Exam preparation Part 1 - from the examiner Part 2 – revision strategies Part 3 – the way forward
Before you start….
Read through each question and highlight or underline the command word – what is the question asking you to do?
Command words State… Write down Describe… Write down what you can see Explain… Give reasons for (how?/why?) List… Make a list (e.g. bullet points) Compare… Write down similarities and differences Annotate Add labels with details
How are answers marked ?
Point marking – a mark is given for each specific point made, usually worth 4 or less marks e.g. ‘Give 3 reasons for…..’
Level marking – an overall level is given for the depth of the answer as a whole .
Answers don’t have to be perfect to gain all the points or Level 3
Write something – have a go – you aren’t marked down for a wrong answer !
Don’t give the examiner a choice of answer – the first one is the one that will be marked
All questions will use…..
MAPS – use of the scale , key , title
DIAGRAMS – use of the title, type (cross section or sketch)
GRAPHS – correct units , title , labelled axes
PHOTOS – title , using grid if provided.
When describing a pattern …
Look for the general trend of the graph e.g. ‘the temperature increases throughout the year from January to December’.
Identify specific values e.g. ‘the maximum temperature is reached in December which is 27 o C
Also note exceptions to the general pattern e.g. ‘however March doesn’t follow this trend, the temperature does not increase but falls to 13 o C during this month before increasing again in April’
Some Common Mistakes …
Describing when you have been asked to explain
Misreading the scale on a graph
Not giving the correct units e.g. km, millions
Giving individual values when asked to describe a pattern e.g. from a climate graph
What makes a good answer ?
Answer all parts of a question
Must use a case study if asked for but use case studies in any question to add detail (for a level 3 mark)
be aware of scale, e.g. if asked to name a location … a country or a continent is too large!
Refer to LEDC’s as poor countries and MEDC’s as rich countries
Adding extra detail
You must include a diagram if it is asked for. Can also use in other questions where not asked for.
Examples must have facts, statistics and precise locations
When using climate graphs, use specific climate figures e.g. ‘very cold’ = below zero or ‘very wet’ = above 1000mm.
Do not use vague terms, e.g. ‘wet’, ‘dry’, ‘hot’, etc
Reaching higher levels
What is the advantage of long term aid
Use the ‘ So What ?’ approach
E.g. ‘ Foreign money is brought into the area’ (Level 1)
So What ?
‘… ..so that investment can be made into agriculture and industry(Level 2)
- So what?
WHAT WOULD YOU WRITE NEXT TO MAKE IT A LEVEL 3 ANSWER
Reaching Level 3
For Level 3 , you need to bring in more detail perhaps by using a case study, e.g.
‘… The money was use to build sea dykes in Vietnam. This stopped the farmland being flooded by the sea. It taught local people skills, which they could continue to use in the future for other projects
Look at the following answers one which was awarded level 3 and one that did not
Using case study knowledge
Learn specific case study facts and details.
If your case study is too general , you may not get more than a level 2!
Make sure you name places e.g. in Hurricane Katrina people took refuge in the superbowl
Does Spelling Matter ?
The quality of your geography determines what level you are given
The spelling and grammar only affects your mark within the level
Revision tips …
Find out what sort of learner you are …
Visual learners prefer to:
Draw pictures and diagrams
Colour code their work
Use different coloured paper, pens etc
Use their own system of symbols etc
Create images and scenes in their minds
Auditory learners prefer to:
Say their work aloud
Give presentations to an imaginary audience
Record notes on a tape recorder
Use silly noises to remember things
Hear the information in their mind
Play instrumental music
Kinaesthetic learners prefer to:
Do actions when learning key facts
Walk about when learning
Find it harder to sit at a desk
Add emotions and textures to exaggerate information
Try to experience what they are learning
1. Repetition & Rehearsal
Good for learning short pieces of information that have to be reproduced exactly.
e.g. definitions of physical geography terms could be done as:
card sort activity
matching heads and tails
Write definitions on index cards or Post – it Notes
Mnemonics are memory tricks that help you remember more complex information.
They are especially good for recalling things in sequence
3. Lyrics, Raps and Poems
Creating songs or raps works well for some pupils. The effort that goes into thinking up the right words makes for really effective learning, and the rhymes, rhythm and tune help you to recall the information
Possible use: explaining processes e.g. formation of a corrie, ox bow lake ….. Try it!
4. Flow Charts
Flow charts are an excellent way of getting to grips with processes, where there are set procedures that must be followed to do certain things. Not only does drawing up the flowchart increase understanding of the process, but also the finished chart is a useful source of information.
5. Cartoons, annotated diagrams
Formation of corrie, u – shaped valley, meanders and oxbow lakes, ribbon lakes ,
6. Mind Maps
Many pupils find it very helpful to revise by drawing ‘mind maps’. These are diagrams that show the different parts of a topic or idea and the connections between them. They are particularly good for:
Pulling together different parts of a topic
Understanding the overall structure of a subject
When drawing out a mind map, start with the name of the topic. Write it in the centre of the page and draw a circle round it.
