Hey, I'm Zhong, a first-year student studying a double degree of Commerce and Law at UNSW and currently interning as a financial planning cadet. In 2019 I graduated from North Sydney Boys, where I studied Economics and Modern History along with Maths and English. I’m part of Echo’s Strategy Team, which involves organising interviews with leading industry partners and recent graduates to provide a more holistic view on pathways into the commerce industry. 

Why did you study economics and how did you study for it?

I decided to study Economics as I was interested in what the Commerce cohort was studying in Year 9 and 10, and of particular note was the ASX ShareMarket Game which seemed really engaging and captivating. Economics was also a well scaling subject and I was encouraged to select it as an HSC course and see how I do in it.

In regards to studying, the most important thing is to maintain a consistent study schedule and to keep yourself accountable. I allocated roughly five hours per week for Economics, whether it would be making notes, completing homework tasks or preparing essay scaffolds. It’s critical to plan out what a typical week would entail and make sure you use study apps like Forest or SelfControl to make sure you don’t slack off. With no distractions, it is so much easier to absorb yourself in the content which will make it easier for you to consolidate your understanding. 

Some schools like North Sydney Boys taught Economics in a different topic order. How did this affect you?

The biggest concern was that we did not have sufficient materials which may put us at a disadvantage; our assessments were completely different i.e. we never had to complete a China Case Study essay unlike other schools. Always ask your teachers for clarification of what to expect in your upcoming assessments and to prepare accordingly for them. I was fortunate enough to have a very supportive teacher who would always be transparent with us, and made sure any content gaps or concerns were addressed. 

Final tips for Year 12 students?

1. Form Study Groups. It is so important to have a network of friends willing to do essay or short answer scaffolds, not only do you bounce ideas off each other but you also learn more from teaching others. 

2. Use the Syllabus. When revising, print the syllabus and ask yourself if you can explain every subpoint to someone. Use mnemonics to help memorise. 

3. Short Answers Importance. Short answers make up 40% of the exam, which is the same weighting as both essays - so don’t neglect it. 

4. Underline Short answers/keywords. This saves markers heaps of time when you underline keywords in Short Answer responses - explicitly showing that you have addressed a certain point. It also doesn’t hurt to underline or circle important components of the question i.e. ‘Assess’ or ‘effects of fluctuations in exchange rates’ so that you directly respond to the question and use relevant examples.

Stay Informed. Keep up to date with the news around you - RBA Chart Pack, The Economist, AFR and Echo are great resources to look out for.