3 Techniques For IB Business Paper 2

The final IB exams are, to quaintly summarize, a collective pit of despair and agony. This, incidentally, includes IB Business Paper 2.

Jokes aside, there’s nothing to worry about when it comes to exams except for lack of technique, practice, and study.

Now most IB students are probably quite good at the latter two. However, some students lack the technique needed to maximize the marks attainable for an exam.

So today I’m going to be giving 3 very simple techniques YOU can use to improve your Paper 2 performance. Let’s get to it.

Know What The Question Is Asking In Your IB Business Paper 2

IB Business Paper 2
Welp….

You may be thinking:

“Pft well DUH”

Stick with me here. I’ll explain. You see, too often IB students end up not focusing enough on what the question asks for. For example, here’s a question from the Business and Management Paper 1 from November 2015:

Past IB Business Paper 2 question

“Analyse the appropriateness of a cost-based pricing strategy for CC” [5]

The reason why I say you need to know your question is because you need to focus on what it’s asking for. Some IB students tend to go on a tangent and talk about other things if they get too distracted with what they’re writing.

A personal mistake of mine was that there was a question in a mock paper I did which was asking for the effectiveness of the marketing campaign of a certain case study company. Instead I ended up going into detail about HR and business organizational strategies after a paragraph or so.

Don’t let this be you. Keep referring back to the question to stay on track.

In the example question above for instance, when they say ‘Analyse’ they mean compare the benefits and drawbacks of that particular cost-based pricing strategy. THEN you need to conclude whether it’s an appropriate strategy or not.

So while this technique may be simple, it’s easier said than done. Trust me, we all make rookie mistakes and I made that one a lot where I veered away from what the question asked for.

Focus on what the question asks and only provide an answer that is relevant to it. Anything else you write won’t be marked.

Refer Back To The Question

IB Business Paper 2
Every teacher be like…

This is another pitfall for some students. As well as veering away and completely forgetting to answer the question, some students don’t even relate their responses directly to the question or the business the question is about.

This tip goes hand in hand with the last one. As well as remembering to focus on answering the question, you need to actually relate back to it. So there’s no point in writing an awesome response with no relation or context:

“A pricing penetration technique is useful because it allows for companies to establish itself in the market thus gaining market share in the process. However it may not be sustainable in the long-run as some pricing penetration strategies may result in very low prices, sometimes below operating costs.”

Ok that’s a great, decently explained example paragraph but so what? What does any of that have to do with anything? This is where you need to make your answer relevant to the question:

“A pricing penetration technique is useful because it allows for companies to establish itself in the market thus gaining market share in the process. However it may not be sustainable in the long-run as some pricing penetration strategies may result in very low prices, sometimes below operating costs. So in the case of company ABC, while pricing penetration may be a viable technique, their recent negative cash flow may only worsen which could create additional issues in future as they are already having trouble paying their staff.

So right there, you’ve instantly given your question some context and it is now a MUCH better response compared to the last one.

As I said before, these tips may seem basic but under exam pressure and time constraints, you tend to forget small, important details relating to how you should answer your questions.

Understand How To Conclude Long Answer Questions

This one may be less known but it’s incredibly important, ESPECIALLY for IB Business Paper 2. Say you have a long answer response such as the one in the first tip. It’s worth a hefty 5 marks. The keyword you’ve seen is ‘Analyse’ and you need to do just that.

So naturally, you set out to respond with a foolproof technique:

You define the keywords of the question, explain some theories related to the keywords in general business context, compare the benefits of the theory and the drawbacks.

But then you get to the conclusion. What do you do there? You can’t just leave it at that. I mean let’s look at the question again:

Past IB Business Paper 2 question

“Analyse the appropriateness of a cost-based pricing strategy for CC” [5]

You’ve literally finished 90% of answering the question yet there’s no conclusion. The question clearly states that you need to analyse how appropriate the cost-based strategy is.

Personally, I like to use the keywords of the question. So for example, if I were to do a mock response to this question, I’d start by saying:

“Overall, it is clear that using a cost-based strategies, while in some ways appropriate for a firm such as CC, may need to be properly analysed and evaluated before implementing in….”

I used the word ‘appropriate’ which indicates to the examiner that I clearly understand that I need to answer accordingly.

Do note that for this question, you don’t necessarily need to decide and make a clear decision on whether it’s a good strategy to use or a bad one. See that? You need to know what the question is asking.

If it was an ‘Evaluate’ question then yes. You would need to make a decision in your conclusion. HOWEVER. This question asks you to ‘Analyse’ meaning that you don’t need to clearly state something along the lines of

“Yes this is appropriate”

Or

“No this is not appropriate”

If the question had been:

“Evaluate the appropriateness of a cost-based pricing strategy for CC”

THEN you could have gone something like:

“Overall, it is clear that using a cost-based strategies is beneficial for CC. Despite there being minor drawbacks such as ABC, the total long-run advantage of such a strategy….”

So that’s how you do it. To know how to conclude long answer questions, you need to first KNOW WHAT THE QUESTION IS ASKING. Every one of these tips ties in together.

It’s a matter of implementing and remembering them. Remembering to search for those keywords like ‘Explain’, ‘Analyse’, or ‘Evaluate’ is also pretty important and I might do another piece on that later on.

 

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