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The Best IB Economics Notes and Study Guide for SL/HL

Posted by Dora Seigel | Mar 22, 2020 10:00:00 AM

International Baccalaureate (IB)



Are you taking IB Economics but feel you aren't learning enough from your class alone? Maybe you need more explanation of certain economics topics? If you need some help in your IB Economics SL/HL class, this study guide is for you. I've gathered all of the best free IB Economics study guides and notes into one useful article. This IB Economics study guide is organized according to the IB Economics Syllabus.




2020 IB Economics Exam Cancelled Due to COVID-19

Because of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, all IB exams for May 2020 have been canceled and coursework deadlines have been extended for schools that have closed. (Yep, that includes the IB Econ SL/HL exams, too.) Stay up to date with the latest information on what this means for IB diplomas, course credit for IB classes, and more with our IB COVID-19 FAQ article.


How to Use These IB Economics Notes and Study Guide

If you are looking for help with one topic, use the Command + F function on your keyboard to search this article for that topic. For instance, if you want to learn more about Markets, use Command + F to bring up the search function. Type in "Markets"” and it'll bring up all of the study materials for Markets.

I separated the resources into:

  • Quick reference: one-page summary of material if you just need a quick refresher.
  • Longer notes: notes (generally 3-10 pages) if you need more of an in-depth explanation.


How Should You Use This Article During the School Year?

If there are any subjects that you feel you don't completely understand after learning them in class, use these notes to review them and fill any knowledge gaps. You should also use these notes to regularly review past topics you covered in class to be sure you don't forget earlier topics and have to cram right before the exam.

To score well on the IB Economics exam, you should be studying and reviewing the topics you cover in class throughout the year. This will help you cement this information in your mind so you're not struggling for answers on test days.

In addition to these notes, you should also take several practice tests. This will help you test your knowledge and get a better idea of how well you'll score on test day. Find IB Economics HL and IB Economics SL past papers, Free and Official, in our other article.


Common Study Mistakes for IB Economics SL/HL

It's important to avoid falling behind in IB Economics SL/HL; there's just too much material to learn easily if you get significantly behind. You need to master the topics during the school year to ace your IB Economics papers. Some common mistakes are:

  • Avoiding topics you don't understand in class. If you didn't learn it in class, you need to look for help elsewhere whether through this IB Economics study guide or tutoring.
  • Waiting to study until a week or two before the papers. There are a lot of concepts to master. A week or two is not enough time to learn them all (that is why IB Economics is taught over 1 to 2 years). Learn the topics as you're supposed to learn them in class. Use this study guide if you need extra help.


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Section 1: Microeconomics

1.1 Competitive markets: demand and supply (some topics HL only)

1.2 Elasticity

1.3 Government intervention (some topics HL extension, plus one topic HL only)

1.4 Market failure (some topics HL only)

1.5 Theory of the firm and market structures (HL only)


Section 2: Macroeconomics

2.1 The level of overall economic activity (one topic HL extension)

2.2 Aggregate demand and aggregate supply (one topic HL only)

2.3 Macroeconomic objectives (some topics HL extension, plus one topic HL only)

2.4 Fiscal policy

2.5 Monetary policy

2.6 Supply-side policies


Section 3: International Economics

3.1 International trade (one topic HL extension, plus one topic HL only)

3.2 Exchange rates (some topics HL extension)

3.3 The balance of payments (one topic HL extension, plus some topics HL only)

3.4 Economic integration (one topic HL extension)

3.5 Terms of trade (HL only)


Section 4: Development Economics

4.1 Economic development

4.2 Measuring development

4.3 The role of domestic factors

4.4 The role of international trade (one topic HL extension)

4.5 The role of foreign direct investment (FDI)

4.6 The roles of foreign aid and multilateral development assistance

4.7 The role of international debt

4.8 The balance between markets and intervention


What's Next?

Learn more about IB Economics:

Want some more IB Economics study materials? Check out our guide to every IB Economics past paper available, including free and official papers.

Looking for more info on what IB Economics covers? Read our complete guide to the IB Economics syllabus to learn every topic that will be covered in the course.

Wondering which other IB classes you can take? Take a look at the complete list of IB courses to see what your options are.


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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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