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How to revise a level geography ?

Hi I currently take Aqa A level geography , I got a 6 at gcse and I think that could be because I didn’t put much effort in but I want that to change for year 12. However, so far with geo I’m struggling quite a lot with just learning content and answering exam questions especially. Anytime I try to answer an exam question I get low marks and I just wanted to ask how do I improve on my knowledge and exam skills?? Is it even possible to do that when I’m currently so bad at the subject ?
hi! i do OCR geography a level but i assume this advice will still be relevant:

1) firstly make good class notes! listen to what your teacher says and make sure to right it down
2) before revising, what i like to do is condense my class notes into mindmaps, highlighting key information (make sure you have LOTS of numbers, places, names!!!!)
3) during revision i will read my mindmap information out loud, then cover it and use a whiteboard to try and write down as much information as i can remember. once i’ve written everything i can i look at what information i’ve missed and write this in a different colour. i keep doing this until i’m no longer missing any information

in terms of exam advice:
- reading the question properly and underlining key terms
- making a short plan and jotting down key information before writing answer to make sure you include everything
- try and use PEEL paragraphs (point evidence explain and link back to question)

i really hope this helps! if you need more help i’m happy to give more advice :smile:
Reply 2
Hi! I got an A* in AQA Geography this year, moving up from a 7 at gcse, these are my tips:

Some tips focused specifically on AQA A Level Geography:

1. Format your notes around the exam question structure, especially for physical. So what I would do, is every time we got given a concept/key term in a lesson, I would go home and draft an answer around the standard 4 mark question (explain the key concepts of etc.). By doing this, you will get a really solid understanding of both the topic, and how to answer this sort of question later on. Same goes for 6, 9 and 20 markers - every time I would learn about a strategy or process, I would then write a longer question evaluating this. Make sure that if this is some form of human intervention you are discussing, you make your own judgement - you cannot score highly in the 20 mark if you don't give a justified conclusion.

2. Make sure you understand the beginning of each topic really thoroughly! I cannot stress this enough. Often in AQA geography, you have to link back to the foundation of the topic (E.g I did global systems and global governance, and often the questions on each sub topic needed me to reference how these influenced globalisation. For example, later topics would be global governance or trade blocs, and a final question would be "trade blocs are central to economic globalisation, to what extent do you agree with this view?". Even though this question uses knowledge from the whole module, a lot relies on understanding the foundations of the content, so make sure you know this well)

3. When you complete your NEA, keep this organised, and to the best standard you can manage. Choose a question thats manageable, but gives you a lot of opportunity to demonstrate skill and knowledge. Sometimes simple is better - I wrote a stupidly hard question, that was near impossible to evaluate, and was clutching at secondary data a lot, but I know that some of my friends chose a far simpler route and still got through with similar marks.

4. Refine your data analysis skills - in the final exam you will have 6 questions all of the same format - Analyse the data shown in the figure above (6 marks). Every time you encounter some sort of data source, have a go jotting down anything interesting, any trends or patterns you can see. This will be brilliant to prepare for exams, and if you do this regularly, you will find 36 marks easily available in your final exam.

5. With case studies, make sure you understand where this fit within their original module, and how specific aspects fit into specific subtopics - when writing answers involving these, you don't want to just add in a random fact that could possibly be relevant but you want to explain how this fits into your argument as an example. For example, with the Montserrat 1999 Eruption, you can write about:
1) secondary hazards that arose from the built environment on the island if you were asked about the relation of human activity to a hazard
2) how the plate tectonics of the environment led to different hazards, if you were asked about the importance of plate tectonic theory
3) how the strategies implemented afterwards are examples of mitigation, planning etc. if you were asked about the human strategies around hazards.

These are all techniques for improving exam response and question answer. In terms of general revision advice, someone has already responded with some great ideas! I personally recommend using quizlet for learning statistics, and practice rewriting processes on a whiteboard to commit this to memory. Practice exam questions to time, and always give these to a teacher for feedback - they will know best where you are at, and how you can improve. Set yourself some achievable shorter term goals, (I.e I will complete one 20 marker this week, and perfect it until I am above 14, I will complete my notes for this topic and research some additional statistics for an essay, and I will revise one theory point until I know it inside out). Once you can start working towards these, you will be on the way to improve.

Best of luck with your studies, and I hope these help somewhat. It's always possible to improve somehow, and you are setting off in the right direction by committing to it so early on. The best thing you can do at this stage is prepare yourself for upcoming tests and exams, try and fully understand topics, and practise your essay technique. Once you have started on this, your second year will come a lot easier. I hope some of these work out for you!!
Reply 3
Original post by rosegoldsheeran
hi! i do OCR geography a level but i assume this advice will still be relevant:

1) firstly make good class notes! listen to what your teacher says and make sure to right it down
2) before revising, what i like to do is condense my class notes into mindmaps, highlighting key information (make sure you have LOTS of numbers, places, names!!!!)
3) during revision i will read my mindmap information out loud, then cover it and use a whiteboard to try and write down as much information as i can remember. once i’ve written everything i can i look at what information i’ve missed and write this in a different colour. i keep doing this until i’m no longer missing any information

in terms of exam advice:
- reading the question properly and underlining key terms
- making a short plan and jotting down key information before writing answer to make sure you include everything
- try and use PEEL paragraphs (point evidence explain and link back to question)

i really hope this helps! if you need more help i’m happy to give more advice :smile:

thank you!!
Reply 4
Original post by Fido100
Hi! I got an A* in AQA Geography this year, moving up from a 7 at gcse, these are my tips:

