Final tips for the Geography examinations

The first tip is crucial – read the questions – carefully. Sometimes, answers that score low marks have not focused on the question, and answered a different question! You have five minutes reading time at the start of each paper, and it is important to make the most of this time, so read and re-read the question paper carefully, and choose the question (s) that you will answer. Underline the command terms – are you being asked to describe, explain, discuss or evaluate  – the command terms will help shape your answer. Have a look at these in the subject Guide and be clear on what different command terms mean.

Second, plan your answer. In the extended answers (Questions 5 -7 in Paper 1, part (c) questions in Paper 2, and all questions in paper 3, bring in key concepts/contrasts such as high- and low-income countries, short- and long-term, natural and anthropogenic (man-made), core and periphery, deliberate and accidental, positive and negative. Using some of these terms will give your answer much greater impact than an answer that focuses merely on case study material. These concepts allow you to use your case studies/examples to support your views and opinions.

Next, answer the question. You will only be given credit for relevant information, so make it count. Try to remain focused on the question. It is often a good practice to refer to the question at least once in the middle of your essay. Where relevant, try to bring in supporting examples and case studies into extended answers. Getting two examples in a paragraph is useful, as it may allow you to compare, contrast or evaluate different places, processes, features  or organisations.

Try to write about places that you know well. You are far more likely to impress examiners with detailed knowledge about your own country (where relevant) than using places that you feel less confident about.

Finally, in your revision, try to look over some past exams, mark schemes and examiners reports. These often highlight areas where students could make improvements.

Good luck with the forthcoming exams.

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