International GCSE Economics: assessment support

14 October 2022

The purpose of this page is to help you understand our assessment of International GCSE Economics.

The section headed 'Support' includes links which take you to past papers and mark schemes, to examWizard where you can build your own papers, to a recorded feedback event, and to exemplar answers.

The Examiners' Reports section includes advice from the senior examiners on how to respond to each of the command verbs used in the excams.

The last section provides you with the grade boundaries and statistics from past exam series.

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You may also be interested in a sister page which tries to support your delivery of the qualification.

Support

Past question papers, mark schemes and examiners' reports are available on the qualification page.

These are kept locked for the first nine months after an examination series and you will require an Edexcel Online username and password to gain access.

'R' papers

You may have noticed that the list of exam materials for June 2019 includes two sets of papers. For example there is a Paper 1 and there is also a Paper 1R. 'R' papers are produced for different time zones.

What this means is that you have an extra set of past exam papers you can use for mocks!

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Our examWizard tool is an online resource containing a huge bank of past paper questions and support materials to help you create your own mock exams and assessments. It is available for a range of GCSE, International GCSE, A level subjects, BTEC and Functional Skills.

Feedback on the summer 2019 exam series is available as a pre-recorded training session.

To help you understand each of the command words, we have some exemplar candidate responses to the Sample Assessment Materials on the qualification page.  The accompanying commentary to each question has been written by a senior examiner.

In addition we have some exemplars taken from the 2019 papers, also with examiner commentaries.

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ResultsPlus is an online results analysis tool that gives you a detailed breakdown of your students’ performance in Pearson Edexcel exams.

ResultsPlus provides detailed analysis of your learners' performance and will help you to identify potential topics, skills and types of questions where students may need to develop their learning further. Whilst there hasn’t been a typical examination series for a while, you may find it helpful to understand how your students’ performance compares with class and Pearson Edexcel national averages and to gather some insight data that may support effective teaching and learning approaches. Find out more about ResultsPlus.

Many centres will be focused on delivering mock exams this term and using those mock exam results to inform intervention and revision. The ResultsPlus Mock analysis service can help you get the most from that data.  

Examiners' reports

Examiners' reports are a useful way of understanding the standard that has been applied. You can see exemplar student answers to each question, with examiner comments and tips. Combining a reading of the examiners' reports with the mark schemes can provide useful insights.

There are extracts from the examiners' reports as they relate to the different command verbs below:

There is only one mark available for 'state' questions. Examiners do not expect candidates to write extensively.

When only one disadvantage is asked for, stating two or three will not result in extra marks but may reduce time available to answer other questions.

You do not need to fully explain your answer for the State question so do not waste time doing this.
 

'Define' questions are only looking for a definition of the term, no further detail is needed. A 'define' question does not require examples.

There are no marks for examples.

Candidates will not receive the mark for providing only an example.
 

'What is meant by' questions have two marks and require two parts in the explanation of the term. No marks are awarded for examples.

Candidates should practise precise definitions with two parts as these will always score highly.

Candidates should ensure that their answer does have enough development to gain both marks.
 

There are no marks for definitions with 'describe' questions.

For 'describe' questions, only one mark can be given for a reason/way/advantage and the second mark is for development.

Only one reason/advantage/way/factor etc. is required for one mark.
The second mark can only come for development of this and not for a list of reasons etc.

There will be a wide range of possible reasons available to choose from so candidates should make sure to select a reason that they are able to fully explain.
 

There are no marks for stating a formula in 'calculate' questions.

All calculation questions will require the answer given to two decimal places not 1 decimal place.

The correct answer will score 2 marks but it is always better to show workings.

Always show workings because an incorrect answer may still result in one mark if the workings are correct.

Calculate questions require appropriate units to be used in the response. Some candidates receive only one mark for the correct calculation of total costs but not for the final answer if for example a $, £, etc sign is missing.

Units are an important part of the answer so make sure you use the right ones (or none if appropriate, such as when calculating elasticity). Do not ignore the minus sign when calculating elasticity

If the figure is a negative you must ALWAYS show the minus sign, including in the calculation.

Marks are not awarded if the percentage sign is required but missing.
 

1. Shift in a curve and label
2. Label the new equilibrium price
3. Label the new equilibrium quantity

You must label the shift and the new equilibrium price/quantity on the axes to gain all three marks.

Always label the new curve otherwise you cannot be awarded the mark.

Clearly label the new price and quantity on the x and y-axis to gain these marks. Do not use arrows as these do not count and will not be rewarded.

Do not use arrows to indicate the shift and there must be a new labelled curve. Make sure the new price and quantity are labelled on the x and y-axis. You will only be asked to move one curve so do not shift multiple curves.

