Dear Fresher, This year, Catz Freshers are receiving an additional Catz JCR Publication – a Subject Guide. We commissioned our year group to create a guide designed to assist in adjustment to life and work at Catz, specific to each subject. Our contemporaries reacted with typical Catz spirit and we are so proud of the results. In each guide should be a brief intro to what your first year will be like, with contact details, relevant links, helpful tips and useful information. By no means will all of it be relevant (or even make sense) before you arrive, but hopefully having a gist of how the year will turn out will prove helpful, and we suggest you read it in the summer. We also recommend that you keep it in mind throughout the year, some of the points may only become relevant later in the year. We ask that you don’t distribute these guides outside the Catz community – it’s by Catz, for Catz. We have tried to verify all the information, but some will inevitably change, such as who will supervise you. Please accept our apologies if that is the case. For this Economics guide we would like to credit and thank Ed. Please remember there is a multitude of people for you to come to with questions – us, the Subject Reps, your college parents, and others in the main Freshers’ Guide. We all want to help. Looking forward to meeting you – enjoy the rest of the summer! Catz Love Beth and Mikey
!! Introduction If you're reading this, you've got a confirmed place to read Economics at Catz! Congratulations on choosing a great course at an unbeatable college - you've got an amazing 3 years ahead of you. I'm sure loads of people have told you that your university days will be some of the best days of your life (and they're right), but I'm also sure you're more concerned right now about bringing the right books, attending your first supervision and making friends. But don't worry! Over the next few pages of this guide I'm going to put all those worries to bed and give you a few pointers to life as a Catz Economist. One of the most unique things about the Catz Economists is our collaborative spirit. The best piece of wisdom which 2nd and 3rd years have been passing down for several years now is that we are not competing with each other. Other colleges, maybe - but we work together within Catz rather than against each other. In practice, it has meant for us that reading lists have become more manageable as we can share them out or give advice on what to focus on; if one of us is struggling with a topic, others will help us sort it out; and we've all helped to motivate each other with joint library sessions and group discussions in our rooms. This has worked well for us, but your year will find their own way to work. The important thing is not to worry about work at this stage. If you're reading this, you've got your place, which means you're very intelligent and perfectly capable of doing very well. There are 8 2nd year economists at Catz, all of whom are male. We will be around and about during Freshers' Week and will hopefully meet you all in that time. We're all very happy to give advice and help - after all, we were in your shoes exactly one year ago. One of us will be your college parent, and please get in touch if you’d like Ed Stuart-Bourne - ems73 Louis Williams – lw454 Sam Trizuljak – st571 Dan Hanna – dh465
Dat Nguyen – dkn22 Jamil Hussain – jh852 Alex Arotsker – oa248 Neal Patel – nsp26
Finally, if you've still got questions after reading this booklet, I, Ed Stuart-Bourne, am your Economics Freshers' Rep and will be attentively checking my emails throughout the summer: firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to send me any questions you have about anything work related or otherwise.
!! Papers As you may already be aware, Part I of the Economics Tripos (ie the bit you do this year) is very broad. You'll typically have one or two lecture courses each term on each paper, meaning a total of around 12-14 lectures per week. Here's a brief summary of each paper: Paper 1: Macroeconomics One of the foundations of economics. You'll study various models of the economy on a macro-scale, which are built iteratively through lectures so that you're never faced with a giant leap in comprehension. Then you'll use these models to predict the effect of, for example, a rise in taxes on GDP, employment and inflation. The lectures start from absolute basics, so don't worry if you didn't do economics A-Level. Paper 2: Microeconomics The other foundation of economics. In micro, rather than looking at the economy as a whole, you look at individual consumers and firms. You consider how agents behave, how markets work and how prices are set. Then in Lent Term you'll have a lecture course on Game Theory, which is another way of modelling preferences and decisions. Again, the lectures start from absolute basics, although they progress very quickly as you'd expect. Paper 3: Quantitative Methods in Economics In this paper, you'll cover the maths and statistics that underpins much of Paper 1 and Paper 2. The early lectures start with recaps of A-Level subjects, so don't worry if you didn't do much maths before Cambridge. Statistics starts from absolute basics. If you were lucky enough to do a lot of maths or stats for A-Level or equivalent, you'll find you can cover a lot of this paper with your existing knowledge. Of course, some concepts are applied in different ways or slightly adapted so you can't free-ride through everything. It's definitely worth bringing your A-Level/equivalent notes to Cambridge though, as they can come in very useful. Paper 4: Political and Sociological Aspects of Economics This paper splits nicely into three: politics, employment and development. The politics lecture course takes you through British politics from 1945 to the present day, with focuses on what each Prime Minister brought to the table, their policies and, of course, the economic backdrop. The employment lecture course is all about trade unions, strikes and minimum wages. Finally, the development lecture course covers (you guessed it) various aspects of economic development - that is, !!
