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A Level

Geography
Guidance Pack

A-level Geography Guidance Pack


Contents
Introductionandpurpose

WhentodeliverUnit2fieldwork

10

11

17

Unit4AdvanceInformation:strategiesfortheclassroom

18

Assessmentoverview

Courseplanner

DealingwiththeAdvanceInformation(prerelease)forUnits3and4

Unit3AdvanceInformation:strategiesfortheclassroom

Unit3FeedbackfrompastExaminerReports

TheUnit4genericmarkscheme

20

21

Unit4FeedbackfrompastExaminerReports

2013PearsonEducationLimited.
Allrightsreserved.

Introduction and purpose


ThisguidancepackupdatessomeoftheinformationintheGettingStartedteacherguidance
bookletpublishedin20078whenEdexcelsGCEGeography2008specificationwaslaunched.
ThisupdateisnecessarybecausetheJanuaryexaminationserieswillnolongerbeavailablefrom
September2013.Thismeansthat:

AScandidateswhobegintheircourseinSeptember2013willsitbothASexaminations,for
Units1and2,inMay2014

A2candidateswhobegantheirAScourseinSeptember2012willsitbothA2examinations,
forUnits3and4,inJune2014.

Nootherchangestothespecificationunitcontent,orassessment,havebeenmade.However,
centreswillneedtoconsider:

theorderofteachingofunitsatASandA2wehaveprovidedupdatedyearplannersto
helpyouconsiderthisonpages48

whentocompletethefieldworkforUnit2wehavemadesomesuggestionstohelpyou
considerthisonpage9

howtoapproachworkingontheAdvanceInformationforUnits3and4atthesametime
wehaveprovidedsomeupdatedguidance,basedontheSampleAssessmentMaterials
(SAMs)forUnit3,pluscollatedadvicefrompastExaminerReportsrelatingtoUnits3and4,
onpages1022.

Assessment overview
AS (Year 12) two units
Unit1

GlobalChallenges

1hour30minutewrittenexamination
includingacolourResourceBooklet.

60%ofthetotalAS
marks
30%ofthetotalGCE
marks

Unit2

Geographical
Investigations

1hour15minutewrittenexamination
includingacolourResourceBooklet.

40%ofthetotalAS
marks

Fieldworkandresearchskillsformpartof 20%ofthetotalGCE
marks
thisexamination.

A2 (Year 13) - two further units


Unit3

ContestedPlanet

Unit4

2hour30minutewrittenexamination
includingprereleasedsynopticresources
(4weeksinadvance)andacolour
ResourceBookletintheexamination.

Part1oftheexaminationwillcoverfive
ofthesixUnit3topics.

Part2willcoverthesixthtopicina
synopticcontext,i.e.pullingtogether
aspectsoftheotherfivetopicsand
linkingtootherpartsofthewhole
course.

1hour30minuteexaminationincluding
prereleasedresearchfocusmaterial
(4weeksinadvance).

Onequestiononchosenoption.

GeographicalResearch

60%ofthetotalA2
marks
30%ofthetotalGCE
marks

40%ofthetotalA2
marks
20%ofthetotalGCE
marks

Changes to exam availability


FromSeptember2013,therewillnolongerbeanASorA2examavailableinJanuary.Exam
availabilityfortheASandA2unitswillbeasfollows.
AS

A2

Unit1GlobalChallenges

Summeronly(May)

Unit2GeographicalInvestigations

Summeronly(May)

Unit3ContestedPlanet

Summeronly(June)

Unit4GeographicalResearch

Summeronly(June)

Course planner
Thefollowingcourseplannercoversthecontentofthewholespecificationandisbasedonfourto
fivehoursofteachingperweek.
PleasenotethatfromSeptember2013:

allexaminationswillbetakenattheendofYear12orYear13

therewillbenoJanuaryexaminations

thecontentandassessmentforthisspecificationhavenotbeenchanged

allsixtopicsinUnit3ContestedPlanetshouldbetaught

contentfromTopic6maybeintegratedintoothertopicsinUnit3suchasTopic1Energy
Security,Topic2WaterConflictsandTopic3BridgingtheDevelopmentGap.

One-teacher course planner


Thefollowingtwoyearcourseplannerisforoneteacher.Ifthecourseisbeingtaughtbytwo
teachers,thereisanalternativemodelonpage8.