Shifting both the demand and the supply curves results in 0 marks. You will only be required to shift one curve.
 

No marks are available for definitions on the Explain questions.

Do not define key terms and try to identify the impact at the start of your response and then develop the reasons why this is the case afterwards.

'Explain' questions require a way/advantage/reason which is in context and developed in order to score all three marks. Only one mark is available for the disadvantage/advantage/way/reason, marks two and three are for putting the response in context and for a cause/consequence of the disadvantage.

There is one AO2 mark for ‘explain’ questions, meaning that the answer needs to be put in context in order to receive full marks. Make sure your response is in context and relates to the information given in the stem and question. Generic responses will receive a maximum of 2 marks. It is only possible to gain context and development marks if a disadvantage (or reason/way/advantage etc) is given.

Only one effect/reason/way can be credited. A second mark is available for putting the response in context and a third for developing the response.
Try to avoid repeating the question as there are no marks for doing this and it uses valuable time that could be spent answering other questions.
 

Analyse questions are marked holistically. This means that the quality of the response is more important than the number of impacts/benefits etc given.

There is no set number of points required on any levels-based question, but each point made needs to be developed to move up through the levels.  A response with one really detailed impact/benefit etc could score all 6 marks whereas a response that lists a series of benefits might only score 1 or 2 marks depending on the quality.

'Analyse' questions require a one-sided argument. There are no marks for evaluation.

Do not present a counter argument as there are no 'AO4' marks. It will therefore leave less time to answer other questions on the paper.

Focus on developing applied points to present a strong analysis of the situation, rather than listing numerous points as this will not lead to the 'thorough analysis of issues' required for level 3 responses.

So:

  • One-sided arguments only are needed for 'analyse' questions.
  • Focus on developing applied points to present a strong analysis of the situation.
  • Focus on developing each applied chain of reasoning, rather than listing several separate points.


The following examiners’ reports include examples of candidate answers which scored full marks:

  • May 2022 Paper 1
  • May 2022 Paper 1R
  • May 2022 Paper 2
  • May 2022 Paper 2R
     

'Assess' questions require a balanced, two-sided argument which is applied to the data presented.

There is no requirement for a conclusion or judgement, but the analysis and evaluation should be developed, thorough and applied throughout the response.

Simply copying the extract and chunks will not to lead to high marks. To achieve a high mark, evidence needs to be used.

High level arguments need to use the evidence, rather than repeat it, to present arguments that are applied to the question. If there is data available in graphs and charts it should be used to help contextualise the response.

For evaluation, always evaluate the economic concept in the question first BEFORE considering alternative methods otherwise you are not really evaluating.

The following examiners’ reports include examples of candidate answers which scored full marks:

  • May 2022 Paper 1
  • May 2022 Paper 1R
  • May 2022 Paper 2R
     

This question has the most marks on the examination paper and always discriminates between the candidates who can accurately use economic concepts to evaluate a course of action and those that approach the question from a 'common sense' approach and simply copy out the extract.

The command word 'evaluate' requires a two-sided argument in order to achieve full marks. The 'evaluate' question also requires a judgement/conclusion.

For the conclusion, do not just repeat earlier points but consider what it depends on or how effective a course of action will be.

There are more than enough lines for a response to achieve full marks and it is quality of the evaluation not quantity, that is necessary to achieve Level 3.

A supported judgement or conclusion is required for top, level 3 responses in 'evaluate' questions.


The following examiners’ reports include examples of candidate answers which scored full marks:

  • May 2022 Paper 1
  • May 2022 Paper 1R
  • May 2022 Paper 2R
     

Quantitative Skills will be tested throughout the paper. These may be in the form of diagrams/graphs, calculations or using the data in the extracts, to provide the application in the questions.

Quantitative skills will be assessed in both Paper 1 and Paper 2, totalling 10% of the marks available for the qualification. Questions involving quantitative skills will always be in context.

The quantitative skills to be assessed are listed in Appendix 3 of the specification.

Application marks will not be awarded simply for repeating evidence in the extracts. The evidence needs to be used in the response

Application can either be the:
• use of the data in the question or
• application of the economic concepts

The use of relevant evidence is required throughout and this can be from the extracts provided or using examples provided by the candidates themselves. The extracts are there for a reason: please use them.

Grade boundaries and statistics

Grade boundaries

A grade boundary is the minimum mark at which a numbered grade (between 9 and 1) can be achieved.

International GCSE (9-1) qualifications are linear, and only the maximum mark and grade boundaries for the overall qualification are available in this table. These are given in raw marks.