Next, write the names of the subtopics that relate to it, and draw lines connecting these to the main topic heading.
More information can now be linked to the subheadings.
Use colour to separate out different subtopics, and add keywords, diagrams and symbols – don’t overcrowd the mind map, this only makes it difficult to understand.
7. Posters / A3 revision sheets / fact files for case studies
Rather than making notes, some pupils find making posters more interesting and a better way of learning. Posters can contain keywords, definitions, short explanations, diagrams, pictures
8. Audio tapes
Make a recording of a topic and play on ipod
9. Visit the blogs:
10 listen to the podcasts:
Read intelligently. Spend five minutes flipping through a book or your notes looking at headings and summaries. Then attempt to mind map what you have spotted and what you can remember.
Use cards. Write questions on one side and answers on the other. Then get your family to test you. Merely creating the cards will help your recall. You can also use them to test yourself when faced with 'dead' time at bus stops or waiting for someone.
Condense. Fitting notes onto one side of paper makes them easier to stomach, so rewrite and cut down as you go.
Highlight. Target key areas using colours and symbols. Visuals help you remember the facts.
Record. Try putting important points, quotes and formulae on tape. If you hear them and read them, they're more likely to sink in.
Talk. Read your notes out loud, it's one way of getting them to register.
Test. See what you can remember without notes, but avoid testing yourself on subjects you know already. Why not ask someone else to test you?
Time. Do past exam papers against the clock, it's an excellent way of getting up to speed and of checking where there are gaps in your knowledge.
Less is always more When writing notes, remember they should contain a summary, not an extensive repetition of what is in the textbook. Don't crowd the page. Stick to main headings and sub-headings. Use abbreviations where appropriate. Try to reduce what you need to know on the topic down to one A4 sheet. Once you have an overview, it is easier to fill out the detail.
Make your notes visual Ensure your notes have a memorable appearance so that you can recall them easily. Use illustrations, diagrams, graphs, colours, and boxes ('a picture is worth a thousand words'). Arrange the material in a logical hierarchy (title, sub-point, explanation, example). Ideally, you should be able to close your eyes in an exam and visualise a particular page of notes
Beware of transcribing and highlighting! Merely re-writing the text from the book into your notes does not ensure retention. Try to put things in your own words and devise your own examples - this will make the material more meaningful. Only use the highlighter pen AFTER you have previewed and questioned a text, thus ensuring you identify the most important material and you avoid the creation of a fluorescent textbook!
'Save' your notes carefully Practice following the logic of your computer files, when storing information. Think - "Where does this material best fit (subject, section, topic, sub-topic, etc.)?" In this way, you will ensure that it is efficiently processed and easily retrieved both physically (during revision) and mentally (when you need it in an exam).
Not reading the paper correctly Examiners say that this is one of the most regular and fatal errors. They call it the 'triggered answer' . You have your pre-prepared answer ready but you don't look at the exact terms of the question and therefore supply the wrong information in your answer. Make sure you underline the key words in a question
Not finishing the paper Mismanaging your time within the exam can easily cost you a full grade. The biggest exam 'crime' is to leave suitable questions unattempted. Remember: it is much easier to get the first 20% of the marks for any question than the last 5%. Therefore, if you find yourself stuck for time as you struggle through your third answer out of five, do not spend your remaining time extending and perfecting that answer. Instead, move on to questions four and five, even if your attempt is sketched or in point form. If you have answered only three questions instead of five, the highest mark you can get is 60%.
Ignoring the marking scheme You must take the marking scheme into account when you allocate time to each question or part of a question. If the marks allotted to a question clearly indicate that a few paragraphs are sufficient, do not write an essay on the subject. Avoid the temptation of writing everything you know about a topic – just give the appropriate amount of information.
Repetition Make the point once. There are no extra marks for restating facts, even if you phrase them differently. Examiners say repetition is a very common mistake. It is also a time-waster and an irritant.
Make a start ….
Devise a revision timetable for April / May
Get yourself folders, highlighters and post it / cue cards
Find out exam dates and important social dates
Clear your workspace
Check your notes are complete
Work out strengths and weaknesses
Start to compile a case study fact file
Check the website for past papers
Check the blogs and podcast website
Kielder Dam / Reservoir Bangladesh Flooding poor country Boscastle Flooding Rich country Rivers Asian Tsunami Tsunami Sichuan, Kashmir Earthquake Kobe Earthquake Alps, Andes Fold mountains Yellowstone Supervolcano Mt St Helens Montserrat, Volcano Rich country Restless earth Case study Topic Syllabus
Cyclone Nargis Tropical storms – poor country Hurricane Katrina Tropical storms – rich country Weather and climate Coastal habitat Happisburgh Coastal management Yorkshire Recent Cliff collapse Happisburgh Essex marshes Political, economic, environmental and social costs of coastal flooding Coasts Alps Winter sports and management Glaciation