This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Comments on Performance in 2008 Examinations. The standard of the paper was in keeping with that of other examinations of the subject at this stage and the performance of those candidates who passed the examination is in keeping with the standard of previous years. Overall the standard of performance by the students was very satisfactory; a significant number of students earned marks over the range of (70 to 90)%. In general students had a good grasp of definitions but often the application of the concept to the business environment left something to be desired. One could not fail to notice the extent to which the general pattern of performance and choice of questions by candidates, in this exam is similar to the pattern in previous exams. Answering of Individual Questions. Q.1. As in other years those students who performed well in question one invariably did well in each of the other questions while those that had difficulty with question one tended to perform less than convincingly when attempting the other individual questions. Price Elasticity of Demand and the multiplier were the two most popular choices and the appropriateness of their popularity was justified in the quality of the answering. The most common error in relation to Regressive Taxes was a lack of awareness of the proportion aspect --- not realising that if rich and poor pay the same absolute amount of tax then it is regressive because it takes a higher proportion of income from the poorer person. In relation to section (iii) of the question there were some very good answers, and most candidates were able to define GDP. Any difficulties that arose were in distinguishing the determinants of potential and (more often) actual levels of GDP. Some candidates could define Opportunity Costs but had little else of consequence to add. Q.2.This was the most popular individual question. The answering to section (a) of the question was particularly good and the answering to section (b) was satisfactory. The answering to section (c) tended to be either excellent, which it often was, or just about adequate. Given the nature of this question it is not possible to relate common errors, it tended to be a case that candidates who understood what was being asked scored well. Q.3. This was by far the least popular choice being attempted by only 8 of the candidates. Two of the three parts of this question related to newer elements of the syllabus viz: sections 3 & 4. These sections of the course, which are contained in chapters 6, 7 & 8 of the Begg & Ward text (see syllabus booklet), relate to matters at the
Page 1 of 3
heart of the current Irish business environment, as evidenced by the ubiquity of these topics in media reporting. To draw attention to, and encourage the study of, these newer sections of the syllabus, they will be examined on the 2009 exam papers as either full or partial questions. This replicates the approach that was adopted, in relation to the setting of papers, when the Economics & Business Environment syllabus was updated to incorporate the entry of Ireland into the newly created Euro zone. It is revealing to record that one of the candidates who chose this question earned 19 out of the 20 marks allocated to the question. Other than this candidate, the question was chosen by weaker candidates, presumably on the basis that it was the least unattractive choice rather than in response to a positive impulse. Q.4. Section (a) of this question was answered particularly well. Many of the answers to section to section (b) were extremely good. Where weakness was shown it tended to be that candidates did not see the effects on some of the objectives of national economic policy. Q.5. This was the second most popular choice of question. The answers to section (a) were of a high standard. In terms of sections (b) & (c) there tended to variability in the quality of the answering and hence in the range of marks earned. Obviously there were some very good answers but others, while seeing dimensions of the answer, did not see the extensiveness of the impact. . Format of the Examination Papers for 2009. The format of the examination papers for 2009 will be unchanged from the format that applied in 2008. Educational Focus of Examination Papers in 2009. The exam questions are conceived and set in a manner which seeks to promote the objectives of the syllabus. Where appropriate questions are set in the context of the general business environment and seek to reflect the nature of the Irish economy.
Page 2 of 3
Nature of Questions. Question 1 Seeks to test an understanding of basic concepts and by its nature this question lends itself to being answered more or less directly from whatever textbook is being used. This question also provides a vehicle for including parts of the syllabus which it would be otherwise difficult to include. This question has a role in emphasising the relevancy of the entire syllabus as printed and also in ensuring a continuity and pattern in the examination papers presented, The role of this question also ensures that students have an opportunity to display the results of their study rather than feel that any shortcomings in their efforts were due to the particular selection of questions set. Invariably there is at least one question which seeks knowledge of some aspect of microeconomics/the firm and usually this information is sought in the context of a problem or decision making within the ambit of the accountancy function. Since we are now member of the European Union and the Euro zone this has implications for decision-making which affects the Irish economy it would be remiss not to include a question (or part thereof) testing knowledge of European economic/financial institutions and the manner of their influence on the Irish economy. To facilitate the teaching of this aspect of the syllabus some addition support literature for lecturers has been available for some time from the offices of the Institute. The macro section of the syllabus will be represented by at least one question and where possible this question will reflect some current area of national interest and attention. As already mentioned earlier in this briefing, there will be a question or part(s) of a question on the newer element of the syllabus though an effort will be made to exam this section at a general level while this element of the subject is bedding down. See note above regarding Q.3. In the section headed ‘answering of individual questions’.
Page 3 of 3