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Exam technique

Page history last edited by K J Hutchinson 14 years, 7 months ago

Exam technique - general hints and tips


You will take three exams in Geography. Each of them is worth 25% of your final mark. The final 25% is your controlled assessment.


Each exam will last 1 hour and will contain two questions. YOU ONLY ANSWER ONE OF THESE QUESTIONS. For Paper 1 'Managing Places in the 21st Century', you will only answer Section A on the coastal environment. You will leave section B blank as we haven't studied it.


Within each section of the exam paper there will be a series of smaller questions. These will range in marks from 1 to 9. You will write your answers into the exam booklet. The paper will be marked out of 50, so you have a little over 1 minute for each mark.


Read the questions carefully

Every year, lots of candidiates lose lots of marks because they misread the question, or answered the question they hoped the examiner would ask rather than the one that has been set.

Don't let this be you!

Try underlining the exam command words to remind yourself of exactly what the examiner wants you to do. The most frequently used command words, and what they mean, can be seen here.


Use the available resources

It costs the exam board a lot of money to produce maps, photographs and diagrams for the exams. They do it for a reason! Make sure that you use them to help you show what a good geographer you are. Look at the resources carefully and use the information from them in your answers - for example, Photograph A shows that a series of groynes have been built along the seafront at Sheringham where the building density is high.


Use your own background knowledge

The examiner will often ask you to write about places you have studied. You must write about real places - make sure you name and locate them (say where they are). If you can't remember the examples we have studied in lessons, then use your common sense... somewhere you've seen on TV, read about, visited on holidays etc. Still no ideas? Then make it up! It's far better to write something than to leave a question blank. No answer definitely means no marks. A well-made-up answer could get some marks (if it is believable!) and mean the difference between a lower and a higher grade.


It's a geography exam, so make sure you think and write geographically!

Try to include as many geographical terms as you can - this shows the examiner that you are a high-class candidate! Remember to SEE the world in your answers (social, economic and environmental) to score top marks. For more information about SEE, click here.


If you are completely stuck...

Leave the question blank and come back to it later. BUT MAKE SURE THAT YOU DO COME BACK TO IT! Still unsure? Check the keywords in the question and write everything you can remember about them - you might get some marks for it. No answer definitely means no marks, so never leave a question blank!


Extra exam technique resources here

SEE technique

Exam command words

How your answers will be marked

Calculating your grade


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