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How to do well at gcse
Preparing for GCSE Geography Exams Learning the “ Tricks of the Trade”
A simple fact! The line drawn between different grades has to be drawn somewhere! (Summer 2007 Paper 2 grade boundaries used for illustration) A* 58 A 48 B 41 C 28 D N/A E N/A F N/A G One mark may make all the difference! I know I’m good at this subject, but I ran out of time! I got 57. I needed a C grade to do “A” Level, but I forgot to revise a case study! I got 40.
Immediately after certificates are issued, each school receives advice from the exam board. Part of the advice is on improving exam technique. This presentation summarises the advice given over a number of years. Examiner’s Reports
RUBRIC! <ul><li>This refers to organisational aspects of the exam paper, issues such as ..…….. </li></ul><ul><li>The numbering and lettering system used on the exam paper. </li></ul><ul><li>The information required on the front cover of the exam paper </li></ul><ul><li>Writing extended answers in additional space. </li></ul>What could possibly go wrong in respect to Rubric?
You need to know that most examiners are Geography teachers. They have already completed a full days work at school before they begin their marking! Faced with as many as 400 exam scripts to mark, in a three-week period……. …… most start work in the early evening and work late. It could be your script which is being marked at the end of a long evening. Keep the examiner on your side by following rubric rules. Marking into the evening
Follow the rubric and keep examiners on your side! The selected questions are not always entered on the front cover!
Not enough room on the exam paper? Ask for some extension sheets, or write on the additional pages in the answer booklet BUT … Always write in the margin the question number / sub section letter / number, e.g. Q3 (a) ii Examiners are only human. Keep them on your side. It could mean the difference of one mark!
Running out of time in the exam Each exam paper provides you with a different challenge in terms of time keeping. As we approach the exam, you will get plenty of advice on this. However…………………………….. You can learn the most basic time-keeping lesson of all. Don’t repeat the question! Q: How far does the traveller have to go before reaching Nairobi? A: The traveller has to go 10 kms before reaching Nairobi. A: 10 kms.
Still on the theme of optimising time….. How much should you write? Part of the answer to this issue is to look at the number of marks available. A question worth only 2 marks…… “Describe the location of the River Ebro”……. … . should have a brief answer……………. <ul><li>In the north of Spain ✔ </li></ul><ul><li>Flowing through Zaragoza ✔ </li></ul>
A question worth 3 marks…………….. … .” Describe changes in world population”…. … . is likely to have a longer answer, perhaps with three strands in it….. <ul><li>1000 – 1750 The population was rising slowly ✔ </li></ul><ul><li>1750 – 2000 The population went up rapidly ✔ </li></ul><ul><li>The figure is now over 6 billion people ✔ </li></ul>
Command Words Suggest Compare Describe List Identify Explain Describe Relax, describe questions are relatively easy as long as you remember that the examiners are only asking you to state what you can see (on a photo, a diagram, a graph etc.) Explain These questions are harder, you will have to show your understanding by giving reasons for something. Every year, very able students waste valuable seconds by explaining something, when the COMMAND WORD simply asks them to describe something.
Describe this shanty town (2 marks) ….. <ul><li>The houses are made from scrap materials ✔ </li></ul><ul><li>The houses are built on stilts over the water✔ </li></ul>How might an able, enthusiastic student, but with poor exam technique, waste their time when answering this question?
Explain how conditions like these cause poor health (2 marks) ……. Reason 1: No sanitation leads to disease ✔ Reason 2: Poor quality building materials give little shelter from the wind and rain ✔ Note the change of COMMAND WORD. Note that this question is still only worth 2 marks…………
But what would you do, if the question was worth 4 marks? Explain, giving two reasons (2 marks) Reason 1: No sanitation leads to disease ✔ Reason 2: Poor quality building materials give little shelter from the wind and rain ✔ Explain, giving two reasons (4 marks) Reason 1: No sanitation leads to disease ✔ ….. If human waste is left around, it can cause Cholera ✔ Reason 2: Poor quality building materials give little shelter from the wind and rain ✔ Faced with a hurricane or the Monsoon, people inside would suffer, the building could collapse ✔
Another command word list . List two positive and two negative outcomes of tourism for St Lucia. Tourism is a mixed blessing for St Lucia because…. “ Tourists create jobs such as taxi drivers and they buy souvenirs made in local workshops. We have however, noticed an increase in crime on the island and occasionally there are shortages of water.” This is an accurate answer……. …… .. but remember, it might be late at night when it’s marked!
List two positive and two negative outcomes of tourism for St Lucia. Tourism is a mixed blessing for St Lucia because…. Remember, the command word was list . This is a similar answer, but why is it more helpful to the examiner? Occasionally there are water shortages Tourists buy souvenirs from local people Crime rates have increased Jobs are created, such as taxi drivers Negative Positive
Another command word! Compare….. 75% of people live in cities in the USA, the figure is 33% in China. You live until you are 76 in the USA and until you are 58 in China In the US the number of people living in cities is much higher than in China In the US you live until you are 76, whereas in China you only live until you are 58 Use comparative words! Don’t just list, like in the answer appearing above. “ whilst” “ however” “ worse” “ higher” “ whereas” “ on the other hand” “ better” “ lower”
When graphs are provided on the exam paper, two commands often follow…………………….. ……… Use data and ……… Identify trends Most students have no problem using data when instructed to do so…… What was the population of Pakistan in 1901? (1 mark) Work out the increase in population from 1901 to 2001 (2 marks) The problem appears to arise when they are asked to identify trends!
