Geography GCSE Exam Technique

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Advice and guidance on how to improve answers in AQA GCSE geography

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Geography GCSE Exam Technique

  1. 1. Exam Technique How to get top marks
  2. 2. The exams • Paper 1 – Physical Geography • Paper 2 – Human Geography Both exams last 1 hour 30 minutes and you have to answer 3 questions. That means you should spend no more than 30 minutes on each. Each question is worth 25 marks. So, always work on one mark per minute.
  3. 3. The questions • Each question is about a unit of work. The question numbers are in the same order as the chapters in your book. ( e.g. The Restless Earth is question 1 on the physical paper and is Chapter 1 in your book) • Each question will be broken down into about five parts – e.g.1a,1b,1c,1d,1e • Questions worth 1, 2 or 3 marks will be points marked so you may use bullet points • Questions worth 4 marks or more (the maximum would be 8 marks) are level marked and you must use full sentences.
  4. 4. Points Marked Questions • Maximum 3 marks • You may use bullet points • Points made must be different
  5. 5. Question 2a Describe the formation of igneous rocks (2 marks) There are only two marks, so two points are sufficient, but try three just in case. Remember you have two minutes, which is plenty of time – as long as you have the knowledge. 1. Igneous rocks a formed from molten magma or lava that has cooled and solidified. 2. Igneous rocks may form below the ground surface (intrusive) or on the surface (extrusive)
  6. 6. Question 2b Study Figure 3 on the insert, which shows the distribution of four different types of rock in the United Kingdom (UK). Describe the distribution of granite shown in figure 3. (2 marks) This is a DESCRIBE question so, had it been four or more marks, you would have written a general pattern, specific detail and exceptions in full sentences. However, it is only two marks so we need to give two or more points. 1. There are many outcrops of granite in Scotland 2. There are several outcrops, such as Dartmoor, in South West England 3. There are some outcrops of granite in Northern Ireland and Cumbria
  7. 7. Question 2ci Study Figure 4 on the insert, which shows a chalk and clay landscape. Figure 5 is a black and white copy of Figure 4. On Figure 5, mark with an arrow and label three landforms. (3 marks) This is really a bit of a gift. BUT, make sure you make it very clear where the arrows are pointing. Again, as there are three marks, try to do more than three labels. No marks for the rock types – the question says LANDFORMS 1. Scarp Slope 2. Dip Slope 3. Vale 4. Spring Line 5. Chalk Ridge 6. Dry Valley
  8. 8. Level Marked Questions These questions will have 4 or more marks. Questions with 4, 5 or 6 marks will have 2 levels, questions with 7 or 8 marks will have 3 levels. All these questions require extended writing and the quality of written communication (QWC) is assessed. You are expected to: • present relevant information in a form and style that suits its purpose • ensure that text is legible and that spelling, punctuation and grammar are accurate • use specialist vocabulary where appropriate.
  9. 9. Level Marked Questions (continued) Level 1 1. Knowledge of basic information 2. Simple understanding 3. Little organisation; few links; little or no detail; uses a limited range of specialist terms 4. Reasonable accuracy in the use of spelling, punctuation and grammar 5. Text is legible.
  10. 10. Level Marked Questions (continued) Level 2 1. Knowledge of accurate information 2. Clear understanding 3. Organised answers, with some linkages; occasional detail/exemplar; uses a good range of specialist terms where appropriate 4. Considerable accuracy in spelling, punctuation and grammar 5. Text is legible.
  11. 11. Level Marked Questions (continued) Level 3 Only 7 or 8 mark part questions. There is one such part question in each question. In paper 2 this part question will also have an extra 3 marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar. 1. Knowledge of accurate information appropriately contextualised and/or at correct scale 2. Detailed understanding, supported by relevant evidence and exemplars 3. Well organized, demonstrating detailed linkages and the inter-relationships between factors 4. Clear and fluent expression of ideas in a logical form; uses a wide range of specialist terms where appropriate 5. Accurate use of spelling, punctuation and grammar 6. Text is legible
  12. 12. Level Marked Questions (continued) 8 mark questions have three levels • Level 1 : 1 – 4 marks • Level 2 : 5 or 6 marks • Level 3 : 7 or 8 marks 7 mark questions (rare) have 3 levels (1-4 marks, 5 or 6 marks and 7 marks) 6 mark questions have 2 levels (1-4 marks and 5 or 6 marks) 5 mark questions have 2 levels (1-3 marks and 4 or 5 marks) 4 mark questions have 2 levels (1&2 marks and 3&4 marks) The examiner first decides what level your answer is using the general guidance shown on previous slides, and then the specific guidance from the mark scheme. He/she then judges where you are within the level to award a mark.
  13. 13. Question 2cii Explain the formation of an escarpment/cuesta and vale. You should refer to rock types and earth movements. (8 Marks) This is an EXPLAIN question so we need to give causes in order to answer it properly. The other key word is FORMATION which suggests we need to discuss processes. The examiner is helping you with the second sentence. It means you must refer to both chalk and clay and you must talk about the tilting of the sedimentary layers due to tectonic activity. Sentences in extended answers should show linkages. In other words they should follow the pattern: X leads to Y that means that Z happens leading to A, B and C.
