Firstly, the paper has two options. Candidates need to specify at the time of filling the form which option they would be attempting in the paper. You need to attempt either of the two and NOT both.
- Part B (Maths): Starting with Part B first. Frankly, never having seen its paper, we only have limited knowledge of the same. This is for people who have done Bachelors in Mathematics. It contains theoretical (fairly advanced) question relating to Functions, Matrices, Metric Spaces, Real Analysis etc etc. (This is not a comprehensive list of what all is covered). This section itself contains two sections. One section is for Objective type questions and the other is descriptive type (there is usually choice given for the descriptive type questions). There is negative marking for the objective type questions section.
People should not opt for the mathematics part until and unless they are very confident on theoretical Maths. Even people who have done engineering usually attempt the economics part.
- Part A (Economics): This option is recommended for people from Economics, Statistics, Engineering and others fields. The subjects that students are expected to be well versed with are: Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Statistics (and some Econometrics which came by surprise in the last 2009-10 paper) and Mathematics. Although there is no subject-wise allocation for marks, but past trends show that all the four subjects get equal weight age in the paper.
This part contains two sections both containing Objective type questions from all subjects:
- Twenty questions of 1mark each (20marks)
- Forty questions of 2marks each (80marks)
There is negative marking of 1/3marks for the 1mark questions and 2/3marks for 2marks questions.
Since all the questions are objective type, the options that are given in the exam are fairly well researched. Teachers are aware of the common mistakes that students commit and therefore, if you commit a mistake in a question, chances are that the wrong option will be present among the four options. There is very little scope for answering by elimination.
Overall, it is not a very lengthy paper. If students allot time judiciously, then there is enough time to attempt all questions easily.
One mark questions do not take that much time but as mentioned above the options are fairly tricky and until and unless you are crystal clear with your concepts, you are bound to make mistakes. Two-markers are lengthy, might require more time. Models generally will have few two-markers to be attempted with them testing different aspects of the same.
“A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” holds true for this exam in particular because students think they know some question, attempt it wrong and because of the negative marking lose a lot of marks. So, guess work is absolutely not encouraged.
A note on notations: Probably the thing that will scare you if you have a first look at the entrance paper is the extensive use of symbols. Most students from non-maths background are not well versed with the meaning of these symbols. Some common ones are: ?, ?, ?, ? etc. Such mathematical notation is fairly easy once you know it but can pose problems if you don’t know it. They are extensively used in Microeconomics and Mathematics questions.
Probably the most scariest and feared section in the paper. The primary references for the same are Fundamental Methods of Mathematical Economics by A. Chiang and Further Mathematics for Economic Analysis by Sydsaeter and Hammond. Students need to be well versed with functions, calculus, logic etc. (Integration and trigonometry can be de-emphasized). Frankly, I don’t think any amount of hard-work can assure that you will be able to attempt the questions that come in the entrance. So, if you are not strong in Maths, recommendation would be that you focus on Micro, Macro and Stats instead.
However, differentiation and differential calculus are extensively used in Macroeconomics and if you are clear with those concepts that 70-80% of your Macro questions are done automatically! (more on this has been covered in the Macroeconomics section) of this post.
Statistics and Econometrics:
Go through DU BA Economics syllabus for Statistics and follow up all the readings. You can refer to Mathematical Statistics by SC Gupta and VK Kapoor for the probability section. For Econometrics, you may refer to Essentials of Econometrics by Gujarati, first 11 chapters. Last year, there were 3-4 questions from Econometrics. So, if you do not wish to take chances, you may decide to do it as well.
First of all, get hold of DU syllabus of Macroeconomics 2nd year and go through all the readings referred. This shall form the basis of the questions asked in the entrance. The entrance will surely have a set of questions on a macroeconomic model. For e.g., the most elementary question can be giving demand and supply sides of the economy in goods and money market respectively and finding the equilibrium output level and rate of interest. This can be supplemented by a question on what will happen if there is an exogenous increase in investment. The basic point to grasp is that one has to be very clear with the concepts because it is then only that you can solve it in mathematical framework. Get hold of Macroeconomics by William Branson. This book deals the subject in the way asked in DSE entrance. Since you will have 4-5 questions linked to the same model, it is necessary that you get the first one right or else it will spill over to all the other questions and hence the negative marking. While solving the question in the entrance, do it on a fresh page (the extra sheet at the back) and do it very cautiously. DSE professors know where students tend to make mistakes and it is highly likely that the wrong answer that you might be getting is there in one of the options! And as already mentioned, negative marking can ruin your chances to clear the entrance.
Besides having clear concepts, you will also be required to have good mathematical skills, essentially involving differentiation. Differentiation makes solving these models a lot easier and direct. You will be able to appreciate this when you try out the past year papers. Again, solving the past year question papers is extremely important here. The concepts involved are very much similar to that studied in DU UG but the application part is very different. What you might have studied at UG level is necessary but not at all sufficient to solve the questions asked in Macroeconomics section of DSE entrance.
For the one markers, you should know about different curves in Keynesian and Classical Economics. Also, be clear with Solow model. Questions in Macroeconomics section are quite scoring. So spend good time over getting the concepts right and then applying them in solving the models given in the past years.
Books to be referred:
- Macroeconomics by Dornbusch and Fisher
- Macroeconomic Theory and Policy by William Branson
- Macroeconomics, Schaum Series (little elementary)
- Macroeconomics by Oliver Blanchard
- Macroeconomics by Mankiw
You may go through these books and decide for yourself which one is good for which topic. Schaum series Macroeconomics is a little elementary and if you are content with the other books then you may skip this one.
Again, quite a scoring section if you have the concepts right. Start with Intermediate Microeconomics (7th edition) by Hal Varian and complement it by doing exercises from Varian Workbook. Both are necessary to get the concepts clear. Microeconomics section in DSE would not ask you to do simple maximization, infact the question might appear to be very simple to you but it will have certain relatively tougher concept being tested. Thus, most of the times, it will be asking you about complement, substitutes, quasilinear etc. preferences. Except chapter 11, 13, 17 in Intermediate Microeconomics all other chapters are to be done.
For market structure, follow chapters from Pindyck. We found them better explained there than in Varian. Make sure that you follow up these concepts by practicing questions in Workbook. You may also go through the following website and browse different topics in Microeconomics, their lecture notes and assignments.
If you are short on time, then just go through the solved assignments.
While doing questions in Varian workbook, you might find them easy as Varian has beautifully written it in a story format. Remember that DSE entrance will not ask you the question in the same format. It will put forth the framework and ask you the last part of question as given in the workbook. Thus, it is necessary that you constantly ask yourself why you are following the procedure outlined through different parts in a question in the workbook and where you are headed.
For the General Equilibrium part, again, the question will not have simple concave utility functions. You have to get hold of how to solve for substitutes, complements and quasilinear preferences. As in macroeconomics section, Geneq section has many questions built in the same framework. Practice them well from the workbook and the past years. Having clear concepts of Consumer theory is essential to get on with General Equilibrium and it is perceived to be the toughest section in DSE. However, if you have the fundas right, General Equilibrium becomes the most interesting section in Microeconomics.
Cut off: We think that the cut-off would usually be around 50.
For queries regarding eligibility, syllabus etc., please see DSE website here.
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