Some tips focused specifically on AQA A Level Geography:

1. Format your notes around the exam question structure, especially for physical. So what I would do, is every time we got given a concept/key term in a lesson, I would go home and draft an answer around the standard 4 mark question (explain the key concepts of etc.). By doing this, you will get a really solid understanding of both the topic, and how to answer this sort of question later on. Same goes for 6, 9 and 20 markers - every time I would learn about a strategy or process, I would then write a longer question evaluating this. Make sure that if this is some form of human intervention you are discussing, you make your own judgement - you cannot score highly in the 20 mark if you don't give a justified conclusion.

2. Make sure you understand the beginning of each topic really thoroughly! I cannot stress this enough. Often in AQA geography, you have to link back to the foundation of the topic (E.g I did global systems and global governance, and often the questions on each sub topic needed me to reference how these influenced globalisation. For example, later topics would be global governance or trade blocs, and a final question would be "trade blocs are central to economic globalisation, to what extent do you agree with this view?". Even though this question uses knowledge from the whole module, a lot relies on understanding the foundations of the content, so make sure you know this well)

3. When you complete your NEA, keep this organised, and to the best standard you can manage. Choose a question thats manageable, but gives you a lot of opportunity to demonstrate skill and knowledge. Sometimes simple is better - I wrote a stupidly hard question, that was near impossible to evaluate, and was clutching at secondary data a lot, but I know that some of my friends chose a far simpler route and still got through with similar marks.

4. Refine your data analysis skills - in the final exam you will have 6 questions all of the same format - Analyse the data shown in the figure above (6 marks). Every time you encounter some sort of data source, have a go jotting down anything interesting, any trends or patterns you can see. This will be brilliant to prepare for exams, and if you do this regularly, you will find 36 marks easily available in your final exam.

5. With case studies, make sure you understand where this fit within their original module, and how specific aspects fit into specific subtopics - when writing answers involving these, you don't want to just add in a random fact that could possibly be relevant but you want to explain how this fits into your argument as an example. For example, with the Montserrat 1999 Eruption, you can write about:
1) secondary hazards that arose from the built environment on the island if you were asked about the relation of human activity to a hazard
2) how the plate tectonics of the environment led to different hazards, if you were asked about the importance of plate tectonic theory
3) how the strategies implemented afterwards are examples of mitigation, planning etc. if you were asked about the human strategies around hazards.

These are all techniques for improving exam response and question answer. In terms of general revision advice, someone has already responded with some great ideas! I personally recommend using quizlet for learning statistics, and practice rewriting processes on a whiteboard to commit this to memory. Practice exam questions to time, and always give these to a teacher for feedback - they will know best where you are at, and how you can improve. Set yourself some achievable shorter term goals, (I.e I will complete one 20 marker this week, and perfect it until I am above 14, I will complete my notes for this topic and research some additional statistics for an essay, and I will revise one theory point until I know it inside out). Once you can start working towards these, you will be on the way to improve.

Best of luck with your studies, and I hope these help somewhat. It's always possible to improve somehow, and you are setting off in the right direction by committing to it so early on. The best thing you can do at this stage is prepare yourself for upcoming tests and exams, try and fully understand topics, and practise your essay technique. Once you have started on this, your second year will come a lot easier. I hope some of these work out for you!!


wow, I want to thank you so so so much for this advice, I'm definitely gonna take it all into consideration!! I just hope that I really do improve. also, when you mentioned foundation of the topics, did you mean key words and definitions?
Original post by safahh
Hi I currently take Aqa A level geography , I got a 6 at gcse and I think that could be because I didn’t put much effort in but I want that to change for year 12. However, so far with geo I’m struggling quite a lot with just learning content and answering exam questions especially. Anytime I try to answer an exam question I get low marks and I just wanted to ask how do I improve on my knowledge and exam skills?? Is it even possible to do that when I’m currently so bad at the subject ?


Make sure you make notes and keep them up to date.
I found that the more exam questions i did- the better i got. So id hammer the past papers.
Original post by safahh
Hi I currently take Aqa A level geography , I got a 6 at gcse and I think that could be because I didn’t put much effort in but I want that to change for year 12. However, so far with geo I’m struggling quite a lot with just learning content and answering exam questions especially. Anytime I try to answer an exam question I get low marks and I just wanted to ask how do I improve on my knowledge and exam skills?? Is it even possible to do that when I’m currently so bad at the subject ?

Heya!
Make good notes, do some additional research outside of the notebook (YT, extra resources), make flashcards,mindmaps and do practice questions by topic to fully grasp the material:h: When doing practice questions, attempt actually doing them first before looking at the mark scheme to check how well you did.

I hope this helps!
Milena G.
UCL PFE
Study Mind

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