Term/week

Unit/topic

Detailedcontent

Autumnterm,Year12
Week1

Unit1WorldatRisk

1.1Globalhazards

Week2

Unit1WorldatRisk

1.2Globalhazardtrends

Week3

Unit1WorldatRisk

1.3Globalhazardpatterns

Week4

Unit1WorldatRisk

1.4Climatechangeanditscauses

Week5

Unit1WorldatRisk

1.5Theimpactsofglobalwarming

Week6

Unit1WorldatRisk

1.6Copingwithclimatechange

Week7

Unit1WorldatRisk

1.7Thechallengesofglobalhazardsfor
thefuture

Week8

Unit1WorldatRiskconsolidationand
assessmentweek

Week9

Unit1GoingGlobal

2.1Globalisation

Week10

Unit1GoingGlobal

2.2Globalgroupings

Week11

Unit1GoingGlobal

2.3Globalnetworks

Week12

Unit1GoingGlobal

2.4Roots

Week13

Unit1GoingGlobal

2.5Onthemove

Week14

Unit1GoingGlobal

2.6Worldcities

Week15

Unit1GoingGlobal

2.7Globalchallengesforthefuture

Halfterm

ChristmasbreakfollowedbySpringterm
Week16

Unit1GoingGlobalconsolidationand
assessmentweek

Week17

Unit2ExtremeWeatherorCrowdedCoasts

1.1Extremeweatherwatchor
2.1Competitionforcoasts

Week18

Unit2ExtremeWeatherorCrowdedCoasts

1.2Extremeimpactsor
2.2Copingwiththepressure

Week19

Unit2ExtremeWeatherorCrowdedCoasts

1.3Increasingrisksor
2.3Increasingrisks

Week20

Unit2ExtremeWeatherorCrowdedCoasts

1.4Managingextremeweatheror
2.4Coastalmanagement

Week21

Unit2ExtremeWeatherorCrowdedCoasts

Fieldwork

Week22

Unit2(physicaloption)consolidationand
assessmentweek

Analysisoffieldworkandresearchand
exampractice

Week23

Unit2UnequalSpacesorRebrandingPlaces

3.1Recognisinginequalityor
4.1Timetorebrand

Week24

Unit2UnequalSpacesorRebrandingPlaces

3.2Inequalityforwhom?or
4.2Rebrandingstrategies

Week25

Unit2UnequalSpacesorRebrandingPlaces

3.3Managingruralinequalitiesor
4.3Managingruralrebranding

Week26

Unit2UnequalSpacesorRebrandingPlaces

3.4Managingurbaninequalitiesor
4.4Managingurbanrebranding

Halfterm

EasterbreakfollowedbySummerterm
Week27

Unit2UnequalSpacesorRebrandingPlaces

Fieldwork

Week28

Unit2(humanoption)consolidationand
assessmentweek

Analysisoffieldworkandresearchand
exampractice

Week29

Revision

Week30

Revision

Week31

ASExaminationsUnit1

Week32

ASExaminationsUnit2


HalftermfollowedbystartoftheA2course
Week33

ASexaminations

Week34

Unit3EnergySecurity

1.1Energysupply,demandandsecurity

Week35

Unit3EnergySecurity

1.2Impactsofenergysecurity

Week36

Unit3EnergySecurity

1.3Energysecurityandthefuture

Week37

Unit3WaterConflicts

2.1Thegeographyofwatersupply

Week38

Unit3WaterConflicts

2.2Therisksofwaterinsecurity

Summerbreak,endofYear12
Autumnterm,Year13
Week1

Unit3IntroductiontoYear13/Water
Conflicts(continued)

