BlogBusiness StudiesHow to Write a Band 6 Business Studies Essay

How to Write a Band 6 Business Studies Essay

how to write a band 6 hsc business studies essay

The HSC Business Studies Essay makes up 20 marks of Section IV in the HSC exam.

It is also often known as the ‘Case Study’ essay, because students are expected to integrate case studies or real life business examples into their response.

The general marking criteria for a Band 6 in the HSC Business Studies Essay is that a student:

  • Applies relevant case study/studies and contemporary business issues
  • Presents a sustained, logical and cohesive response and communicates clearly using relevant business terminology and concepts

There are essentially two schools of thought when it comes to writing a Band 6 HSC Business Studies essay.

Some teachers and markers believe that the case study should be the driving factor in your essay, adding theory to explain the case where needed.

On the other hand, some believe that the case study should only be used as evidence to highlight or accentuate your theory and explanation.

This is a similar approach to using statistics in an Economics essay, which if you also study, you can check out a similar guide to writing a Band 6 Economics essay HERE)

This article aims to therefore help you find your style that you can then develop into a consistent and methodical approach.

As usual they are based on the guidelines and comments from HSC markers: the ones who mark hundreds of essays year in year out.

Here is the example question we’re going to use throughout this article to demonstrate what to do to get that Band 6 in your HSC Business Studies Essay:

how to write a band 6 hsc business studies essay

Step 1: Decide on Your Approach

The 30-70 Rule

As mentioned above, there are two ways to approach a HSC Business Studies essay – primarily use case studies and explain it through theory or primarily respond to the thesis using course theory and then apply it to real life using case studies.

Either approach, if executed well, is FINE.

This is also just an opportunity to remind you students that often you stress too much about the structure or approach of your essays. They are not nearly as important as having well explained and supported arguments that answer the question.

In spite of this, through reading many top scoring HSC Business Studies essay responses over multiple years, it became clear that all of them, irrespective of their approach, followed the 30-70 Rule.

The 30/70 Rule: all essays had either 30% theory and 70% case study or vice versa. 

This meant that no matter what, there was always a minimum of 30% of BOTH case study AND theory in each paragraph of a Band 6 HSC Business Studies essay.

Provided you follow the 30-70 Rule, pick the approach you find most logical and you are most comfortable writing with and you are well on your way to crafting that Band 6 HSC Business Studies essay!

Step 2: Plan Your Essay

Use the first page of your writing booklet to sketch a plan of your response including the syllabus dot points you will be referring to

Due to the nature of HSC Business Studies Essays and the course itself, there is often a large variety of syllabus dot points you will be expected to recall.

By jotting these down on the page you ensure you first of all do not forget any, but secondly also give yourself an opportunity to draw connections between different syllabus dot points to better answer the question.

If you are finding it hard to memorise the syllabus content, you can check out an article on How to Memorise Business Studies Content – Fast!

With a plan, it makes your essay structure clearer and allows you to organise your ideas in a way which keeps your response sustained, which is a key component of the A range marking criteria.

Your essay must continually drive towards developing your thesis – the actual answer to the essay question itself.

In saying so, before we plan, we must understand the NESA directive verbs. This will determine the level of depth and how the markers want you to answer the question.

If you’re unsure about your directive verbs, check out NESA’s glossary of key directive verbs here!

How to Write a Good Thesis for your HSC Business Studies Essay:

The most important thing about any essay is the answer to the question itself with your thesis. All paragraphs, business theory and case studies are simply used to support the thesis.

As a result, begin the plan by writing a direct answer to the question. In your thesis you want to:

  • Provide context for the question – include definitions of key terms such as external influences and operations management
  • Then use qualifiers or intensifiers (to some extent, significantly, is ineffective) to answer the essay question.

For our example, the thesis for our example questions would look like this:

Operations management involves the set of processes used by businesses to transform inputs into outputs. These processes are continually influenced by external influences which can significantly hinder or promote a business’ competitive advantage. Operations management therefore must respond to these external influences using its operations strategies to capitalise on new developments and adapt, hence highlighting the importance of responding to external influences.

