Author: Benji Huang, BCom 2017
Year course taken: Winter of 2013
Final mark obtained: 100
For most of you this will be the first Econ course you will take. To do well, you will have to master new ways of studying that might differ a lot from what you have been accustomed to in high school. The following are a 3 simple tips that will get you well on your way to acing this course.
Don’t fall behind:
Like most other introductory courses you are expected to learn from the ground up in econ 101. Your professors will hold your hands for the first few of weeks during which the fundamentals are taught. These concepts will be simple. Consequently students will drop their guard, a pitfall that cost my friends dearly during their first midterm. Kid yourself not, the pace will pick up quickly. Without a solid understanding of the fundamentals, you will inevitably get lost when more difficult materials are covered later on. Nonetheless, if you exert a consistent effort from day one, the course will be very manageable.
Internalize the graphs:
Econ 101 is all about the graphs. Of course you can also memorize econ theories the way you memorize dates in history courses, but doing that will not help you when the professors get creative with exam questions (trust me they will). The only sure-fire way is to internalize the graphs. The graphs will help you reason your way through any question (multiple choice, short answer, long answer, calculation). It might sound hard, but if you ever get to see how people without proper knowledge of graphs suffer during their econ exams, you will know you have made the right choice.
Practice practice practice:
There is really no secret to doing well in Econ. When I took my econ 101, the final grade was calculated based entirely on two midterms and a final. The best way was to practice. My professor was Alfred (Wai-Ching) Kong, though most Econ 101 professors’ exams are similar in style save for Professor Robert Gateman’s. In short, leverage all the connections you have and get your hands on as many copies of past exams or sample exams as you can. Work through them as if you were actually in an exam setting. Find yourself a quiet place, set the alarm clock, put away the books and dive in. Whenever you run into something you don’t know, try to work it without looking you your notes (hint: draw a graph). Did I ever mention professors love recycling past exam questions? Maybe the question you get will not be exactly the same, but it might be uncannily similar.
Best of luck!