2.2Therisksofwaterinsecurity

Week2

Unit3WaterConflicts

2.3Waterconflictsandthefuture

Week3

Unit3WaterConflictsconsolidationand
assessmentweek

Week4

Unit3BiodiversityunderThreat

3.1Definingbiodiversity

Week5

Unit3BiodiversityunderThreat

3.2Biodiversitythreats

Week6

Unit3BiodiversityunderThreat

3.3Managingbiodiversity

Week7

Unit3BiodiversityunderThreat
consolidationandassessmentweek

Week8

Unit3SuperpowerGeographies

4.1Superpowergeographies

Week9

Unit3SuperpowerGeographies

4.2Theroleofsuperpowers

Week10

Unit3SuperpowerGeographies

4.3Superpowerfutures

Week11

Unit3SuperpowerGeographies
consolidationandassessmentweek

Week12

Unit3BridgingtheDevelopmentGap

5.1Thecausesofthedevelopmentgap

Week13

Unit3BridgingtheDevelopmentGap

5.2Theconsequencesofthedevelopment
gap

Week14

Unit3BridgingtheDevelopmentGap

5.3Reducingthedevelopmentgap

Week15

Unit3BridgingtheDevelopmentGap
consolidationandassessmentweek

Halfterm


ChristmasbreakfollowedbySpringterm
Week16

Unit3TheTechnologicalFix?

6.1Thegeographyoftechnology

Week17

Unit3TheTechnologicalFix?

6.2Technologyanddevelopment

Week18

Unit3TheTechnologicalFix?

6.3Technology,environmentandthe
future

Week19

Unit3TheTechnologicalFix?consolidation
andassessmentweek

Week20

Unit4GeographicalResearch

EnquiryQuestion1

Week21

Unit4GeographicalResearch

EnquiryQuestion1

Week22

Unit4GeographicalResearch

EnquiryQuestion2

Week23

Unit4GeographicalResearch

EnquiryQuestion2

Week24

Unit4GeographicalResearch

EnquiryQuestion3

Week25

Unit4GeographicalResearch

EnquiryQuestion3

Week26

Unit4GeographicalResearch

EnquiryQuestion4

Week27

Unit4GeographicalResearch

EnquiryQuestion4

Halfterm

EasterbreakfollowedbySummerterm
Week28

Unit4GeographicalResearch

Additionalresearchandconsolidation

Week29

Unit4GeographicalResearch

Examinationpractice

Week30

Revision

WorkingonUnits3and4prerelease

Week31

Revision

WorkingonUnits3and4prerelease

Week32

Revision

WorkingonUnits3and4prerelease

HalftermfollowedbyA2examinations

Two-teacher course planner


Ifthecourseisbeingtaughtbytwoteachers,thenthealternativemodelbelowcouldbefollowed,
byusinghalfofthetimeinaweekforeachteacher.

Teacher1

Teacher2

Unit1

WorldatRisk(14xweeks)

GoingGlobal(14xweeks)

Unit2

Physicaloption(10xweeks)

Humanoption(10xweeks)

Unit3

3Topics(24xweeks)

3Topics(24xweeks)

ForUnit4thereareseveralpossibilitieswithtwoteachers,asbelow.

Teacher1

Teacher2

Allstudents
studyone
option

Deliversthecontentin50%ofthe
lessontime.

Provides,guidesandmonitorsstudent
researchintheother50%oflessontime.This
teachercouldalsofocusonresearchandexam
skills.

Students
choosefrom
oneoftwo
options

Inthismodel,studentsdivideintotwogroupsbasedonwhichoptiontheywouldprefer
tostudy,e.g.TectonicActivityandHazardsorColdEnvironmentsLandscapesand
Change.

Asanexample,letussaythereare4x1hourlessonsineachweek.Teacher1delivers
twotaughtonehourlessonstotheTectonicActivitygroup,whiletheColdEnvironments
studentssignin/outandeitherworkintheclassroomontheirownresearch,orusea
learningresourcescentreorsimilar.Teacher2deliversColdEnvironmentsinthe
remaining2x1hourlessons,andsimilarlymonitorstheTectonicActivitygroupwhile
theyresearch.

When to deliver Unit 2 fieldwork


WithaJanuaryexamavailable,manycentrescompletedtheirUnit2fieldworkintheAutumnterm
andsattheexaminJanuary.WithnoJanuaryexamavailablefromSeptember2013centresmay
wishtodecidewhenbesttocompletetheessentialfieldworkforUnit2.Theremanyoptionsand
issuestobeconsidered,andthoseoutlinedbelowareprovidedonlytoinformcentreplanningand
decisionmaking.