How to Write Kickass Body Paragraphs for your HSC Business Studies Essay:

Now you should organise your ideas into dot points which you will write your paragraphs about. 

Also note down any sub points or arguments you think of underneath. This can include theory or case study events.

As this is the planning stage, it isn’t essential to get it all down perfectly, even just a word or key term to retain your train of thought is fine.

Below is an IDEAL plan using our example question. I have used more words than I normally would to help you read along (in reality, a few word dot points are fine, as long as you can understand what you’ve written).

how to write a band 6 hsc business studies essay

If there are natural links and connections between paragraphs this can also be useful in transitioning in between different paragraphs to maintain the cohesiveness of the essay, i.e. making it flow better.

Step 2: Finish Your Introduction Strong

Now you have already written a strong thesis and have provided context for the essay.

All that is left is to connect your paragraph points to answering the thesis and introduce your case studies. This is better than simply stating which external influences you will be looking at, which is not as effective and thesis-driven.

For example, rather than saying:

Globalisation, quality expectations and corporate social responsibility are the external influences which operations management must respond to. These influences are best represented by leading pizza franchise Domino’s Pizza, local school textbook manufacturer Secondary Textbooks, and leading sportswear and footwear manufacturer Nike.

Try this:

These influences are exemplified by globalisation, which has opened businesses to the influence of global factors and increasingly demanding supply chain management needs, increased quality expectations that have created more stringent quality processes and management strategies, and an emerging emphasis on corporate social responsible behaviours to ensure legal compliance and ethical responsibility. Leading pizza franchise Domino’s Pizza, local school textbook manufacturer Secondary Textbooks, and leading sportswear and footwear manufacturer Nike are businesses that respectively demonstrate the crucial response of operations management.

It is much more impressive to the marker if you are able to show a direct link between your points and the thesis you are addressing, as it shows a more logical and well-planned response.

Together the intro would look like:

Operations management involves the set of processes used by businesses to transform inputs into outputs. These processes are continually influenced by external influences which can significantly hinder or promote a business’ competitive advantage. Operations management therefore must respond to these external influences using its operations strategies to capitalise on new developments and adapt, hence highlighting the importance of responding to external influences.

These influences are exemplified by globalisation, which has opened businesses to the influence of global factors and increasingly demanding supply chain management needs, increased quality expectations that have created more stringent quality processes and management strategies, and an emerging emphasis on corporate social responsible behaviours to ensure legal compliance and ethical responsibility. Leading pizza franchise Domino’s Pizza, local school textbook manufacturer Secondary Textbooks, and leading sportswear and footwear manufacturer Nike are businesses that respectively demonstrate the crucial response of operations management.

Step 3: Choosing Case Studies

In addition to choosing how much of the essay to focus on case studies, you will also need to decide which case studies (and how many) to use in your HSC Business Studies essay. Again, it varies and depends on what you are comfortable with.

Top responses have however followed these trends:

  • Use more than one case study (usually three in total, or one per body paragraph)
  • Typically been large real life businesses where there is a wide range of information available.
  • Use the most recent events and issues 
  • Have not used hypothetical

This isn’t saying to stay away from hypothetical case studies (i.e. a made up business). You CAN get 20/20 with hypothetical case studies. However, markers have found that hypothetical businesses are often a ‘super business’ that is perfect in every single way and therefore have no issues.

This ultimately does not give you much to write about and hence, you fail to show adequate knowledge of contemporary business issues. Which is obviously a problem for your HSC Business Studies Essay.

If you do choose to use a hypothetical (which I did in my plan), remember to make it realistic and that the whole point of the hypothetical is to show understanding, not to be a perfect business.

I recommend that you come up with the entire business as part of your exam preparation and also write out how it connects to each syllabus dot point. You can be creative, but don’t take too many liberties, it still needs to be realistic. 

Step 4: The Writing Process

The other general criteria in an HSC Business Studies essay is the related to the way you write and use language, including business terminology and concepts. 