!! how a poor country becomes a rich country. This paper is one of the two essay papers, so you'll be tackling reading lists, making notes and then writing essays for your supervisions. Paper 5: British Economic History This paper is like the development part of Paper 4 but with regards to Britain. You'll cover the Industrial Revolution, Victorian Britain and Interwar Britain. It can often seem daunting, and it may take until revision in the summer for it all to fall into place, but don't worry - you'll be fine. There is a fantastic resource of Catz notes stretching back more than 10 years that we'll show you when you get here, which will prove to be a life-saver when it comes to writing history essays.
Exams At the end of the year, you'll have an exam for each paper. They're 3 hours each and will test everything you've covered in lectures and supervisions over the year. But don't worry about these right now - you'll find out about them as and when.
Reading I'm fairly sure none of us did any reading for the course before we got to Cambridge. You certainly don't need to, so enjoy the rest of your summer. However, if you're one of those ultra-prepared types or have a mother who fits that description, here are the books we ended up using the most: Macroeconomics (European Edition) - Mankiw and Taylor Microeconomics - Varian The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Britain Vols 1&2 - Floud and Johnson Before you rush out and buy these, most of us 2nd years will be willing to sell you our old copies for considerably less than any bookshop. If you absolutely must have new editions, Heffers and other bookshops tend to run special discounts in Freshers' Week, so wait 'til you get to Cambridge. In general, though, most of us simply use the excellent Catz library. The !!
!! only textbook that proved at all essential to own was Macroeconomics, because our lecture course followed the textbook quite closely. Location The Economics Faculty is found on the Sidgwick site, so very easy to get to from Catz. Explore on this http://map.cam.ac.uk if you’d like to take a closer look. We’ll be sure to show you the building and important parts when you arrive. Tips • Have confidence in yourself. When you receive your first reading list, it'll be a daunting prospect, but know that many before you have got through the Cambridge Economics Tripos, and you're perfectly capable of doing that too. • Speaking of reading lists, don't take them too seriously. We'll give you a better idea once you get here, but suffice to say that a 10 book reading list does not mean you have to read 10 books cover to cover. • Wok together. I can't stress this enough - you're not competing with each other and you've got nothing to gain by not helping each other out. You'll find arrangements that work for you within a couple of weeks, but I'd recommending creating a Facebook group for Fresher Catz Economists (after you get here) for coordinating supervision times, asking for help, etc. • We'll sort you out with the legendary Dropbox once you get here. It has more than 10 years of Catz notes on all aspects of the Economics Tripos and will help you out of many an impending deadline. But don't share it outside Catz, otherwise you're just helping out your competition. Conclusion The last piece of advice is to have fun! I think I speak for all of us when I say we've managed to achieve a pretty good work-life balance. While lawyers found themselves in the library all hours of the night and NatScis found their days filled with labs, if you manage your time well you'll find plenty of time to have a life as an economist. Cambridge (and ESPECIALLY Catz) is an amazing place that we're sure you'll love. The next three years will be some of the best of your life - you've got a lot to look forward to. We look forward to meeting you all in October, but until then have a great holiday!