How to revise for A-level Environmental Science exams: AQA explains what to do

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Exam and revision advice to help you get your target grades in A-level Environmental Science

When you're revising for your A-level exams, you want to make the most of your study time.

So, we invited the experts at the AQA exam board to share their tips and advice on preparing for A-level Environmental Science exams.

The article that follows has been written by an AQA curriculum expert, based on their years of experience in the assessment of their subject.  

You can find more articles in this series, covering a range of subjects at both GCSE and A-level, over on our revision section.

Also on The Student Room, you can find student discussion of 2024 A-level exams.

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  1. Use scientific language: High-scoring answers generally use appropriate scientific terminology in the right context. Lower scoring answers tend to be vague and/or don’t use the appropriate scientific language.
  2. Read the question carefully and respond specifically to the command word(s) and the context given in each question. Try to make sure you’re answering the question being asked, rather than the question you’d like to be asked.
  3. Overall, at least 10% of the marks in assessments for Environmental Science will require the use of mathematical skills and these skills will be applied in the context of environmental science. Make sure that you have seen all the maths skills you need to have at the end of the specification and ensure that you understand them all.
  4. In any calculation question it’s a good idea to show your working as there may be compensatory marks available for earlier steps even if your final answer is incorrect.
  5. You’ll have been given the opportunity to carry out investigative/practical activities which cover the requirements. Overall, at least 15% of the marks for A-level Environmental Science qualification will require the assessment of practical skills so make sure that you have seen all the Methodologies, Sampling Techniques and Practical skills and ensure that you understand them all.
  6. Before tackling an extended response question (9 marks), you should take care to read the question thoroughly and underline key words and command words to make sure you answer all parts of the question. These questions will sometimes provide guidance in the form of ‘in your answer you should include…’
  7. To score the highest marks in the essay question on both Paper 1 and Paper 2, a comprehensive response with a clear and sustained focus needs to be provided. Content will need to be accurate and detailed, and relationships identified, reflecting the holistic nature of environmental science. The answer needs to be coherent. Make sure you spend some time looking at the generic essay mark scheme as that will provide you with all the detailed guidance you need.
  8. Examiners deliberately count the numbers of answer lines they provide for each question to make sure there is enough space for your answer. You should only need extra pages if you need to cross out incorrect work.
  9. Make sure that you don’t contradict yourself. Make sure you cross out anything that you don’t want to be marked, particularly if you’re using an additional page.
  10. Don’t rush. You can avoid common errors if you take a little more time to understand the nature of data given in a question before attempting an answer. There are multiple choice questions in the body of both papers, and you’ll find some harder than others – so, if you’re running out of time, make sure you answer every multiple-choice question.
  11. Keep going. If you don’t understand the question, move on to the next one and come back to it later.
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