This of course means you must know your content well and be able to connect different parts of the syllabus together and understand their relationships.

Once you have mastered your content, the criteria then asks for a ‘sustained, logical and cohesive‘ response. In order to achieve this, it is best to use a clear structure (which we have planned for in Step 1) as it forces you to retain a logical and cohesive structure.

Here’s how to do it:

Use DPEEL (writing structure)

To provide a basic structure, follow DPEEL which will ensure you are using business terminology and concepts consistently in your essay.

Definition – assume the marker is a layperson (has limited knowledge of the course) and ensure you are defining the business term or concept to reflect your understanding. Can be integrated into the response and does not need its own sentence.

 

Point – Attack the question and pinpoint what your overall answer will be, akin to a mini thesis.

 

Explain – Provide further details that elaborate on your point. Depending on which directive verb you are asked, this is also where you can start to show relationships (analyse), provide additional economic theories that demonstrate a cause and effect (explain) or make a judgement (assess/evaluate).

 

Evidence – Use your case study to illustrate how real life businesses apply the business studies content to achieve their goals rather than simply telling the reader that the business uses a specific strategy and not elaborating on how. Also be careful of simply ‘retelling the story’ of what the business does but not connecting it to your thesis!

 

Link – Conclude your paragraph by linking your points back to your original thesis.

Use transition signals

The ‘sustained’ element of the marking criteria means the markers want the essay to flow uninterrupted. No additional details or sidetracks.

The best way to achieve this is through the use of transition signals.

Transition signals  include words such as furthermore, hence, as a result, this leads to, but, however.

These are ‘linking’ words which along with the DPEEL structure FORCE you to stay on track and sustain your attack on the thesis, as each sentence must relate to the previous. This makes it more difficult for you to stray off topic, allowing you to create a sustained response!

Prepare a case study table

Just like with English, Business Studies is also a subject with high demands on memory.

Not only must you remember course content, you must also remember relevant case studies. An efficient way to facilitate this process is a simple table that allows you to organise your information.

Here’s an example of a good HSC Business Studies Case Study Table: 

how to write a band 6 hsc business studies essay

This will increase your mind’s ability to chunk the information without feeling overwhelmed, and it will be easier to remember!

Write a Strong Conclusion

Good news – HSC Business Studies essay conclusions are quite straightforward!

They need to:

Reaffirm your position and perspectives by restating your thesis – your answer to the question.

Tie up your points and case studies and summarise how they have supported your thesis.

Make sure you don’t overdo the conclusion. Three to four sentences is more than enough and the last thing a marker wants to see is a conclusion that has overstayed its welcome!

Step 5: Practice HSC Business Studies Essay Plans

The final and most important tip is to practise this approach using different styles and topics of essay questions. It is also important that you plan the essays as you would in an exam to give you practice for planning for unseen questions.

Apply these steps to build your consistency in writing logically and systematically.

That is the only way you will improve and when you do improve, you will notice that you have become a better overall writer and this should reflect in your other subjects too. If you need more essay questions you can use past HSC exams, your textbook, or ask your teacher.

Are you looking for some extra help with your HSC Business Studies Essay writing?

We pride ourselves on our inspirational HSC Business Studies coaches and mentors!

We offer tutoring and mentoring for Years K-12 in a large variety of subjects, with personalised lessons conducted one-on-one in your home or at our state of the art campus in Hornsby!

To find out more and get started with an inspirational tutor and mentor get in touch today! 

Give us a ring on 1300 267 888, email us at [email protected] or check us out on Facebook!

Terry Huang completed his Bachelor of Secondary Education with a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of New South Wales. A strong believer that lessons should be engaging, relevant, and effective, his hustle and teaching approach have led to his recognition on the UNSW Faculty of Social Sciences Dean’s List for Academic Excellence, the NSW Teachers Federation Future Teacher scholarship, and the New Colombo Plan program. Terry enjoys listening to Kanye West, learning about cryptocurrency and memorising scenes from The Office.

 

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