Unit2fieldworkinSeptember,aspartoftheintroductiontoGCEGeography
Advantages:

Fieldworkvisitsareagoodwaytobuild
groupcoherence

Makesforaninterestingandpotentially
funstarttoGCEGeography

Disadvantages:

Thegapbetweenfieldworkandthe
examislong(althoughthiscouldbe
overcomeduringrevisiontime)

Organisationaldifficultiessoearlyinthe
firstterm

Studentsmaylacktheconceptual
underpinning,havingstudiedverylittle
ofthecourse

Possibilityofgoodweather

Unit2fieldworkinOctoberorNovember
Advantages:

Allowstimetoteach/studythecontent
andconceptsofUnit2anddosome
researchpriortothefieldvisits

Somepossibilityofgoodweather

Fieldcentres,ifused,maybelessbusy

Disadvantages:

Thegapbetweenfieldworkandthe
examisrelativelylong

Daysaregettingshorter

Unit2fieldworkinMarchorApril
Advantages:

Disadvantages:

Closertoexams,sopossiblyfresherin
studentsminds

Fieldstudycentres,ifused,arelikelyto
bebusy

Researchandteachingcouldhavebeen
carriedoutpriortothefieldwork

Othersubjectteachersmayobjectif
studentsareoutofcentreasexams
approach

Thefollowingwouldbesomemoregeneralconsiderations.

Fieldworkandresearcharebestcarriedoutatthesametimeastheunitisbeingtaught.

Thefieldworkmaybebettercarriedouttowardstheendoftheteachingofthetopic,having
allowedsometimeforresearchandwhencontentandideashavebeendelivered.

Guidanceisforatleasttwodaysoffieldwork,e.g.onedayonCrowdedCoastsandoneday
onRebrandingPlaces,althoughadditionaltimeisdesirable.

Dealing with the Advance Information (pre-release) for


Units 3 and 4
TherewillbenoJanuaryexaminationopportunityin2014.ThismeansthatbothUnit3andUnit4
willbesatbyA2studentsinJune2014.
TheAdvanceInformationforbothunitswillbereleased,asinthepast,inearlyMay.Formany
centres,dealingwithbothsetsofAdvanceInformationatthesametimewillbebusinessasusual
butforsomeitwillbeachange.Centresmaywishtoconsiderthefollowingpoints.

Wheretwoteachersshareagroup,oneteachercoulddealwithUnit3andonewithUnit4.

Withonlyoneteacher,carewillneedtobetakentosetasidespecificlessonstodealwith
eachprerelease,toavoidconfusion.

Tosupportweakerstudents,itcouldbewisetocolourcode(usingpaperoftwodifferent
colours)handouts,resources,researchmaterials,homeworktasksetc.tomakelinkingthese
toeitherUnit3orUnit4aseasyaspossible.

ItisadvisabletospendfourtosixhoursinclassontheAdvanceInformationforeachof
Units3and4.

FurtherguidanceondealingwiththeAdvanceInformationforUnits3and4inclassisprovided
below.ThisguidancemakesreferencetotheSAMsandPrincipalExaminerReports,bothofwhich
canbefoundathttp://www.edexcel.com/quals/gce/gce08/geography/Pages/default.aspx

10

Unit 3 Advance Information: strategies for the classroom


TheteachingandlearningstrategiessuggestedbelowarebasedontheSAMsAdvanceInformation,
whichfocusesonissuessurroundingGMcropsinLatinAmerica.TheUnit3AdvanceInformation
ResourceBookletfromtheSAMscanbefoundat
http://www.edexcel.com/quals/gce/gce08/geography/Pages/default.aspx
(SampleAssessmentMaterialspages111116).

Understand the main theme


Resistthetemptationtogetstudentstobeginanalysingthefiguresandtextimmediately.Take
sometimetohelpthemunderstandthemaintheme,inthiscaseWhatareGMcrops?Forotherpast
examsthismighthavebeenWhatisnuclearpower?orWhatisbiodiversity?
Thisiseasilyoverlooked,butmisunderstandingatthisstagewillbeproblematiclater.GMcropsare
achallengingtopicforthefollowingreasons:

theyareoftenconfusedwithGreenRevolutioncrops

somebasicscientificbackgroundonhowGMisdevelopedisneeded

therearemanyGMmythsandhalftruths,aswellasgenuineconcerns.

Donotassumecandidatesimmediatelyunderstandthebroadtopicthattheresourcesarebasedon.
PerhapstheBiologyteachercouldgivea15minuteGMprimertoyourGeographers.