  14. 14. Question 2cii Explain the formation of an escarpment/cuesta and vale. You should refer to rock types and earth movements. (8 Marks) • Level 1 Example answer: Soft rock is eroded faster. There is a steep slope and a gentle slope. The vale is flat and lower down than cuesta Note that the statements are pretty random and it is more a description than an explanation. The first sentence gives some explanation so this could get 3 marks at the top of the level, but not likely as it is so brief. No use of good vocabulary – all this keeps it in level 1
  15. 15. Question 2cii Explain the formation of an escarpment/cuesta and vale. You should refer to rock types and earth movements. (8 Marks) • Level 2 Example answer: There are alternate bands of hard and soft rock – chalk and clay. The hard rock does not erode as quickly as the soft rock and so it forms the higher cuesta/escarpment whilst the clay forms the lower lying vale. The rocks are not straight, they are tilted and this affects the cuesta Here there Is definite explanation and there is some linkage (highlighted in red). The sequential nature of the process – tilting, erosion, formation of landform – is partly there, but is not clear, hence level 2.
  16. 16. Question 2cii Explain the formation of an escarpment/cuesta and vale. You should refer to rock types and earth movements. (8 Marks) • Level 3 Example answer: Harder chalk occurs next to softer clay. These layers are tilted at an angle to the surface as a result of earth movements. Both start at a similar height and weathering and erosion affect both – including carbonation on the chalk. The chalk is more resistant to erosion than the clay as it is harder and therefore it erodes more slowly and lies above the surrounding clay in the lower lying vale. There are two parts to the chalk cuesta/escarpment. There is a steeper slope that cuts across the diagonal organisation of the rock layers and the gentler dip slope that goes parallel with it. Thus, the rock structure is important in forming the landforms with its characteristic scarp slope at right angles to the tilt and the dip slope that follows it parallel to the tilt. Statements are more fully developed and links are made. The sequence of formation is complete as the events are implicitly linked to the escarpment and vale. There is good use of vocabulary.
  17. 17. Question 2d Draw a labelled sketch map to show the location of a quarry that you have studied. (4 marks) Even though this is a sketch and not a piece of writing it is still level marked (as it is more than 3 marks). A sketch map should have a scale, a north pointer, a title and, if necessary, a key. You should always name specific places on the map to show that you really know the case study. Level 1 (Basic) 1 – 2 marks Simple, partial sketch map. General features – may refer to any quarry. Likely to show presence of settlement, road/railway, quarry itself – will ring true for example/quarry. Level 2 (Clear) 3 – 4 marks ‘Complete’, clear sketch map/ Can visualise location. There is some specific reference to the case study used – via place names, roads named/numbered, other features.
  18. 18. Question 2d Draw a labelled sketch map to show the location of a quarry that you have studied. (4 marks) A level 1 response shows you have some idea of the location of the quarry but there is no real detail
  19. 19. Question 2d Draw a labelled sketch map to show the location of a quarry that you have studied. (4 marks) A level 2 response gives detail such as road numbers, a north pointer and a scale.Note that settlements are named.
  20. 20. Question 2e Figure 6 shows a variety of people who have different opinions about the development of a new quarry. Figure 6 • Owner of holiday home in quarry village • School leaver in local town • Local café owner • Quarry owner • Local resident working in quarry • Rambler Select one person in favour of the new quarry and one person against the new quarry and outline their different opinions. Person in favour of new quarry ..................... (letter) Person against new quarry ..................... (letter)
  21. 21. Question 2e This is a 6 mark question and is level marked so you need to write in full sentences. Level 1 (Basic) 1 – 4 marks Simple statements, perhaps describes one view only. Separate ideas – but aware of view(s). Local café owner will be for the quarry. Customers will go in and money will be made. Rambler will be against the quarry as it spoils the view.
  22. 22. Question 2e Level 2 (Clear) 5 – 6 marks Develops statements and makes links. Clear awareness of different views. Café owner (in favour) - Workers from quarry and lorry drivers going to the quarry will call into my café and buy food and drinks. This will boost my business – often I have few people in the winter. I will be able to employ more staff. Rambler (against) - I come to walk in beautiful countryside and see wildlife. I don’t want to see the area ruined by a big white hole in the ground that can be seen for miles. Not to mention the noise from the blasting and the heavy lorries on the road.
  23. 23. Conclusion • Spend one minute for each mark • Never spend more than 30 minutes on a whole question • Part questions worth 3 marks or fewer are point marked and you can use bullet points • Part questions of 4 marks or more are level marked and you must write in full sentences (QWC and SPAG) • Sentences should show linkages and inter relationships with detailed knowledge of examples and theory.

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