Tips from a GCSE Geography Examiner

Now that the exam marking season is over once again, here are my observations after marking hundreds of GCSE Geography papers again this summer.

As usual, there were some excellent answers provided by students, showing their detailed knowledge and understanding of the subject. However, some did not score as well as they could due to some simple errors.

Here are my observations based on my experience marking this year, to help make sure you achieve the best grade you possibly can:

Top Tips

No 1: Do not repeat the question at the start of your answer.

Question: Explain two limitations of emergency aid when responding to natural hazards [4].

Answer: Two limitations of emergency aid when responding to natural hazards are….’ There is no need to repeat the question. I can see it for myself, it is directly above the answer you are about to give. Just launch straight into the answer. There is limited space available, so use it wisely.

No 2 – Make sure your writing is legible. You may be rushing to try and get through the paper, but if I can’t read it, then I can’t award it marks. If you know your handwriting can become messy and difficult to read, you could write IN CAPITALS if this makes it clearer.

No 3 – Stick to the space provided for each individual question.
Papers are now marked on screen after individual questions and answers are scanned. If you do not keep within the boundaries provided, the part of your answer you have squashed down the side or bottom of the page will not appear on my screen, so I will not see it.

Don’t squash your answer up so that it goes outside the margins, use the extra sheets and clearly number the answer that you are continuing – otherwise it will not be attached to the first part when your answer is scanned. As a result, it may not be seen.

No 4 –  In extended answers, structure your sentences. Use sentence starters and connectives – especially when being asked to explain – once you have written something, think ‘so what?’ – elaborate! Make it obvious to the examiner that you are explaining a point e.g. X happened so Y is the result.explain-the-catt-poster
No 5When describing patterns on a world map, be specific. ‘Above the equator’ or ‘below the equator’ is not good enough. Neither is ‘north of the equator’. This covers a huge area. Be specific. e.g ‘in a band between the equator and 15 degrees north’ is much better.

No 6 – When describing the path of something. Use evidence from the map provided (distance, direction, dates etc). Make sure you describe it from start to finish.

Question – Describe the track of Cyclone Nargis  [4 marks]

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Source: BBC News

E.g. ‘From midnight on the 2nd of May the cyclone moved ENE, hitting the coast south west of Labutta at noon on the 2nd of May. From there it travelled 300 km into Burma, hitting Rangoon on 03/05/08, before veering NNE into the west of Thailand….’

‘On Friday 02/05/08 it went towards Burma and then up to Thailand’ is not good enough.

I have also compiled a few additional examples of exam questions, answers and tips here:

David Drake – July 2018

Follow for regular geography related updates @geogabout on Twitter and Facebook

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Year 11 GCSE WJEC B Geography Exam – Thursday 22 May 2014

Although everything you need to prepare is here on the Geography revision page, to make things more obvious, I have taken the most relevant bits you will need to prepare you for the final GCSE Geography exam on Thursday 22 May 2014

Section A of the Exam paper
Theme 3 – Uneven Development and Sustainable Environments
30 minutes

Section B of the exam paper
Decision Making Exercise – based on info provided in the exam
1 hour 30 mins
Good luck – Mr Drake

GCSE WJEC B Geography revision Newsletter 2014

I have just received the 2014 revision newsletter written by one of the examiners at WJEC. It is worth having a read through to remind yourself about some very important points

Download the WJEC B Geography exam Newsletter for 2014

Don’t forget all the revision materials you need are here – GCSE Geography Revision page

You can also access last years papers to practise on here:
Summer 2013 GCSE WJEC B Geography exam papers 

NB – Make sure you only use the Geography B papers to practise on and NOT the Geography A papers!

GCSE and A-Level Geography exam revision

Now is a good time for you to familiarise yourself with the comprehensive revision materials that have been prepared especially for Abbeyfield students following the WJEC B GCSE Geography course and the OCR A-Level Geography course. These have been written to help you achieve your target grade in GCSE Geography, AS Geography or A2 Geography

You can access the materials by clicking on the relevant tabs at the top of the page or via the following links where you will find everything you need to help you revise for your Geography exams.


I would advise that you use the pages now and adopt a ‘little and often’ approach to revision and not leave it all to the last minute. To optimise all opportunities for revision, the pages are also smartphone friendly

In addition, if you would like to buy a revision guide, you can buy one specifically for the course or a generic one. If you do buy a generic one, bring it in and I will highlight the elements that relate to our course.

Links to appropriate revision guides on Amazon are also on the page links above.