Key terminology
Startaglossaryofkeyterminology.Somekeytermsareemboldenedbutothersmayneed
clarificationtoo.OnthesecondpageoftheSAMsUnit3ResourceBookletthiscouldincludeterms
suchastransgenic,resistance,patented,precautionaryprinciple.

Regional background
Theregion,inthiscaseLatinAmerica,maybefamiliartocandidatesbutitmaynot.Considerthe
regionsbroadgeography,asoutlinedbelow.

Historicalgeography

Contemporarygeopolitics

Colonialbackground,settlementhistoryand
ethnicities,longtermregionalantagonismsand
disputes

MembershipofIGOs,regionalblocs,recent
politicaldisputesandrelationships,internal
politicalsystems

Economicdevelopment

Socialconditions

LevelsofdevelopmentindicatedbyGDPper
capita,HDI,economicsectors;major
developmentdifferences,e.g.urban/rural

Developmentdifferencesbasedon
gender/religion,inequality,housingconditions,
environmentalhealthissues,demographics

Thisisanidealpointtosetsomeresearchbasedhomework.Splittheclassintopairs/smallgroupsto
researchcountriesandproduceanA5factsheetoneach.Websitesandotherresourcescanhelp:

socioeconomicdatatablesinthebackofmostatlasestocomparecountriesintheregion

Wikipediascountrypagesprovidesomeuseful,condensedpoliticalandhistoricalbackground

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onlinedatabasessuchasWorldBankdatahttp://data.worldbank.org/andtheCIAWorld
Factbookhttps://www.cia.gov/library/publications/theworldfactbook/.

InthecaseofBrazilandArgentina,itisworthrecognisingthatbothcountriesarefiercely
independent,oftenrunbypopulistandcharismaticleaders,inneedofexportsbutrivenbysocial
divisions.ThiscouldhelpexplaintherapidadoptionofGMandthefactthatitappearstohave
producedclearwinnersandlosers.

Figures
AllofthefiguresintheResourceBookletneedtobecarefullyanalysed.Somesuggestionsforthe
figuresintheSAMsResourceBookletareasfollows:

Figure2:alinegraph,soanalysethetrend(GMcropareagrewrapidlyinindustrial
countries,thenslowedbutindevelopingcountriesitisgrowingrapidly)

Figure3:aworldmap,soanalysethepattern(GMiswidespreadintheAmericas,butbarely
touchesAfrica;inEuropetherearebigvariations).Askquestionsofthefigures,e.g.Why
doesGMhavethisglobalpattern?

Figure5:thisisamoredifficultfigure,asitisastackedareagraph(in2006cottonhasavery
smallacreageof2million,not59million);roughpercentagesfor1981,1996and2006could
beworkedouttohelpanalysethedata

Figure9:thisisamoredetailedareamapforpartofArgentina.Theareasonthemapcould
beresearchedinmoredepthusingatlases,GoogleEarthandotherresources

Figure13:acomplexgraphwithanamedsource,whichcouldberesearchedinmoredetail.
Somecandidateswouldbenefitfromwritinganexplanationofwhatthisgraphshowsfor
Argentina,BrazilandParaguay.

Themes: players, actions and futures


Therearethreesynopticthemes(seepage51ofthespecification)thatcutacrossallsixtopicsin
Unit3.Theseneedtobeconsideredinrelationtotheresources.Sometimesquestionsaddressone
ormoreofthesethemesdirectly,sometimesmoreindirectly.

Players

Actions

Futures

Therole,viewsandvaluesof
individuals,pressuregroups
andpoliticalmovements,
governments,businessand
internationalagencies.

Local,nationaland
internationalscaleactions;
contrastsbetweenneoliberal
marketledapproaches,
socialistandgrassrootsmodels:
sustainabledevelopment.

Businessasusualmodels,
sustainablefuturesandmore
radicalapproachesinvolving
conceptssuchasgreen
growth.

Players:theplayersshouldbelistedfromtheresourcesanddiscussed.Ifanyareunfamiliar,these
canberesearched(seethewebsitesintheResourceBookletanduseothers).UsetheViewsatthe
endoftheResourceBookletcarefully,anddrawupviewsanalysistablessuchastheonebelow.

