Answering IB-style Questions

The commentaries and final examinations for IB economics require you to really only do 3 things – define, analyse with the help of diagrams, and evaluate. As well, the new HL paper 3 asks students to perform some quantitative tasks but these seem to be fairly straightforward. At the bottom of this page you will find some model answers to IB and IB-style questions.

Definitions are

14 Responses to Answering IB-style Questions

  1. Zelia Pereira says:

    What would be most useful are worked examples (questions and answers) for the quantitative Higher Level Paper 3

    • Administrator says:

      The book itself contains a number of paper 3 type questions, the worked solutions for which are in the solutions key that is sent as a PDF file to teachers who have ordered the book. If you would like to order a copy of the book, I am having some sent out in a week or so from Oman, and another (last) batch is being sent from there at the end of November. I look forward to hearing from you by email.

  2. Adam Ashton says:

    I purchased your book at a recent training session in Dubai. It is a very useful resource. Would I be able to receive the PDF answer key? Many thanks!

  3. Vineet says:

    Dear Mr. Bryce,

    My son is in Economics SL. He knows content but is having difficulty in finding how to answer the questions.

    I need some more information on the book to understand how will it help my son. Can I receive the book and answer key online. I can pay online.

    Best Regards,

    • Administrator says:

      Dear Vineet,
      Thank you for your message. I will send you an email with more information in a moment.

  4. reema gambhir says:

    I have a query in IA. When we select an article is it compulsory that the article should focus on a problem and also mention a solution. Is it okay if we give our own policy solution which is not mentioned in the article.

    I will be grateful if you solve my query.

    Thanks and Regards,

    • Administrator says:

      Dear Reema,

      Apologies for not getting back to you sooner. To answer your question, it is not compulsory for the articles to mention solutions, but it helps a great deal in evaluation if a solution is proposed in the article, as you can then evaluate it. If an article just outlines a problem, your evaluation will be on firmer ground if it just evaluates the impact of the problem on various stakeholders. Generally, commentaries should comment on the article, so I have always advised my students to avoid evaluating aspects that they themselves may have introduced.

      All this said, these are just my preferences. Perhaps opening up a thread on the OCC would be more enlightening – I myself would be interested to see Manuel’s take on your question.

      Thank you,


  5. Naeim MAHDAVI says:

    Hi Bryce,

    I don’t see the answer key to the sample questions above. In your new book, do you have sample questions with appropriate level 4 answers? Thanks

    • Administrator says:

      Dear Naeim,

      You should see model answers to some of the questions above, but no answer keys. In general, as there are many examples from past IB examination papers of extended response and data response questions and mark schemes floating around, I did not put such questions in my book. However, in light of the relative newness of the quantitative HL Paper 3, the new book does feature an abundance of Paper 3-style questions, the worked solutions for which are in the teachers’ guide.

      All the best,

  6. T.J. Luttrell says:


    I am a new teacher to IB and have yet to go to any training for IB economics, but taught economics in the U.S. I am working through my first set of exams and the difficulties of mark schemes and grade descriptors. My question is on writing explain and evaluation questions. In an explain or evaluate response what is the best way for my students to avoid being descriptive rather than forming responses with analysis and or evaluation.

    Thank you!


    • Administrator says:

      Hi Thomas,

      I just spent a fair bit of time composing a response and then I hit the ‘tab’ key and all was lost…

      Anyway, to sum up, have a look at the “Completing Internal Assessment” page as I have a planning sheet and a model commentary there (“Inaction on $100 oil likely to backfire) that many teachers and students have found useful. The thing is, evaluation is evaluation, whether it is for a commentary of for an exam.

      To avoid being descriptive, it is good if students have a mental checklist – short run and long run, positive and negative, and the actors/agents involved (consumers, producers, government), and then make sure to look into the impacts touching on all of these variables in an organized fashion.

      All the best,

  7. Irtaza Zafar says:

    Dear Bryce,

    I am a Economics HL student and I’m facing great difficulties with the diagrams which is really worrying as diagrams are really crucial in the exams. Any advice on what to do?

    Thank you!


    • Administrator says:

      Dear Irtaza,

      Are you at a school that is using my book? If so, you have had some practice. That said, if you want extra practice, you need to simply make a list of all the diagrams learned in the course and then just take time reproducing them accurately, making sure to label them correctly while doing so. You are correct – if you have your diagrams and your definitions down cold, you will find analysis and evaluation much more straightforward.

      All the best,


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