The HSC exams have been well on its way and thousands of students across the state have sat down to take what feels like the most stressful, destiny-determining test of their life.
Whilst there remain a few more exams left for students to bite their knowledge-plated teeth into, feedback on the exams have been mixed, particularly with respect to an image of a man rowing a boat with a pencil across a sea of words. Nonetheless, year 12 students have blazed through using their cultivated intellect as their shield, and within a few weeks time, will surface from the battle – victorious.
More recently, however, students sat the Business Studies exam. Having completed Business Studies Accelerated as a year 11 student, and being able to attain a state rank of 9th in this subject, I wanted to provide my 2 cents on a part of the exam which is most reliant on students’ syllabus knowledge, and ability to integrate discrete pieces of information (like terminology and definition) into questions that have, over the years, become increasingly sophisticated and nuanced. And by “2 cents”, I simply mean going through the 20 multiple choice questions and providing an explanation as to what the answer is and why it is so.
So, future Business Studies kids, please take out the 2020 paper and listen up!
- Training is all about increasing the tactical skills of workers such as their technological aptitude or writing skills, whereas development is more strategically (long-term) focused, perhaps through the implementation of a development program where workers meet up fortnightly to discuss ways of enhancing their communication skills or work culture. As such, training would increase staff skill and development would be able to retain experienced and valuable staff. Answer is B.
- Requests for flexible working arrangements are stipulated in the 10 minimum employment standards. D is the way to go. A, B and C are imposters.
- If HR management is struggling to keep up with hiring new staff due to their accelerated growth, the best option for them is to outsource. Get an external vendor to complete an activity that was traditionally and priorly performed within the organisation. Saves time, allows for specialisation and reduces cost in the long term! Answer is B.
- Consumers have a range of remedies and legal rights that cannot be exorcised from them. According to the Competition and Consumer Act (administered by the ACCC), businesses are legally obliged to offer refunds, exchanges or repairs for products that are inconsistent with product description. This is an example of one such right. If, however, you decided that you no longer liked the pair of pink disco pants with zebra printing you bought 4 years ago, such right cannot be exercised.
- Market research is all about the collection of primary and secondary information in order for businesses to synthesise a solution to a current marketing problem they are facing. Primary sourced information refers to data that has been directly obtained by the business, and has not been processed by another entity or institution. Customer surveys are therefore an example of where businesses are able to obtain primary information. A is the best pick.
- This question is a simple definition-type question. Economies of scale refers to the lowering of cost per unit of input due to increased volume of output (typically because businesses buy in bulk). C is the answer.
- Manufacturing locally/ domestically ensures that a business can maintain control over their operations, particularly with respect to quality control, communication and consistency. If a business were to manufacture globally, or outsource its operations, the organisation loses control over activities in operations that would be conventionally retained if it were performed within domestic borders. Indeed, a business that operates in Australia is able to maintain quality control if its manufacturing business is also situated in Australia, as opposed to managing operations for a business located in India. B is the way to go.
- Branding is all about constructing an image for the business through logos, images and titles that can competitively differentiate the business from its rivalries. Whilst C may appeal to you as a potential answer, BOTH products are using packaging as a strategy, however, the aesthetic appeal, brand name and overall composition of the second product is what contributes to the creation of a particular brand image which makes A the answer.
- Economic recession and downswings leads to higher underemployment rates. The key word in this tricky question is “begin”. A business would “begin” to cut down staff working when a downswing occurs. They would have already cut down employment if it reached a recession – which is a severe rupture in a nation’s economic activity exacerbated by a vicious cycle of falling productivity, declining consumer confidence (increased pessimism) and higher interest rates. Answer is B.
- Half way – woohoo! This question is relatively easy. If the current razor’s price is being reduced because it is about to be substituted by another newer product, the current razor would be in its decline phase – not generating as much sale, appeal and demand. D is the way to go.
- JIT inventory management approach is all about stocking goods with a lean, economically-efficient strategy, in relation to the levels of consumer demand. This ensures that stock is available only when customers need it, and stock is ordered just in time for customers to buy. Indeed, this strategy cuts down on costs as the business is not holding any idle or unnecessary stock, whilst also reducing potential obsolescence costs. A is therefore the answer.
- The Worker’s Compensation Act is the statutory legislation responsible for ensuring that employees are compensated by their employer for injuries sustained as a result of their work. B is correct.
- If a company is examining global trends, looking at business practice businesses and evaluating the strategies and steps undertaken by competitors in the global landscape, and then trying to emulate these findings and what they have learnt into their own business operations, they are scanning and learning their environment. Scanning and learning is all about designing and building your operations processes and products in accordance with findings that are innovative and creative that have been extracted from the global business environment. C it is!
- Normalised earnings are a limitation of the financial report. It involves businesses, like the hairdresser business in question, not accounting for one-off expenses that may distort their business’s financial position in the eyes of users who look at and evaluate these statements. C is the answer.
- We know A and B are definitely out since the business provides customers with highly customised products and services which enable them to tailor their sand-which to their individual taste buds. In terms of whether cost or quality is the second performance objective, it would most likely be quality for this business since they are focused on providing consumers a high-quality experience that enables them to create their desired product whilst also ensuring that customers have high-grade materials to facilitate this approach – such as their variety of breads, fillings etc. D is probably the way to go.
- Mathematical calculations indicate that the Lavender Body-wash lost $1500. This product has to go when made relative to the other products. B is the answer.
- Gross profit = sales – COGS. Net profit ratio = net profit/ sales. Answer is C.
- Gross profit ratio = gross profit / sales. Expense ratio = total expenses / sales. Answer is A.
- Liquidity refers to the business’s ability to meet short term financial commitments. How capable is the business in turning their assets into liquid cash in order to run day-to-day operations? Liquidity is measured by the current ratio: current assets/ current liabilities. Answer is C.
- Gearing ratio (or solvency/ debt-to-equity ratio) = total liabilities / total equity. Answer is A.