Step Four – Including Diagrams.

IB Economics.

Diagrams are essential to economics. When you draw a diagram to explain or illustrate an economics situation, you are demonstrating your ‘ application’ skills – applying the theory we learn in class to explain or illustrate an economic situation. If you want top marks for your coursework, your diagram have to be excellent.

The following are a list of rules to follow:-

1)  Diagrams should be large –  around one-third of a page in size.

2)     Always label the axes appropriately – eg  “Price of Cars” , not just “Price”  and “Quantity of Oil (Barrels per Year) ” not just “Quantity”.

3)    Indicate the equilibrium points with dotted lines to the axes, with notation on the axes such as Q1 to Q2 or AD1 to AD2

4)   You must use ARROWS to show the direction of any change i.e. a shift in a curve, an increase or decrease in price.

5)    Do not confuse Macro and Microeconomics in your labeling! Eg it is ” Price” in Microeconomics and  “Price Level” in Macroeconomics.

6)    Most of your diagrams should be dynamic not static (i.e. they are illustrating some process of economic change). In other words curves must shift, prices change etc.

7)  Do not BEGIN or END your commentary with a diagram. They must be located in the main body of the commentary.

8)  Always explain and describe your diagrams, with explanations / descriptions coming AFTER the diagram. You must refer to specific lines and points AND you must use the diagram labels!

9)  Label your diagrams “Diagram 1”, “Diagram 2” or “Figure 1”, “Figure 2” etc so that you can easily refer to them in your analysis.

Here is an example of an excellent diagram with a good explanation:-



Author: Mark

I was born in a developing country in Africa (Malawi), and have spent over 15 years living and working outside the UK as a teacher in international schools. I currently live and work in beautiful Brazil, the land of bright sunshine, amazing tropical beaches, dazzling football, eye-wateringly strong caipirinhas, and the sensual rhythm of samba.

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