Exam Response Guidance
This page provides example questions for Paper 2, it features exam tips and skills advice with some model student responses. It also demonstrates how teachers grade work using the Assessment Objectives so the students can replicate the style and structure of the responses. It includes explanation of the command words, with example responses featuring teacher comment pop-overs, that reference the Assessment Objectives (AOs). These model response refer to all command words and question types, including 10 mark essays. It also includes an important essay guide t be given to all students.
Subject and Command Word Specific!
This is the most important exam tip for students writing responses and instruction for teachers grading responses. The student must always cover the subject in the question and address the command.
Most students struggle to address the command word
Definition questions will be valued at 1 or 2 marks. An full accurate definition is required to attain the marks. Sometimes an example will add value to the response.
Question: the term demographic dividend (2)
Model Response: Demographic dividend is the accelerated economic growth that results from a decline in a country's birth and death rates and the subsequent change in the age structure of the population. With fewer births each year, a country's young dependent population declines in relation to the working-age population. An example of a country experiencing a demographic dividend is Vietnam.
Maintain detailed glossaries of key terms and read through them regularly. Use specialised terminology with accuracy and consistency in all written work.
State is the simplest type of question and must not be over thought. It simply requires you to identify some knowledge
Question: two naturally occurring greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide. (1)
Response: Water vapour and methane
This question will normally feature in reference to a resource such as a map, graph or infographic. Again it requires the skill to read a graphic and pick out a correct answer.
Question: With reference to the map (not shown) two countries that are projected to have the greatest number of megacities by 2050 (1)
Response: China and India
Don't rush these questions. Every year some of the best students drop marks by not taking sufficient time to read a graphic properly.
This question requires you to develop causal explanation. There is a likely to be a number of different answers rather than one or two definites.The response should be fully developed and clearly linked to the question. Knowledge and understanding (AO1) is most important but a degree of analysis may also be required (AO2)
Question: why water consumption is increasing at the global scale (2 +2)
Response: One reason for increasing water consumption is due to the rapidly increasing world population. In many developing countries population is growing exponentially. and this rise increases the need and demand for water.
A second reason is growing global wealth. With Middle Income Countries experiencing rapid economic growth the global demand for consumer goods increases. The demand for water increases because manufactured goods include embedded water, which refers to water used as part of the manufacturing process.
Don't underestimate the two mark question! Your response should be fully developed and demonstrate sound knowledge. There should be clear links to key words in the question. In the example above there are clear links to both global and increasing water consumption.
This command word can feature in shorter 2 questions as well as 10 mark essay questions. It requires you to develop cause and effect as appropriate to the question.
a) and one cause of megacity growth (1 + 2)
b) two positive feedback loops that contribute to climate change (3 + 3)
c) two characteristics of the circular economy (2 + 2)
a) Rapid urbanisation (the movement of people form rural areas to cities) is the most important cause of megacity growth today. It is occurring mainly in developing and emerging economies. A megacity is a city of over 10 million inhabitants. Urbanisation is caused by many push and pull factors. Rapid economic growth and job creation in cities like Beijing and Tianjin in China have attracted millions to migrate from the rural west. In other countries like Nigeria, poverty and lack of opportunity push farmers towards the megacity of Lagos.
b) A positive feedback loop enhances or amplifies a change: this tends to ove a system away from its equilibrium and makes it more unstable. One example contributing to climate change is meting ices sheets. Ice sheets like those in the Arctic have high albedo, reflecting close to 90% of insolation. As these ice sheets retreat due to warming they are replaced with dark ocean. Oceans have low albedo and absorb more insolation and so global climate change is accelerated causing further ice loss and warming.
A second positive feedback loop occurs when the permafrost containing the potent greenhouse gas, methane thaws. As the permafrost thaws increasing amounts of methane is released into the atmosphere. this methane increases the greenhouse effect, which leads to further warming and further thawing of the permafrost.
c) The circular economy mimic natural biological systems and is a regenerative system, in which resource input and waste are minimised, by slowing, narrowing and closing material and energy loops. One characteristics of the circular economy is to recycle materials in used goods. In this was materials, such as precious metal can be reused in cascade of additional products.
Don't underestimate the short explain question! Your response should be fully developed ,including an accurate definition of terminology and clear reference back to the question
For 10 mark essay questions, if explain is the only command word it should be the defining focus of every sentence
This command word is used to question your skills of graph, map and infographic analysis, as well your knowledge of the characteristics of human and physical environments
a) two characteristics of a country in stage two of the Demographic Transition Model (2)
b) Using Figure 1 the pattern of change in Japanese internal migration between 1955 and 2011 (4)
c) Using the map below the pattern of population density in Nigeria (4)
a) The DTM tracks the possible change in population structure of a country as it develop over time. Stage two, known as the Early Expanding stage is characterised by a rapidly rising population due to falling death rates and longer life expectancy, A second characteristic is that of high birth rates and large family size. Towards the end of this stage in the DTM the population size is likely to be growing exponentially.
