how to write a first-class economics essay?

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Report Thread starter 1 year ago
hi everyone! in my 2nd year at a russell group uni studying Economics. i'm sick and tired of getting 65% in my essays. i will be totally honest, i should know this by now but i genuinely have ZERO clue how to write an essay. i want to be able to write an essay and be confident in it.

due to ECs, i have first-sits coming up in the summer (online exams which we'll have a few days to complete) in which i will have to write three 1000 word essays regarding behavioural economics, development economics and monetary economics. i presume that the essay questions will all include me having to draw upon some theory, followed by empirical evidence.

does anyone please have any tips on how to perform well in an essay? are there things i can be doing to raise my chances of getting a first?

according to my university, a 2:1 essay: Good answer showing full understanding of the subject matter allied with perceptive analysis. Highly competent in organisation and presentation. Appropriate and intelligent use of primary and secondary material. Covers the core material and avoids major errors.

a 1:1 essay: Excellent answer. Comprehensive and well presented showing a deep and nuanced understanding of the subject. Very strong analytical input demonstrating intellectual maturity and is perceptive with highly developed organisation. Sophisticated use of primary and secondary material.

but reading these guidelines feels too abstract without context. what are some tangible examples of things i should be doing to hit the 70%+ mark? thank you very much for any help. it would be greatly appreciated. i am really keen to improve my essay writing skills. i was also wondering if there were any places where i could read highly ranked university level economics essays, so i could try and decompose first-hand what i should be doing differently. thank you.
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Report 1 year ago
Hello, I have gotten 1st in my essays and I just graduated. I found like you i was hitting a brick wall with my essays, so i just went to the lecturer and asked what they wanted from the answer then as soon as possible i would get a draft and see them. I wouldn't show them the draft but i would bring it and talk through heres what i put in intro, body and ending. As your at home i suggest scheduling and doing this over Zoom or some other video software
Put in plenty of references
1,000 words is not a lot, so don't waffle, get someone to reread over it for you to check that it flows well, i always read mine to my parents helped to check the flow. Check what the teachers want, and as they will have covered the topic in lessons, find that recording and listen to it! This is a big point teachers love to hear themselves and plus they can't make you down for writing what they say, just expand upon it. Emperical evidence really depends on what the question is asking, just including lots of journals. I would often go over the top when it came to references, for one of my topics i did over 30 for 2000 words as I wanted to be sure i covered everything.
Search for AEA (American economic association) there papers are very easy to understand are often have minimal maths, i always check there, and also Google Scholar.
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Researching helped a lot. Once I had a basic plan from my uni notes, I just googled basic ideas, found good articles, and often they led onto further articles through the references. I had 100 unique references for my 2000 word economic essay. Pretty difficult not to be well informed and critical when you've read so much! Most importantly, actually answering the question properly. I aimed to use words from the Q etc, at the end of each section / point etc, which makes it clear to whoever reads it, and to myself.
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