Having tutored numerous students as an economics tutor in A level economics since my undergraduate period, I've grown to under the pain points of students who seek economics tuition or economics tutors. The idea of economics is usually quite fuzzy to students first entering junior college as the subject is not only foreign, but requires a mode of analysis that is not immediately intuitive. To make matters worse, school notes are usually very lengthy, and students often fear that they have to remember large chunks of information to truly score in the exam. Hence, many students end up losing interest in the subject, or worse, memorise information without truly understanding them.
Here's a summary of pain points of students:
1. Lengthy school notes - as mentioned, this is due to numerous additions by school teachers who may not be incentivised to conduct a major revamp of the school notes. Therefore, in my economics tuition class, i provide specialised materials which seek to distill the key economic ideas and frameworks in bite-sized, exam-ready paragraphs so students have a structure to build on, when crafting their economic analysis.
2. Too many diagrams - students who are usually fearful of the subject do so because they do not grasp the meaning of the diagrams. In fact, each diagram in economics seek to show the specific effects of an event. Therefore in my economics tuition lessons, I emphasised on well-annotated diagrams, as well as the more important diagrams in the A level economics examination as it is impossible to do a diagrammatic analysis of all the economics points made in the case study or the essay due to the examination time constraint.
3. Framework of Analysis - many students fear writing economics essays because they lack a certain structure or clarity of thought. In other words, their writing is likely to become inconsistent and may vary dramatically. This could result in great loss of marks, because the essay will lack focus and clarity. In my economics tuition discussions, I break down the question types and show students suggested answer frameworks. That way, it helps build a structure in the answering, and hence imbibes confidence in the student's ability to write in a concise, yet rigorous way.
4. Time Management - this is related to the pain point 1, where due to the lengthy school notes, students will attempt to duplicate or replicate large portions of the school notes, thinking that it will help them score in the A level economics exam. Unfortunately, this is no longer true, as A level economics questions are devised in a way that will allow examiners to sense if the student is replicating a well-rehearsed answer, which will result in a great loss of marks. During my economics tuition sessions, I show students how to study model essays and apply the knowledge in their own terms using different question contexts in past year A level examination and JC examination questions. That way, their answers will show originality of thought, and their interest and understanding of the subject shows through in their writing.
In closing, probably the most satisfying factor being an economics tutor in teaching economics students during my economics tuition interactions, is that they have learnt it not only as a subject for the A levels, but also being able to see that economics is part of everyday life, and next time they buy a house or a car, economics is useful in ascertaining the timing as well as the impact of government policies.