Take the change

Students demonstrate economic knowledge through national activity

Sarah Shelton, Staff Writer

Have you ever wanted to win $200 for your knowledge of economics? Have you wanted to compete with friends a couple times a year? Economics Challenge is the perfect opportunity for students to quiz their knowledge and win some money. 

Economics Challenge is a nationally renowned activity  that challenges competitors’ knowledge of national  economic factors. The local Economics Challenge chapter is sponsored by the Nebraska Council On Economic Education. No school has to pay to compete, they just register through their administration. 

 There are two divisions, the Adam Smith Division, which is for students that have taken two-semester or advanced economic classes. The other is the David Ricardo Division for students with  experience in one-semester or introductory economics courses. 

Teams are made up of three to four  students, all taking a 30 question test in 35 minutes made up of three economic subjects micro, macro, and forex. Before COVID-19,  the team  went to UNO to take the tests in person, but now the competitions  are online and timed to keep the process fair.

 “To prepare I just look through some practice problems. It is essentially a mix of common knowledge and the AP curriculum, so it is not that bad if you have studied for the tests,” senior Kenny Zhu said.

 At MN there are no team practices, many members engage in mostly individual work 

To prepare for the challenge, I just reviewed over notes from my past AP Micro and Macro classes, and I also took practice tests that they made available,” junior Vishal Potineni said.

When taking the test, each teammate is taking a different form of the exam, and the lowest score is dropped. The highest score advances to a buzzer round. 

The Economics Challenge team has been lauded for their competitive success in the past year, winning Fall Finals, State Finals, and Regional Semifinals in 2020. They are headed back to state this spring to maintain their winning streak. 

“I received a perfect score last year so I can hopefully maintain that this year,” Zhu said.

Though they only compete twice a year, Econ Challenge sponsor Jeff Gustafson reminds all AP Economics  students that it is coming up and they can compete.

 “In spring, as a class we participate and everyone is put on teams and the top ten teams go to state competitions and you can win up to $200-250 for winning the competitions,” Gustafson said. 

There are no tryouts as long as you have taken the class or know the curriculum.  The top teams in the spring will head to state. 

“Any high school in Nebraska can compete in this and typically you get 50-60 teams in the two and more of an advanced class with AP kids,” Gustafson said. 

Scholastic associations said they  love the effort students put into furthering their education beyond just the class they take or the personal knowledge they might already have. 

 “We are able to see how the concepts we learn in our classes are able to be applied in the real world,” Potineni said.

Through it all, Econ Challenge’s  purpose is to shine a light on the importance of education and school systems.