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Player(and
type)

For
GM

Against Basisforview
GM

Agreement/conflict

View1

FAO(IGO)

Similartoothertypesof
farming

SimilartoNCB,conflicts
withGS

View2

FAO
(individual)

Conflictingviewsof
players

LeanstowardNCBview

View3

Greenpeace
(global
pressure
group)

Questionablebenefits;
herbicideuse

AgreeswithWWF,
conflictswithviewsof
TNCsinResource
Booklet

View4

ISAAA(NFP)

Povertyreduction

DirectlyconflictswithGS

View5

NCB(think
tank)

Benefitsoutweighcosts
butresearchneeded

Similarstandpointto
FAO

View6

WWF(global
pressure
group)

Environment,soil
erosion,deforestation

AgreeswithGreenpeace

View7

GS(localNGO)

Social/equalityconcerns,
jobs

Directlyconflictswith
ISAAA

Neutral

Actions:lookforevidenceofactionsatdifferentscalesandbydifferentplayersintheresources.

GrowthinGMcrops,inmanycases,isamarketleddevelopment,withtheTNCswho
developtheseedandassociatedproducts(suchasherbicide)essentiallymotivatedbyprofit.

ForfarmersinLatinAmerica,GMrepresentsamoveintoamoremarketeconomy,basedon
exports,largerfarmsandspecialisation.

GMisnotpurelymarketdrivenasgovernmenthastoapprove(ornot)itsuse.

NGOsandenvironmentalpressuregroupshaveledagrassrootscampaignagainstGM,
locallyandglobally,whichhasbeenpartlysuccessfulincountriesliketheUK.

ManyoftheViewsarguethatGMispotentiallybeneficial,butneedstobemadesustainable
suchasViews1,2and5.

Futures:thisthemecanbeapproachedinseveralways.

ContinuedexpansionofGMinLatinAmericafollowingasimilarpathtothattravelledsofar
mightbeseenasthebusinessasusualfuture,butconsiderationneedstobegivento
whetherornotfurtherexpansionofGMis,orcouldbe,mademoresustainable.

Greenpeace,WWFandothersmightfeelthatGMshouldbebanned(theradicaloption).

Sometimesoptionsaregivenattheendoftheresources,e.g.intheJanuary2011and
January2013ResourceBooklet.Ifthisisthecase,theseneedtobeconsideredcarefully
aretheyradical,sustainableorbusinessasusualandwhatwouldbethe
impacts/consequencesofeach?

13

Synoptic opportunities and links


SynopticityiscrucialtohigherlevelachievementandisreferredtointhemarkschemesforLevels3
and4,asinthefollowingexamplefromtheSAMsquestion6b.

Synopticitycanbedemonstratedinalargenumberofways,butitdoesneedtobeconsideredin
advance.Essentiallyitcanbethoughtofasbroadeninganddeepening,i.e.goingbeyondthe
ResourceBooklettomakelinkswithwidergeographicalissues,themesandplacesandproviding
additionaldepthtoissues,examplesandthemesraisedinthebooklet.Somesuggestionsinclude
thefollowing.

Unit3context

Globalthemes

Unit1links

Linktheresourcestothe
Lookforlinkstoglobally
contentoftheUnit3topicthey significantissuessuchas
arebasedupon.
climatechange,foodsecurity,
populationgrowth,resource
depletion.

LookforlinkstoUnit1,suchas
globalwarming,migration,
globalisation.

Parallelexamples

Parallelregions

Modelsandtheories

Considerotherexamplesfrom
aroundtheworldwhichare
similarto,orcontrastwith,
thoseintheResourceBooklet.

Lookataregionwithasimilar
Consideranymodelsor
levelofdevelopmentandlook theoriesthatlinktothethemes
forsimilaritiesanddifferences. intheResourceBooklet.

Unit3context:theGMcropresourceslinkverystronglytosection6.2inthespecification,
Technologyanddevelopment,aswellastootherpartsofTopic6TheTechnologicalFix?
BeyondthisthereareobviouslinkstoTopic3BiodiversityunderThreat(deforestationfor
landforGMcrops)andTopic5BridgingtheDevelopmentGap(GMasaneconomic
developmenttool).
Globalthemes:thereisaclearlinktotheglobalissueoffoodsecurityandthedegreeto
whichGMispartofthesolutionorpartoftheproblem.
Unit1links:theroleofTNCsinGMlinkstotheUnit1content,asdoesthethemeofclimate
changeandtheextenttowhichGMcouldbeasolutionforfarmersinachangingclimate,or
climatechangeposesathreattoGMsprogress.

