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Every IB Economics Past Paper Available: Free and Official

Posted by Dora Seigel | Apr 28, 2019 10:50:00 AM

International Baccalaureate (IB)



Taking the IB Economics exam will be nerve-wracking no matter what. However, taking practice tests with past papers beforehand will be a huge advantage since you'll know the test format and be used to the length and style of the test. In this guide, I will familiarize you with the IB Economics test format and let you know where to find past papers, both free and paid. I'll also give you tips on how best to use these IB Economics past papers for your preparation. 


Where to Find Free IB Economics Past Papers

Disclaimer: These free past papers should be used at your own risk as they were not put online by the IBO. 

NOTE: While I included links to all of the IB Economics past papers I found from 2009 to present, I only recommend using the papers from 2011 to present for your practice. Since there have been syllabus changes since 2011, older papers will most likely be too different from the current IB Economics papers to be useful.


IB Economics SL 


IB Economic HL

These links include access to the papers and the mark schemes (aka answer keys) from 2009 to 2011 for IB Economics SL and 2011 to 2015 for IB Economics HL.

I haven’t located any unofficial IB Economics past papers (ones created by people other than the IBO). If you find any, don’t use them! They will probably be very different from the real IB Economics exam and will not be helpful for your preparation.


Where to Find Paid IB Economics Tests

You can find official IB Economics study resources, including practice questions, on the IB Follett online store. For whatever reason, it's not the easiest site to navigate, but if you search "IB Economics" you'll be able to browse the various study resources available.


Do not spend this much!


3 Tips to Use IB Economics Past Papers Effectively

Each full IB Economics practice test will take you three hours for SL or four hours for HL, so you need to be making the most out of each test. Some important tips to remember when you're doing the practice tests:


Tip 1: Take Paper 1 Separately From Paper 2. HL Students, Take Papers 2 and 3 Together

This is how the test is scheduled by the IBO. Don’t take all of the papers back to back. Take Paper 1 one day, and Paper(s) 2 (and 3 for HL) another day. You should be using this real testing schedule so that you feel comfortable and prepared for the real papers.


Tip 2: Time Each Paper Exactly

It's critical that you can handle the timing pressures of this test. The exact time allowed is:

IB Economics SL

  • IB Economics SL Paper 1—1 hour 30 minutes

  • IB Economics SL Paper 2—1 hour 30 minutes

IB Economics HL

  • IB Economics HL Paper 1—1 hour 30 minutes

  • IB Economics HL Paper 2—1 hour 30 minutes

  • IB Economics HL Paper 3—1 hour


In this time frame, you need to finish:

IB Economics SL

  • SL Paper 1: two parts, Section A: answer one of two questions (each question has multiple parts), Section B: answer one of two questions (each question has multiple parts)

  • SL Paper 2: two parts, Section A: answer one of two questions (each question has multiple parts), Section B: answer one of two questions (each question has multiple parts)

IB Economics HL

  • HL Paper 1: answer one of four questions (each question has multiple parts)

  • HL Paper 2: answer three of six questions

  • HL Paper 3: answer three of five questions (each question has multiple parts)

Don't give yourself any extra time in your practice. If you give yourself extra time, you will not figure out your pacing. I want to these practice tests to be realistic predictors of your score.



Mysid / Wikimedia


Tip 3: Check Your Answers!

After you finish a full test (end of Paper 2 for SL or end of Paper 3 for HL), review every mistake. If you skip this, you won’t learn from your mistakes, and you'll keep getting the same questions wrong.

You should spend at least one hour reviewing scoring for the practice test. This is a bit of time, but you should be emphasizing the quality of practice over the quantity of practice. It is better to take two past papers with detailed review than four past papers with no review.


What’s Next?

Learn more about IB Economics:

Learn more about the IB course offerings:


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Dora Seigel
About the Author

As an SAT/ACT tutor, Dora has guided many students to test prep success. She loves watching students succeed and is committed to helping you get there. Dora received a full-tuition merit based scholarship to University of Southern California. She graduated magna cum laude and scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT. She is also passionate about acting, writing, and photography.

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