b) The graph shows two distinct periods in internal migration. Between 1955 and 1974 internal migration increased by 70%, rising rapidly from 5.5 million in 1955 and 5 million in 1956 to 8.5 million in 1974. Between 1975 and 2011 there was a gradual year on year decline in the number of internal migrants, falling by 1 million between 1974 and 1976 and gradually falling to just over 5 million in 2011.
c) Most regions in Nigeria have a population density between 70 and 150 people per km2. The most populated region by far is Lagos, with over 2000 people per km2. Following this, Imo and Anambra in the south have densities in excess of 600 people per km2. In general, population density decreases as you move away from these regions, reaching a low in some central regions such as Niger and Tarab with on 40-50 people per km2. In the north Kano is highest Populated with 500-600 people per km2.
Do not explain when the command word asks you to describe!
Questions Based on Maps
Sometimes maps are used in the resource booklet and questions requires you to describe the data that's shown of describe the characteristics and features. Sometimes understanding of the map is assessed n the question. You should always try to make full use of the map in your response to add sophistication to your response.
With reference to the map explain why population is not evenly distributed in the region shown (4)
Map of Queenstown and Surrounding Region, Australia
The most populated place in the map is most likely Queenstown, this is because it has the A10 road connecting it with other settlements and it proximity to the lake creates viable industries such as fishing and perhaps tourism. The steep relief to its west may offer shelter from extreme weather. Settlement such as Derwent Bridge along the A10 are likely to be smaller due to their remoteness. The 70km section of road shown on the map would be slow due to the nature of the relief. Few if any people will live to the south of the A10 shown on the map die to lack of access and inhospitable terrain that will be too challenging to build infrastructure and settlements.
Always refer to the scale and measure distance and/or area size. If contours are present, describe the relief and height. If grid squares present refer to 4 and 6-figure references. This specific use of the map adds sophistication and value to description.
Drawing Graphs, Diagrams and Maps with the Correct Conventions
Some questions may require you to specifically sketch a graph, diagram or map. Other questions may be improved with the use of graph, diagram or map to support the argument
AO4 specifies that students follow the correct conventions when drawing graphs, diagram and maps. these are as follows
- Graphs - should include a title, axis titles, annotation and an appropriate graph for the data and should be accurate
- Diagrams - should include a frame, title, clear labels and annotation
- Maps - should include a frame, a title, a north arrow, a scale (or statement not drawn to scale) and a key if appropriate
1. How to draw graphs
The following sketch graph shows how to draw graphs with the correct conventions
2. How to draw diagrams
The following sketch graph shows how to draw graphs with the correct conventions
1. How to draw maps
The following sketch map shows how to draw graphs with the correct conventions
Annotation is needed to access top AO4 marks. Annotation should be used to support the argument and link back to the question. Always make a clear reference to your graphic in your text. e.g. see figure 1
The infographic question in section B is new to Paper 2, but the skills it is assessing are not unfamiliar to the Geography student. The infographic will be based on content from the compulsory element of the core.
An infographic is a visual presentation of a set of data and/or information and so therefore conveys a message. The questions based on the infographic amount to 10 marks in total and range from basic 1 mark questions to identify data to more complex questions of interpretation.
An infographic due to its select use of data and presentation intrinsically carries bias. A common theme of questioning within the paper will be to evaluate this bias either through the quality of the graphics or through evaluating the message the infographic attempts to portray. With the latter clear links to course content and alternative perspectives should be linked to.
The infographic shows the generation of electricity in Africa
1. Referring to the infographic:
a) State the number of locations that:
i) have future plans for nuclear power. (1)
ii) already have hydroelectric power. (1)
b) Suggest two ways in which the bar graph depicting electricity generation and population by region could be improved (2)
c) Evaluate two ways in which Africa is portrayed negatively in this infographic, other than in the bar graph (3 +3)
The infographic shows information on fracking for shale gas in the USA
1. Referring to the infographic:
a) State the intended audience for the infographic and justify your answer (1 +2)
b) Suggest a way how the 330 tonnes of chemicals was calculated (1)
c) Examine two ways in which the reliability of the graphic could be questioned (3 +3)
Students can choose any number of things to evaluate with an infographic. These include:
- tone of language
- use of terminology
- use of labels and headings
- sources used
- use of images
- use of colour
- use of data
- intended audience
- scales and proportions or projection of the map
- effectiveness of the key
Discuss the Statement
This essay structure features frequently, especially in Paper 2. The response requires a critical but balanced argument that covers the perspective of the statement as well as other perspectives. You may wish to agree or disagree with the statement but you must show awareness of different perspectives. Academic flare is encouraged through developing a strong argument with good supporting evidence.
"Developing countries are far more likely to be at risk from the impacts of global climate change". To what extent do you agree with this statement? (10)
"Environmental sustainability will never be achieved without population control" To what extent do you agree with this statement? (10)
Use the following essay guide for all 10 mark questions in Paper 1 and Paper 2