As the May 2016 IB exams are approaching teachers and students are getting busier with exam preparation. The new conceptual and contextualized approach to teaching BM is clearly different from the content-based approach from the previous program. This approach puts the Paper 1 Case study and the teaching towards Paper 2 in a different perspective. Previously many teachers used the “teaching the examination” approach in relation to the Paper 1 Case study. Teachers and students will come up with questions, prepare answers together with students and students will memorize the answers. The result of this was that in many cases students offered clearly prepared answers which did not always meet the question demands on the exam.
The approach to the Paper 1 Case study should be more of a “teaching towards an examination” and involves teaching the topics through case studies, own research and the involvement of the six underlying concepts of the syllabus. While supporting students to prepare for the Paper 1 pre-seen Case study teachers should encourage their students to undertake the following:
- To get to know the case study very well before sitting for the exam. Students should be very familiar with the organization described in the case study- its stakeholders, their interests, as well as the organization’s objectives, challenges and strategies
- To build an inventory of the terminology used and some conceptual framework to discuss the case study – e.g. change, culture, ethics, globalization, innovation and strategy.
- To decide which business tools and techniques and theories are relevant to the analysis of the case study. Teachers can assist students in identifying the key business tools and techniques and applying them to the case study.
- To become familiar with the available specimen papers and the content of each section. On Paper 1 Section C students will need to focus on applying business tools , theories and techniques.
- To plan thorough review of the syllabus topics as students will need to show clear understanding of business theories and ability to apply business tools and techniques, analyse and evaluate those.
- Teachers can also use approaches such as role-play and debate to encourage students to model the characters in the case study.
Memorization of questions and answers suggested in class is often problematic as this leads to students not addressing the demand of the questions on the exam and such memorization is strongly discouraged as it does not allow students to achieve good marks.
Delving further on the exam preparation the biggest change is Paper 2, Section C. Paper 2, Section C presents a different challenge. In Paper 2 Section C students have to address two of the six concepts (change, culture, ethics, globalization, innovation and strategy) in relation to a real-life organization. The preparation towards this part of the exam involves own research tasks conducted during the time of the course or an in-depth study of a real-life organization(s) in class. The selected real-life organizations should lend themselves to the application of many of the six concepts and thus students will have more flexibility to apply their knowledge in a suitable way. Teachers need to support students in focusing their research on suitable organizations and developing their skills of application of various business tools and techniques in the light of the concepts.