available information, consider perspectives, constraints, costs, and benefits in their rational decision-making processes. Examination candidates will also understand that decisions made by economic agents often have both intended and, more importantly, unintended consequences. 

In Theme 2, candidates examine how markets deal with the central problem of economics, and how decisions are made by economic agents in free markets. 

Theme 2 aims to provide candidates with a microeconomic analysis of how free markets function and how these markets may fail to achieve efficient and equitable outcomes, because of market failure and its various sources. 

Examination candidates will understand how the market forces of demand and supply interact to bring about market equilibrium (i.e., the economic concepts of the price mechanism, invisible hand, and coordination of the allocation of resources). Examination candidates will also examine the strategies of firms to achieve their varied objectives – and profit maximisation is not the only goal or aim of firms. 

In addition, candidates understand that while rational decisions made by consumers and producers are necessary for the functioning of markets, these individual decisions may lead to inefficient and inequitable outcomes. And in response, governments may intervene through public policy measures to improve efficiency and equity, while recognising limitations, unintended consequences, and possible trade-offs of government intervention. This theme provides insights into real-world microeconomic issues and opportunities to deepen economic reasoning, analysis and application of microeconomic concepts to both Singapore, and the global economy.

Theme 3 provides examination candidates with an overview of the workings and linkages of the national and international economy. 

The key focus for this theme is on governments as economic agents, while recognising that the extent of government intervention differs among economies. Examination candidates will examine macroeconomic aims, issues, and policies relating to economic growth, inflation, unemployment, exchange rate determination, balance of payments, and income distribution. There will be a strong emphasis and reference to the Singapore context and current examples worldwide. Examination candidates will be able to examine Singapore’s position in the global economy, and the impact of globalisation on the Singapore economy. In this theme, examination candidates will use economic concepts, theories, and principles from Themes 1 and 2 to examine the problem of scarcity of resources and the concept of trade-offs at the broader level of the national and international economy. 

Conclusions

In conclusion, it is quite evident that there are many similarities between the economics syllabi (i.e., focus on Singapore and on markets and market failure, for example) and there are a few differences (i.e., no AE-Y or Keynesian cross diagram is mentioned in the 9757 syllabus, for example). 

However, as long as economics students focus on learning and developing their economics writing skills, practising writing solid explanations of core economic concepts, using real world and relevant examples to strengthen arguments, and developing a generally a good understanding of economics, they will do well in any syllabus. Focus on making real improvements in writing strong economics essays. 

As I said before, that is what JC Economics Essays contributors and I as the editor of this economics blog believe in. 

And the use of good examples of economics essay and sample answers will help economics students learn, grow, and eventually write better economics essays. 

Thank you for reading and cheers. 


JC Economics Essays – This post is a simple reference and summary of the A Level Economics Syllabi/Syllabuses for H2 Economics. Special thanks to WWT for her kind request to write this post, and hopefully it is useful for providing a quick understanding of the new MOE A level economics syllabus. 

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