So just how important is knowledge in IGCSE Business Studies?
On this website, we boost your business learning to the next level. More importantly, you will find out how much knowledge you need to be successful. Find quick and fun ways to check your knowledge gaps and revision tips to start improving your grades straight away.
Knowledge: How important is it?
On the face of it, knowledge is weighted at 40% of your total IGCSE. Half of all marks on paper 1 are knowledge, short answer questions are 100% knowledge, and knowledge makes up two marks of longer c,d, and e questions.
However, knowledge is the building blocks or foundation of EVERY answer. Without at least one knowledge point, you can’t access ANY of the other marks for application, analysis, or evaluation. So although technically it’s 40% of your IGCSE. Without knowledge, you can’t even begin to score marks.
You can see this again in paper 2. In the 12 mark questions, there is no explicit score for knowledge. But if you don’t show sound knowledge and understanding you can’t access the higher marks for their answer. If you show limited knowledge and understanding, your maximum mark will be 4 out of 12.
Knowledge: What students need to know
As a minimum, you need to learn all of the key business terms and concepts on the syllabus. Any business term on the syllabus is fair game and could come up as a definition question.
Cambridge does change the syllabus periodically, it was updated again in 2020. In our revision resources, you can find flashcards with the keywords from the latest Cambridge IGCSE syllabus with short definitions. They are categorised by topic, and you can use them for learning, revision, and then testing how much you have learned afterward.
However, learning the key concepts is just the first step. With more complex concepts you may need to know the advantages and disadvantages of each, or in what business situations they are suitable.
Let’s take methods of production in Unit 4 as an example.
The syllabus says you need to know the “Features, benefits, and limitations of job, batch and flow production”. So you know for sure that you need a definition for each of these key terms.
But how many features, benefits, and limitations do you need to know for each?
Well unfortunately there is no definitive answer. As a minimum, two benefits and limitations are recommended for each.
You also may have to be tactical. There is a lot of content to cover in the IGCSE syllabus. It’s much better to learn the main points of the whole syllabus rather than learning absolutely everything in just one unit.
Remember in longer questions the examiner is looking for one advantage and one disadvantage explained in context. Think about quality rather than quantity, what are THE MOST IMPORTANT benefits and limitations.
Often students list the impact on worker motivation as a limitation of flow production. But when you compare that against the huge capital cost and business growth required to move from batch to flow production, worker motivation has much less importance in the business decision.
Finding Knowledge Gaps
The key to successful study is to make sure you are being productive 100% of the time, learning the essential content efficiently and effectively.
You should start by figuring out what you know and what you don’t know. Then you can priorities the part of the syllabus you need to learn.
This could be as simple as setting up a traffic light system. Go through the syllabus and highlight what you feel confident with, what you kind of know but aren’t very confident and find the bits you really don’t know.
Focus on your weakest areas first, as here you will make the biggest gains.
A quick and fun way of finding your knowledge gaps in the knowledge check-up. It’s free to sign up and you will get access to six knowledge quizzes for each part of the course. You can only take them once and they are under timed conditions to get a more realistic assessment.
At the end of each check-up, you will get feedback on how you did and pointers on where to go for improvement. You can also find a record of your results on your account page.