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Tips for a 10 mark response on Paper 2

There are several different different ways of organizing your thoughts in a 10 mark essay for Paper 2, and there is no one standard way that examiners look for or that works best for all students. The most important things to remember are to understand the command term and to provide a balanced evaluation that directly uses both the case study ("stimulus material," as the IB calls it) as well as IB Business Management course content.  Regardless of the command term that is used (such as evaluate, recomend, or discuss), for any 10 mark question you must still show strong analytical and evaluative skills.  Check out the revision checklist for an example of what I give students for use in peer/self review of their responses on 10 mark questions. My students have generally found the checklist quite useful regardless of which technique they are using to answer the question. Download my essay checklist in Word or pdf formats here, or see template on the Essay Checklist page.




A few essay structures










PEEL  - explained here




     Link back to essay question



PEA  - this is what I tend to give students, though you still end up working in the same kinds of elements listed in the DEADER method.


As a simple way of organizing the major points in each paragraph, I like to give my students what I call the PEA structure, which is really just a derivative of the PEEL structure.

P- Point

E- Evidence

A- Analysis



Main discussion point of the paragraph



Links to the case study that tie into this.  When possible, these should be aspects directly derived from something specific in the case study.  There are also typically aspects that can reasonably be implied from the case study, or aspects that are possibilities that arise from the case study, ie, "X is stated in the case study, which could lead to Y."



Use of business management content/theory and critical thinking to show why the above point is important to consider, or why it matters in the context of what is presented in the case study.



Example of the PEA technique applied to an essay question 


Assume that on a Paper 2 of the IB exam, you get a 10 mark question that says, “Discuss whether the company should continue producing X.”  In order to get 10 marks, you will need to evaluate at least two reasons for continuing production of X, and two reasons against, and come to a conclusion that flows directly from your analysis in the body of the essay.  In supporting your answer, you must work in business management course content as well as references to the case study.  So the structure of your answer might look like this, if you want to argue that they should stop production of product X.


Paragraph 1 - In favor of continuing production of product X

Point: Product X still represents a revenue stream for the company


Evidence: Reference the case study where it points out the sales figures or something about the profitability of the product in the short term


Analysis: Revenue may be declining and in the long term they may need to replace the product, but in the short term it is still a viable product that could give them positive cash flow to fund R&D or promotions of some other product or venture for the long term.


Paragraph 2 - Against continuing production of product X

Point: Product X has declining sales and market share 


Evidence: Reference the case study where it says something about the market changing and/or Product X starting not doing as well anymore


Analysis: Even if the product still generates some profits, the market is shifting and it will not be long before Product X will be obsolete or no longer worth pouring resources into.


Paragraph 3 - In favor of continuing production of product X

Point: Continuing Product X is simpler and cheaper, because it requires little time and money on promotional strategies, and staff are already trained to produce it.


Evidence: Reference the case study mentioning customer awareness and/or staffing issues


Analysis: Launching a new product would require a large sum of money in promotion in addition to the R&D, whereas continuing Product X already has strong customer awareness.  Additionally, employees would need retraining for production of a different product.


Paragraph 4 - Against continuing production of Product X

Point: Continuing Product X would make it harder for the company to project an updated brand image that customers associate with innovation and quality


Evidence: Reference the case study mentioning the changes in the market and the future developments that are anticipated.


Analysis: It’s not just a declining market share that the company faces, but a future in which other product types will grow at the expense of Product X.  Failing to make this shift could have dire consequences in the long term finances and brand image of the company.



While Product X may generate solid revenue streams at the present and not require much in terms of promotional efforts, the market is shifting and the company would be much better positioned in the long term if it invested in the R&D and/or production of something else mentioned in the case study or implied by the case study.  Explain in the conclusion which factors were most compelling in favor of shifting away from Product X, and why they outweighed the benefits of continuing its production.

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