Study the graph showing population change in Pakistan. Describe the trend between 1901 and 2001. (4 marks) <ul><li>many students forget to use data in their answer </li></ul><ul><li>the second issue is that they are unclear about the term “identify trends” </li></ul>The answer below would secure full marks, ……………… why? “ The trend was upwards with a huge increase of 130 million people In recent times, the rate of growth has gone up particularly from the period 1961 / 71 onwards, when the increase was from 55m to 145m”
Using Ordnance Survey maps Most students cope well with “skills” questions…. What is the grid reference of …? How far is it from ** to ** ? What is the direction of… …… from …………? … . but when it comes to showing UNDERSTANDING , using MAP EVIDENCE , students often fall well short of a good answer. 2007
Use map evidence to explain why this area was a good site for a reservoir (4 marks) “ They have a lot of rain and the rocks don’t let water through.” Suggest a number of reasons why the answer appearing above is a weak answer…….. This is much better…….. Why? <ul><li>The area has several rivers feeding it, such as the Rio Jatar at GR 211912, this would keep the reservoir full. </li></ul><ul><li>> The contour lines (as high as 1000m), are close to each other leading down to the reservoir at 833m, this means a steep slope, suggesting deep water. </li></ul>
Using Photographs When students are asked to describe what they see on a photograph, the question itself is relatively easy, but we notice that students tend to give lazy answers . They don’t pick up all the marks available. AVOID THIS! Describe the natural processes at work on the photograph (4 marks) The sea is attacking the cliff and the cliffs are slumping into the sea. The storm waves are attacking the base of the cliff with processes such as hydraulic action and corrasion. The vegetation along the cliffs suggest that they are slumping down due to mass movement.
Using sketch maps However, they must be drawn quickly and you MUST follow some key rules……….. You are often encouraged to draw a sketch map to enhance your answer.
On the 2007 exam paper, a question required candidates to show knowledge of the location of an economic activity One candidate used the “Patent Office” in Newport as their case study, the sketch map gained valuable marks as it contained essential detail… Good sketch maps always have a north arrow … .and an idea of scale The content reveals a good knowledge of FACTS and LOCATION The purpose of the sketch map is clear, it has a title!
Case Studies On Paper 1 (Foundation) and Paper 2 (Higher), each question ends with a “case study”. This is where you are expected to provide information / facts about a specific place or location you have studied, to show your understanding of a topic. You need to revise your case studies carefully as the answers are worth a total of: 15 marks on the Foundation Paper … .. and 24 marks on the Higher Paper !!!!!!!
On the 2007 paper, case studies were based on… Ecosystem exploitation A High Pressure weather event Flooding in an MEDC A river landform Trading between countries The location of an economic activity
Learning your case studies… Throughout the course, the Geography Department has used a range of ways to ensure that case studies are remembered and used appropriately in the exam. With regard to “tricks of the trade”, an important starting point is to make sure that you know how case studies are marked by the examiners. At first, the mark scheme – called a “Levels of Response” mark scheme, appears to be a little complicated……….
This is the mark scheme for all case study questions on the Foundation Paper : Level 1: Choice of case study applied reasonably well. Gives simple description or explanation. Information is communicated by brief statements. [1 / 2 marks] Level 2: Appropriate choice of case study applied well. Gives descriptive points with some explanation. Communication includes some use of specialist terms. Some accuracy in spelling, punctuation and grammar. [3 / 4 marks] Level 3: Appropriate choice of case study applied very well. Provides a balanced account which includes specific description and explanation. Communication logical and includes specialist terms. Spelling, punctuation and grammar have considerable accuracy. [5 marks] The best way to understand how the mark scheme works and how to improve your own answers, is to mark the work of students from a previous exam. We have a ready made exercise to help you with this The Levels of Response Mark Scheme
<ul><li>The question: On the 2007 paper, question B3, ended with a case study about the effects of flooding in an MEDC. </li></ul><ul><li>CASE STUDY: The effects of a flood on people in a More Economically Developed Country (MEDC). </li></ul><ul><li>Candidates were required to say which specific flood they were going to use for their case study. </li></ul><ul><li>They were asked to describe the way the flood affected people and to explain the causes of the flood. </li></ul>An example from the marking exercise… In the marking exercise, three different answers are provided, you will be asked to suggest the level and the mark each answer deserves.
Answer 1 Africa It left people homeless and left them with no food not one little bit it has also left them with no clean water so now would have to drink the moody dirty water. …………… more Answer 2 Ironbridge The flooding affects people because they lose their homes, jobs, friends, family, buisenesses and many more, but this affects them aswell because they may not have enough money to replace things like their homes and buisenesses…. more Answer 3 Boscastle No people dieded because of news reports warnings. They lost their homes, cars, some pets, livestock, telegraph poles. People where homeless months after the massive flood…. more You may be asked to carry out the marking exercise for the Higher Paper. Different answers are provided. You will notice that the mark scheme is similar, but the Levels of Response are different…… The Marking Exercise Learning the tricks of the trade with regard to case studies is a really good way to boost your chances of success. You need to avoid this…
I should have started to revise my case studies much earlier! The line drawn between different grades has to be drawn somewhere! A* 58 A 48 B 41 C 28 D N/A E N/A F N/A G I needed a C grade to do “A” Level, but I forgot some of my case studies! I got a mark of 40
A* 58 A 48 B 41 C 28 D N/A E N/A F N/A G In summary, remember… One mark may make all the difference! Whatever grade you are hoping for, use the “tricks of the trade” to ensure that you maximise your chances! The line drawn between different grades has to be drawn somewhere! (Summer 2007 Paper 2 grade boundaries used for illustration) or or Good luck!