Geography A Level Essays

  • It seems like a big jump from gcse, from writing no essays to lots.
    Just wondering any tips?
    Key things to include?
    Structure??
    How to get good marks?

    Thanks!

  • As long as you know your case studies you'll be fine, that's the biggest difference from gcse. Just be prepared to talk about a few in a bit of depth, and drop any relevant facts/figures you've read (from news, etc.) in to back up your points. And if you can't quite remember a fact or statistic, don't be afraid to make a guess, as long as its not too implausible. They're not going to check every figure, and they won't penalise you if you're wrong. I just made a page for each main case study and some more general stuff, and learned as much of it as I could. Good luck, feel free to ask anything else about it

  • From assessment objectives..

    AO1 Knowledge and understanding - it means you have to understand theories, and remember facts accurately from case studies; show the examiner that you UNDERSTAND what you're being asked and show that you've got the KNOWLEDGE. to show your knowledge it would be best to define key terms in your introductory paragraph, and then expand in detail in later paragraphs.

    AO2 Application and analysis - apply the case studies to SUPPORT your points. for example, in the first sentence of each paragraph you state your point and then you use 'for example, in ...' (evidence) to support your point. analyse the evidence as well, that is, to look at the evidence at a wider or deeper dimension...APPLICATION is key - you can't get marks from just writing out all the facts from case studies. you MUST apply them to your answer.

    AO3 Communication and structure - a good introduction is important, you should put definitions, outline what you're gonna look at in your essay and what case studies are you gonna use. intro is used to give a clear picture to the examiner of what are you gonna say. after writing a few paragraphs, CONCLUSION is extremely important. using previous paragraphs to clearly state your conclusion. don't just use one or two sentence. make it about 4 to 5 lines at least (depends on your handwriting..).

    P.S. i'm still an A2 level geography student but hopefully it helps!

  • Although the content and information that you put in an essay will change depending on what topic it is on, a logical and coherent structure (part of the mark scheme) is essential in getting top marks.

    How it should be structured:

    1. Read the question carefully. What kinds of phrases stand out? i.e. 'Explain', 'Examine', 'Evaluate' - these all lead to various structures and ways of answering the question.

    2. Introduction - key (especially for a 15 mark essay) - provides the examiner a insight into a student's understanding of the context and the key words (which should be defined) of the question. State your argument/stance on the question. Perhaps include a key fact if you have time.

    3. Main body - This may seem overwhelming at first. Make it simpler by choosing thematic/topical points based on the question and following this structure: Point, Evidence, Explanation, Link to the question (PEEL). Make sure that in the point, you are answering the question. Make sure you paragraph and keep the structure clear. This will help you to ensure a clear argument throughout. Provide case studies to exemplify knowledge and to strengthen your points/argument.

    4. Conclusion - Draw together the various points made in the main body of the essay. Summarise the arguments you have made; reiterate your argument and link back to the question.

    Notes: Be synoptic! This is key to make sure you get into the top band of marks - shows the examiner that you are well-rounded; illustrates a better understanding of the fundamental basis of geography as an area of study. Timing is important - for 15/20 markers allows for around 20 minutes, for 12/10 markers, aim for around 15 mins. Spelling, punctuation and grammar are important. Make sure you know what the exam board are asking for i.e. Edexcel

    • AO1 Knowledge and understanding - application of theories, case studies etc. to show understanding and knowledge; "accurate and relevant geographical knowledge and understanding throughout".
    • AO2 Application and analysis - using case studies to strengthen your points and argument; synopticity
    • AO3 Communication and structure - logical and coherent organisation of essay.

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