Changes to May 2021 IB Exams (Economics Edition)

All of the following information is based on the following IB pdf, outlining the changes to the May 2021 examination session due to COVID disruption. This blog post will be updated when the IB releases more information. 

With the many months of stagnated learning due to moving teaching online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the IB decided to change up the May 2021 examination session. In most subjects, the IB has removed or amended parts of the final exams in order to reduce the amount of content that students will need to get through. What does this mean for you as a student? Let’s take a look at what changes the IB has made to IB Economics! 


SL: Paper Two Amended; students answer only one question from either Section A or Section B

HL: Paper Two Amended; students answer only one question from either Section A or Section B

So, what does this mean for you! Well, remember that paper two is the paper that contains International Economics and Development Economics. The normal layout is that you have to answer 1 out of 2 questions on International (Section A) and 1 out of 2 questions on Development (Section B). Now, it seems that you will have the option to choose 1 out of those 4 questions. In other words, you choose if you want to answer a question within International or a question within Development. Many students believe this means that you can/should just completely skip studying either International or Development, as you can always just choose the other option. However, we would recommend against this. 


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As an SL student, if you study both International and Development, you will be able to choose your favourite out of 4 questions, almost guaranteeing you can answer a question you feel comfortable with. If you decide to skip one topic, suddenly you’re limiting your options when it comes to choosing your question on the exam, and you may be stuck with a question you don’t like as much.

As an HL student, either Development or International topics are bound to come up on Paper 3, so skipping either one of these topics is not a smart idea at all! Make sure you still go through each topic, which will guarantee that you can still smash Paper 3 while making Paper 2 easier for yourself!

We’ve gotten many questions from students regarding how the change to Paper 2 will affect the time you get for Paper 2 – “will we get half the time because we only need to answer 1 question, or will we still get the full 90 minutes?”. The IB has not published official information on this yet, so we will update this blog post as soon as we know more, but one can assume that since you’re only expected to answer one question you will be given less time to do the Paper 2!

Let us know if you have any other questions about how the May 2021 examination sessions are affected!

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