GCSE REVISION GUIDE - 1 - Exam Technique

There are two written papers:
(A) Written Component One. Weighting: 40% of total assessment. Length of Examination: Paper 1 hours.This will comprise two sections:
Section A: Examines skills (click on link for a full list) related to Ordnance Survey mapwork, photographs, sketch maps, cross-sections, satellite images and other resources. This section will have a UK context and will be worth 24 marks.
Section B: Seven resource-based, short structured questions. You will be required to answer three physical geography questions. (Coasts, Rivers and Glaciation). Each question is worth 15 marks. Total Marks = 69
(B) Written Component Two. Weighting: 35% of total assessment. Length of Examination: 1 hours. This will comprise three sections, each with two resource-based, structured questions. You will be required to answer three human geography questions, one from each section (Settlement, Industry and Development or Interdependence). Each question is worth 25 marks. Total Marks = 75


1 It is very important that you include as an essential part of your preparation for the forthcoming geography examinations (and many of the following guidelines will apply equally to other subjects) careful attention to the avoidance of so called rubric errors and to develop/follow advice on elements of examination strategy.

2 You must know the structure of the examinations and which questions you have been specifically prepared to answer.

3 Paper 1 - Section A (Geographical Skills) You must answer all the questions. This section of the paper will relate to a Ordnance Survey Map (1:5000 or 1:25000 scale) extract where the meaning of the symbols will be provided in a key. Other stimulus material (vertical/oblique photographs, satellite images, tables of data, various types of graphs and diagrams will be provided (for completion, description, comparison etc). Do not rush and risk making costly errors. Always provide units of measurement or read off data from diagrams and their keys in full. You must avoid wasting time by choosing to complete diagrams in an inefficient manner (e.g. full colour shading rather than dots/lines, providing a copy rather than a sketch). Do not be tempted to repeat case study material in this section (it will be useful only to help your understanding and to improve the quality of your analysis.

4 Paper 1 - Physical Geography
Paper 2 - Settlement/Industry/Development Even if the question does not specifically ask for factual information, examples or case studies, to achieve the highest level of response you are expected to provide these to illustrate and verify your ideas. Ensure that you have learned locational knowledge and can quote case studies from appropriate scales - Global, International, European, UK, Regional and Local.
Write according to the mark allocation, do not waste 5 minutes on 1 mark ! Of equal importance is the need to write efficiently and according to the space allocated (which is ample and there should be no need to write in the margins of on extra paper). Think carefully about what you are going to say (and how you are going to express it) before committing pen to paper. Avoid vague adjectives to describe data or recalled information e.g. good or bad weather.
Read the wording of the questions very carefully and concentrate on the command words within the question e.g. describe, explain, compare and contrast etc (see appendix). Ensure that when asked to analyse patterns on graphs or maps or even tables of raw data, you look for trends and fluctuations. You must avoid repetition of raw data. Reorganise information into rates of change, percentages or summary patterns e.g. exponential rises in population growth. If you are unsure of an answer, leave that part (don't dwell on it too long) and pass on to the next question.


1 Always check your work when you have completed a paper, do not sit there feeling pleased with yourself for having finished before others !

2 Do not forget that both papers will be marked for the quality of your spelling, punctuation, grammar and use of technical language (frequency/appropriateness). Please bare this in mind in your preparation and especially in the examination room.