The LC Geography paper is 2 hours 50 Minutes long.
There is a lot of work to do in that time and it is vital that you do not spend any longer on a question than you need to.
Remember, you want to leave some time at the end of the exam to check over your work.
So, you have 170 minutes to answer 5 questions (Shorts, Physical, Regional, *one* Elective, Option) each worth 80 marks each (Higher Level).
That gives you 34 minute per question. Bring a wrist watch into the exam and leave it on your table (saves breaking your train of thought looking up to the clock).
Some people like to start the exams answering the Short questions; it generally helps students settle into the exam. If this is you, go for it.
There are 12 questions. You are marked on your best 10.
There are two types of questions – those which test knowledge (e.g. an example of a core region is…?), and those which test skill (e.g. identify the feature in this satellite photograph).
Try to get the questions done in less than the 34 minutes. If you don’t know an answer immediately, pass over it and come back it at the end of this section. Do not get bogged down trying to remember something – move on and come back to it later. Remember what happened to Conor McGregor when he wasn’t efficient!
Do not leave a question unanswered. In a worse case scenario, guess. You never know that your guess might be correct.
DO NOT GO OVER 34 MINUTES ON THIS QUESTION
For each of the structured questions (Physical, Regional, Elective) you have three parts A, B and C.
Part A is worth 20 marks; parts B and C are worth 30 marks each.
This gives you 8.5 minutes for part As, and 12.75 minutes for part Bs and for part Cs.
Part As are usually skills based; you have to draw a sketch, identify features of a diagram or chart, construct a graph or do some calculations from a table.
Try to stick to 7 or 8 minutes for this question but DO NOT GO OVER 8.5 minutes.
For part Bs and Cs, DO NOT GO OVER 12 minutes each. Ideally, try to get each done in 11 or 12 minutes.
You need to write 17 SRPs to allow for variation in marking and the possibility that what you thought was an SRP isn’t.
Read the question carefully. It helps to read it backwards to pick out the key themes/topics being asked. Underline them, then jot down a few key words and start writing your answer. If you are asked to write about two factors, write two clear paragraphs with each factor as a heading. Divide your SRPs accordingly.
Don’t risk trying a question you have not studied in class just ‘because you saw something on the news about it’ (unless of course you are desperate, in which case, give it a go).
Make sure you pick the correct Elective.
DO NOT GO OVER 34 MINUTES ON EACH OF THESE QUESTIONS
If you are up to it and feel confident going into the exam, I suggest starting with this question. It is the most information heavy and often students run out of time on it when they leave it to the end.
You can write about 3 or 4 Aspects. Which you choose will depend on the question. Writing about 4 Aspects means fewer SRPs needed per paragraph but you need to know more Aspects. For 3 Aspects, you need more detail for each of 3 paragraphs. A change in the marking scheme last year means there is no advantage in the marks allotted to naming the 4 Aspect versus naming 3.
If you go for 4 Aspects, settle on 32 minutes for the essay; that’s 4 paragraphs of 8 minutes each. Put a heading on each paragraph. leave a little space after each paragraph in case you need to come back to add some detail. In terms of the answer booklet and the average LC writing style, you are looking to write up to 4 pages to maximise your take of the 80 marks. But it all depends on which Option you are taking, how you write etc.
The Option question is for Higher Level only and is a left-over from the old LC geography paper. The question partly assesses your ability to structure a coherent discussion of a particular topic.
There are 80 marks for this question, 20 of which are for Overall Coherence. Last year’s LC marking scheme provided additional guidance to examiners to help them allocate the OC marks. This is worth looking at this to see what standard or writing is expected.
Once you have answered the required questions, and so long as you have stuck firmly to your timings, you should have some time left to check over your answers. Do so. If you can add information, do, especially on the Option question. Just keep writing until the time is up. Write like the clappers, but legibly.
Stuff to bring in to the exam
Don’t talk to anyone going in. You don’t need to hear the cleverest person in the year tell you ‘they haven’t done a tap and they don’t know what they’re going to do’. They’ll be fine. You’re allowed to be selfish and think only of yourself this time around.
Make sure you have everything you need. You don’t want to waste time asking the invigilator to borrow you a ruler or pen.
For OS maps, you need a ruler to draw straight lines. There are no marks (and no time) for colouring-in so you don’t need colouring pencils. That said, one of those BIC pens with the four ink refills are handy for marking roads, rivers and railways differently on your sketch.
All diagrams are drawn in pencil. If you choose a question that asks you to draw a graph, it must be drawn on graph paper (even if the question does not say this). Ask the invigilator for graph paper.
OS maps should NOT be drawn on graph paper (unless the question says so, which it hasn’t for a few years. If it does, then it’s ok as there are marks for it).
If you choose this question, draw your OS map the right way up in your lined answer booklet.
Number the questions you answered clearly. The easier it is for the examiner to correct your work, the easier it is for them to give you marks. You do not want an examiner trying to figure out where you put Q 4 part C.
DO NOT USE TIPPEX. EVER. If you make a mistake, put a simple line through it
like this – you never know, it might get considered in the wash.
One more thing……
If you’ve done the work, then you have done the work. Go in and enjoy showing off what you have learned. Of course, make sure your answers are Significant and Relevant.
If you haven’t done the work, there’s no point fretting. Chances are you are smarter and know more than you think. Give it your best shot.
If you’ve ticked all the boxes, between your GI and the Short Questions, you have the best part of a D. Throw in the part As, and you well on your way towards a C. A decent go at part Bs and Cs will see you towards a B grade. A grades require a bit more work but I have seen miracles happen (right choice of questions came up etc.).
There are no trick questions and examiners like to give marks.
Best of luck with the exam. When it’s over, put it behind you and don’t discuss it with anyone. You have another exam in the afternoon and you don’t need to listen to anyone’s post-match analysis. You can off-load on your family later in the evening.