A couple months before the IB Business Management Paper 1, you will be given a case study. The case study is about 4-7 pages long and will be based on a fictional business. I hope this article will help you get an idea about how you can fully utilize all the time given to you to prepare!
Step 1: Read it!
This sounds simple enough, but you do need to know this case study inside and out. You should spend so much time on it that you can almost memorise the entire thing. (Though you definitely do not need to as you will be given a clean copy during the exam!)
Because the exam is so short, you will not have time to read through everything or spend time trying to find details. You should have some ideas about where different sets of information are stored. The easiest way is to use the headers and sub-titles as locators such that you will know what information you can find in each section.
Step 2: Make notes!
Each time you read through the case study, you can make 1 set of notes based on a specific idea. Below, I listed the different sets of notes I made. I started off with easier tasks and then went into more detail as I became more familiar with the case study. This list is definitely non-exhaustive as you really need to identify what is important for your specific case study.
- Summarize each paragraph
I used a single sheet of paper and gave a brief summary of each paragraph so that I had some idea about the flow of the case study.
- Summarise each section
Using headers as my guide, I summarized the key points mentioned in each section.
- Make a timeline
Specifically for my case study, quite a few dates were mentioned, so drawing a timeline helped me see the progression of the business and how certain external factors during that time period affected the business.
- List the stakeholders involved
I listed all the stakeholders involved and how the business had positively or negatively impacted them throughout the entire timeline.
- Split the case study into the different topics
For example, I had a sheet titled “Human Resource (HR)” and then I wrote all the HR-related things from the case study in it. I did this for all the different chapters. Generally, the case study will cover all the topics, but this will give you some general ideas of which chapters are more important.
- Make a pros and cons list
This was specific to my case study as the last section had different stakeholders giving suggestions about how the business should move forward. As I suspected it would be an important question, I spent quite some time thinking about the pros and cons of each suggestion such that I knew what to write in the exam, already having a certain opinion and perspective on each suggestion.
- Use BM techniques like SWOT, STEEPLE, even CUEGIS
Write down how these techniques may come into play in the context of your case study such that you will be able to answer technique-related questions.
Step 3: Test yourself!
Make sure to keep a copy of a clean case study so that you can use it during revision, to mimic exam conditions. Then think about some possible questions that may come out and answer them. You never know but the questions you test yourself on might actually come out in the exam!
If you can do this with a group of friends, it would be most ideal! Since everyone will have different questions and opinions, this can help to diversify the types of questions and answers you all come up with.
If possible, do check your answers with your teacher. But generally, since BM does not really have “wrong answers”, as long as you are able to make sense of your point and explain it well to a friend, it should be good enough.
You can also take a look at some past year papers just to see the type of questions coming out, but personally, I do not think you need to focus so much on them as it would be very time consuming trying to learn the different case studies from past years.
Step 4: Addition reading
Though not compulsory for SL students, this might be quite helpful. Since the HL students also use the same case study as us, there may be some HL parts in the case study. If possible, it will be good to read up a bit about these HL concepts just so you can get a more holistic idea about the case study and the context that they are being used. However, you will not be tested on this and are definitely not expected to bring them into your answers.
I honestly really enjoyed studying for the case study, especially doing it with my friends as we always came up with new ideas the more we understood the case. I hope that this article has motivated you to begin your own preparation!