GCSE Business Studies exams and revision: AQA explains what you need to do

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Our series on exam advice continues with tips from AQA on GCSE Business Studies

To help you make the most of your remaining revision time, we’ve worked with exam board AQA to create a series of exam advice articles.

In each of these features, you’ll find advice and easy-to-follow tips written by one of AQA’s subject matter experts.

Read on to get the inside track on GCSE Business Studies, direct from the people who make the exams.

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Case study questions

Make sure you read the items and figures in the case study carefully. Where a question asks you to use an item or a figure, make sure you do this and answer the question about the context you’ve been given in the case study. But don’t just tell the examiner everything you know about the case study - stop and think ‘does this help to answer the question?’

Some questions will require you to do something with numerical data in an item, so be prepared perform calculations on relevant data.

Questions requiring calculations

If a question asks you to use a formula to perform a calculation, make sure you state the formula and show all your workings. Double-check your working to make sure you haven’t made any errors.

Be accurate when rounding numbers and show your answer to the correct number of decimal places requested.

Don’t forget to use the unit in your answer. If the calculation is about money, remember the £ sign. If it’s about ARR, remember the % sign.

Tackling multiple choice questions

Multiple choice questions have one right answer, so only mark one. If you select more than one, you’ll get zero - so clearly cross out if you mark one by mistake.

When revising multiple choice questions and tackling them in the exam, make sure you read the four choices very carefully. For some multiple choice questions, the four answer options will be similar, with just one or two words that are different. Always read all four options before you decide on your answer.

Answer the question being asked

Shape your answer to the question that’s been asked. Make sure you’re answering the question by paying attention to the command words and the context of the question. For example…

  • “Explain” means to give reason(s).
  • “Recommend” requires you to make a decision and give reasons for your decision.
  • “Analyse” requires a chain of reasoning to examine the impact or effect of something.
  • “Evaluate” requires you to weigh up the evidence presented to you in the question along with your own business knowledge. Usually you’ll come to a conclusion based on your analysis and your evaluation of the demands of the question.

Take time to think about your response to 9 and 12-mark questions

Recognise the importance of taking time to think and plan longer answers. Think about your overall decision if appropriate. Do you agree or disagree? How much do you agree? In these types of question it doesn’t matter whether you agree or disagree; the important thing is to use clear evidence to back up your view.

Consider what information might help you show the examiner the reason for your decision. It’s important that you can confidently say why you’ve come to that particular conclusion.

Don’t spend too much time writing an introduction to your answer, but always remember to include your judgement and conclusion. Your answer should be well-organised and structured, and written in a logical way.

When writing answers, use sentences - not bullet points. Include evidence from the case study if directed to do so in the question. But if you can’t remember an example or case study, you can still earn marks for answering the question in more general terms, using evidence to back up each point.

If you’re not sure… have a go

Try not to worry about questions you’re unsure about. The important thing is that you come back to them and have a go at an answer.

If the question is multiple choice, eliminate the answers you know are wrong and choose your answer from the ones you have left.

If you’re unsure about the information from a case study, think about it, plan what you might respond with, and try to write the best answer you can.

Be aware of timing

Both papers allow 1 hour and 45 minutes. After taking time to carefully read the case study materials, the number of marks available is roughly equivalent to the number of minutes you should spend on the question. So a 9-mark question should take no longer than 9-10 minutes to complete. Don’t spend too long on the earlier questions and run the risk of running out of time later.

Use business key terms

Become familiar with the business terms used in the subject, so you can use them precisely and correctly in your answer and be able to show your knowledge of them. Build up a glossary of words for each topic.

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Good luck from AQA

AQA believes everyone has the potential to achieve, and we make sure our qualifications give all students the opportunity to show what they can do and progress to the next stage of their lives.

Our subject experts worked with The Student Room so we can reach as many students as possible with advice on how to approach your revision and exams. We wish you well in the weeks ahead, and don’t forget to look after yourselves too: eat well, sleep well and tell someone how you’re feeling if there are days when things don’t go so well or you don’t feel so good.

 Good luck!