Notional grade boundaries

Paper 1 and Paper 2 each have a raw mark out of 80. Grade boundaries are set at qualification level (adding together the raw marks for Papers 1 and 2) and not for each paper. However for teachers, the notional component grade boundaries can be a useful indicator of performance when papers are used in the future for mocks.

Grade statistics

Grade statistics are reported separately for UK and overseas centres. They show:

  • the total number of candidates
  • the cumulative percentage of candidates at each grade boundary as a percentage of the total cohort
    Max Mark 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 U
May 2019 4EC1 160 108 99 90 82 75 68 57 46 36 0
May 2019 4EC1R 160 106 98 90 83 76 70 58 47 36 0
Jan 2020 4EC1 160 111 99 88 80 73 66 55 45 35 0
Jan 2020 4EC1R 160 110 100 90 83 77 71 59 47 35 0
Nov 2020 4EC1 160 97 84 72 59 46 34 30 34 23 0
Nov 2020 4EC1R 160 98 90 82 71 61 51 42 26 26 0
Nov 2021 4EC1 160 92 80 68 57 46 35 28 22 16 0
May 2022 4EC1 160 107 95 84 74 64 55 46 37 28 0
May 2022 4EC1R 160 115 102 90 78 66 54 41 28 16 0
    Max Mark 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 U
May 2019 Paper 1 80 54
49
45
41
37
34
29
24
19
0
Paper 1R 80 54 49 45 42 39 36 30 25 20 0
Jan 2020 Paper 1 80 55 49 44 40 37 34 28 23 18 0
Paper 1R 80 57 51 46 42 39 36 30 24 18 0
Nov 2020 Paper 1 80 49 42 36 29 23 17 15 13 12
0
Paper 1R 80 49 45 41 36 31 26 22 18 14 0
Nov 2021 Paper 1 80 46 40 34 28 22 17 14 11 8 0
May 2022 Paper 1 80 55 49 43 38 33 28 23 18 14 0
Paper 1R 80 56 50 44 37 31 25 19 13 8 0
    Max Mark 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 U
 May 2019 Paper 2 80 54
49
45
41
37
34
28
22
17
0
Paper 2R 80 54 49 45 41 37 34 28 22 16 0
 Jan 2020 Paper 2 80 55 49 44 40 36 32 27 22 17 0
Paper 2R 80 59 49 44 41 38 35 29 23 17 0
 Nov 2020 Paper 2 80 48
42
36
29
23
17
15
13
11
0
Paper 2R 80 49 45 41 35 30 25 20 16 12 0
Nov 2021 Paper 2 80 46 40 34 28 23 18 14 11 8 0
May 2022 Paper 2 80 52 46 41 36 31 27 22 18 14 0
Paper 2R 80 59 52 46 40 34 29 22 15 8 0
4EC1 Number of candidates 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 U
May 2019 5469
10%
21.3%
35.5%
48.5%
58.8%
68.1%
79.3%
87.1%
92.5%
100%
Jan 2020 477 4.2% 10.5% 20.1% 29.8% 38.8% 46.5% 64.2% 75.7% 87.8% 100%
May 2020 4908 23.4% 41.2% 58.1% 71.5% 82.1% 89.6% 94.6% 97% 98.4% 100%
Nov 2020 727 16.2% 28.1% 41% 55.3% 69.1% 79.8% 82.5% 87.3% 89.5% 100%
May 2021 6149 31% 49.3% 65.8% 77.2% 85.8% 91.6% 94.9% 96.6% 98% 100%
Nov 2021 541 24.4% 39% 56% 67.5% 75.8% 86.5% 90.6% 93.7% 96.3% 100%
May 2022 6429 18.9% 35.4% 50.1% 62% 72.5% 80.5% 86.3% 91.1% 95.1% 100%
4EC1 Number of candidates 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 U
May 2019 530
17%
34.7%
57%
71.1%
79.8%
85.3%
91.9%
95.5%
97.7%
100%
Jan 2020 16
0% 12.5% 12.5% 25% 31.3% 37.5% 56.3% 68.8% 81.3% 100%
May 2020 564 28% 50.9% 71.5% 85.8% 92.2% 98.2% 99.6% 99.8% 99.8% 100%
Nov 2020 15
46.7% 66.7% 86.7% 86.7% 93.3% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
May 2021 570 41.2% 60% 75.1% 86.3% 91.9% 96% 97.7% 99.1% 99.6% 100%
Nov 2021 12 25% 50% 58.3% 75% 83.3% 100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
May 2022 591 33.3% 55.2% 69.7% 81.7% 89.2% 92.6% 95.6% 97.5% 98.6% 100%
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