IB Economics Syllabus New Pattern & Changes

Are you confused about the new pattern of the IB Economics paper?
Don’t worry! As we are here to take you to step by step through the new syllabus and marking scheme of the Economics paper.
If you are going to appear in the 2022 IB exam then you will be among the first batch of students who will face the new chapters as well as the new marking scheme.
The syllabus of IB economics was the same for the last 9 years. Though in the past few years there have been few upgrades but this time the 4 units are completely updated with new chapters.



Here we have compiled detailed information on how the pattern has changed for Economics and what are the changes. The motive behind these changes is equally important too because if you wish to master the new syllabus of economics. You must know the main focus of the change. Questions are generally asked from the topics which are at the prime focus of the syllabus. 

 The concept of sustainability is focused largely on the new IB Economics paper. The syllabus includes sustainable development, sustainable developmental goals, and the relation between sustainability and poverty, etc. 

Key Concepts Of The New Pattern 

Every change that occurs is based on some underlying foundations, ideas, concepts, and motive. Similarly, the new pattern has been formed with some base concepts and motive which is targeted to benefit the students.  

The key focus of the new pattern of IB Economics paper is to motivate students to have a conceptual approach to learning. The goal is to develop critical thinking to real world issues, and understanding the importance of sustainability. The new syllabus also aims to encourage students to study topics like poverty, inequality, and other global issues to have in-depth knowledge about it. 

Let’s explore the points of focus in the new pattern of the IB Economics exam. 

Conceptual Approach 

The foundations of the new pattern are based primarily on the nine fundamental key concepts which are seen as the pillars of the new IB Economics syllabus. These nine concepts are targeted to encourage students to understand the basic concepts of economics. They aim to develop critical thinking skills in students towards global issues at hand. The motive behind having a conceptual understanding is to enable students to establish a connection between the topics so that they can apply them in real-life situations.  

The nine key points in conceptual understanding are: 

  • Sustainability 
  • Scarcity 
  • Intervention 
  • Interdependence 
  • Change 
  • Economic Well-being 
  • Equity 
  • Efficiency 
  • Choice 


Role Of Critical Thinking 

Economics enables the students to analyze the subject and apply the learning in practical life. Only understanding the concepts and topics is not enough. The students of economics should be taught in a way that they develop critical thinking and better analytical skills to understand world issues to find a solution. The updated syllabus will help students to develop higher thinking skills. This helps to investigate real-world examples and understand the strategy employed as a solution. 

Economics is a practical subject where the capability of students to utilize the learning and come up with a strategy to tackle the problem is more crucial. The new syllabus of IB economics has been updated keeping in mind this practical aspect of the subject.  


Focus On Sustainability And Global Issues 

This time more focus is on the topics of behavioral economics and sustainability. Priority is given to Global issues concerning the environment, poverty, inequality etc. The topic of sustainability is introduced in the syllabus. This topic continues to show up throughout the entire syllabus. Though this topic has its own separate section but almost every chapter in the syllabus is interlinked to the concept of sustainability.


What students can learn? 

The main motive of the new pattern is to make the learning process of the students better. The benefits that students can derive from this new IB economics syllabus are: 

  • Develop curiosity and self-determination from self-inquiry 
  • A better understanding of the key concepts 
  • Learning in-depth about important topics like sustainability and poverty 
  • A step towards becoming a better global citizen by understanding global issues. 
  • Enhancing critical thinking skills 
  • Developing Analytical skills through analysis of real-world examples. 
  •  Appreciate the dynamic nature of economics 
  • Learn to form strategies for an efficient solution to world problems. 
  • Analyzing and studying economic models 


What are the changes in the syllabus? 

The newly updated units are as follows: 

  1. Introduction to Economics 
  2. Microeconomics 
  3. Macroeconomics 
  4. The Global Economy 

What are the changes in the marking scheme? 

There is a change in the marking scheme of both the Higher and Standard level Economics. The external assessments will be carry 80% weightage whereas the internal assessments will carry rest 20% of marks.

Here are the complete details on the updated marking scheme of the assessments of economics. 

IB Economics External Assessment Of Higher Level Economics 

The external assessments consist of 3 papers of total 80% weightage of marks whereas the internal assessment is of 20% weightage. The distribution of marks in the three papers are as follows: 

Paper 1-Weighting 30%-1 hour 30 minutes 

This paper consists of  written questions in Section A and Section B. This will cover the syllabus sections of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. 


Paper 2-Weighting 30%-1 hour 30 minutes 

Data response paper for Section A and Section B, based on the sections of the syllabus on International Trade and Development. Every section consists of two questions, one of which must be selected by students. 


Paper 3: 20% weighting-1 hour  

This is an extension paper on the Higher Level, which evaluates the quantitative aspect of the course. This includes elements of all components of the syllabus and is primarily a brief answer to questions. 


IB Economics External Assessment Of Standard Level Economics

In the standard level, there are only 2 papers for the external assessment. Both the paper together constitute 80% weightage of marks. The internal assessments comprise the rest of 20% of the marks of IB Economics paper.

The marks distribution of both the papers are: 

Paper 1 Weighting 40 percent-1 hour 30 minutes 

This paper consists of essay type questions consisting of Section A and Section B. This will cover the syllabus sections of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics. 


Paper 2: 40% weighting: 1 hour 30 minutes 

Data response paper for Section A and Section B, based on the sections of the syllabus on International Trade and Development. Every section consists of two questions, one of which must be selected by students. 



It will be interesting to see the approaches this new syllabus of IB Economics. Worried about your IA? Check out our 20 Topics for the Economics IA blog.

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