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Volume 20, Number 1, September 2013
Five strategies for the BUSS4
With the removal of the January series of exams, the pre-release theme for the BUSS4
paper was made available at the start of September. These five strategies will help you
prepare your students for the exam.
1 Start early
Different centres will use different delivery methods. In our centre we have always shared the
teaching of each unit between two teachers. However, this year we are adopting a different
approach. My colleague is concentrating on teaching and delivering BUSS3, while I have
sole responsibility for BUSS4. Having the pre-release early means I can incorporate it into
my teaching right from the start and bring in examples as required while delivering the main
part of the BUSS4 specification.
2 Answer the question set
This year's pre-release theme covers a large and varied topic. This serves as both an
opportunity and a threat:
· The standard of research by students in the past few papers has started to falter.
· An increasing number of responses simply describe what is going on and regurgitate
learnt examples. These responses do not score well.
This pre-release theme is arguably broader and more challenging than previous themes. The
danger with a topic such as China is that students will learn the general arguments about
doing business in China and fail to develop arguments that show real insight and evidence of
This is flagged up in the task's extra bullet points -- students are not comparing and
contrasting a range of businesses. Students' research has become too narrow and they are
keen to know `what is the minimum number of businesses that we need to research?' This is
the wrong attitude. It is not a numbers game, students need to use examples well and relate
them to the actual question set.
A recent question asked how firms can prepare for external change. Lots of responses gave
an answer about how firms can react to external change. This demonstrated that students
had either misread the question or learnt an answer and examples and tried to fit them to the
question set. This leads to the dreaded three letters -- NAQ -- and a poor performance on
Philip Allan Publishers © 2013 1
Other pages in this set
Here's a taster:
Build a knowledge base
There are many strands to the pre-release. It is not just about producing in China, it is also
about selling and how foreign firms can compete both in China and against Chinese firms.
These strands will be considered in more detail in future BUSINESS REVIEW articles, but the
starting point for you and your students should be to get an idea of what is happening in
China right now and what the current trends are.…read more
Here's a taster:
examples of businesses would be good here. The rising wage costs will also link to inflation
and reduced competitiveness on the global production front. It would be useful to research
how China is reacting to these factors.
5 Find resources
As always, there is a balancing act between getting students motivated about the pre-release
and saturating them with ideas and overdoing the research so that they become bored and
wish we would stop going on and on about China.…read more