Thethreetypesofsynopticityabovecanveryeasilybeapproachedintheprereleasephaseby
gettingcandidates,inpairsorgroups,toproducespiderdiagrams/mindmapstomapthelinks
withinUnit3toUnit1andbeyond.

14

Parallelexamples:GreenRevolutioncropsareaveryobviousparallelexample,asisorganic
farming.Bothcouldbebrieflymentionedinquestions6band6cascontrastingwithGM.
TheimpactsofGRcropsinIndia(socialpolarisation)couldusefullybeusedtoreinforcean
argumentinquestion6c.
Parallelregions:LatinAmericaissimilarintermsofdevelopmentleveltoEastAsia,where
GMhasmadesimilar(somewhatless)progress;researchintoGMinChinawouldbean
obviouspathtopursue.
Modelsandtheories:thesustainabilityquadrantorstoolprovidesausefulconceptual
modelthatcanbedirectlyappliedtoquestion6candusedasastructure;theeconomic,
socialandenvironmentalissuesintheresourcesverymuchsignpostsustainabilityasakey
theme.

Lastly,thewebsites,whicharealwaysincludedattheendoftheResourceBooklet,offer
opportunitiesforsynopticresearch.Candidatesshouldusethese,andother,websitestoresearch
someoftheissuesinmoredetail.Ideally,askcandidatestomakenotesaboutthecontentof
websites,ratherthanprintinghugevolumesofmaterialthatcanneverpossiblybeused.
Anyadditionalmaterial,notintheResourceBooklet,willbecreditedassynopticaslongasit:

isrelevanttothequestion
isaccurateandsourced(suchasinformationfromawebsite)
addstothequalityoftheanswer.

Questions and skills


UsuallytherearethreesubquestionsinSectionB,asintheSAMs,totalling40marks.Thequestions
belowaretakenfromtheSAMsforUnit3.Theexactmarkallocationbetweenquestions6a,6band
6cdoeschangeineachexamseries.

Althoughthequestionsdifferineachexamination,therearesomecommonthemes.

Question6aisoftenabroadscenesettingquestionwhichrequiresanexplanationofthe
issueorkeyfactors/reasonsthathavecontributedtoanexistingsituation.
Questions6band6cusuallydemandhigherorderthinkingskillssuchasassessmentand
evaluation.
Question6boftenfocusesonprevailingissuesandproblemsandtheirimpacts.
Question6coftenlookstothefutureinsomeway,sometimesbyconsideringthesuitability
ofdifferentoptionsintermsofmanagementandtheimpactsondifferentpeople.

15

Inordertoaccesstheupperlevelsofthemarkscheme,candidatesneedtobeawareofthe
demandsofthemarkscheme.Thisisespeciallythecaseforquestionsusingcommandwordssuchas
assess,towhatextent,discussandevaluate.Thesequestionstendtobemarkedinfourlevelsand
haveatariffof12+marks(seetheSAMsexampleabove,questions6band6c).Thesemarkschemes
canbeusefullyvisualisedinthefollowingway.

Level1

Level2

Level3

Level4

Ascandidatesmoveupthelevelsinthemarkscheme,thebalanceofskillsdemonstratedintheir
answerschangessignificantly.
Answersrely,with
varyingaccuracyand
appropriateness,on
theResourceBooklet
todescribethe
situation,withsome
partialexplanations.

Someaspectsofthe
issue/situationare
explained,and
descriptivematerial
supportsthis.No
attemptismadeto
movebeyondthe
ResourceBooklet.

Descriptivematerialis
usedselectively,and
explanationsareclear;
evaluationbeginsbut
maybeimplied;some
basicsynoptic
informationisused,
notfullyappropriately.

16

Descriptionisselective
andexplanationsare
conciseandappliedto
thequestion,which
supportsevaluative
judgementsina
synopticcontext.

Unit 3 Feedback from past Examiner Reports


TheContestedPlanetexaminationsfrom2010to2013allowsomecommonlyoccurringissuesthat
restrictperformanceonUnit3SectionBtobeidentified.Forfurtherdetails,pleasereadthe
PrincipalExaminerReportsreferredtoabove.

Brieflyplanninganswerstoallthreesubquestions(6a,6b,6c)atthestartisagoodidea.
Thisisbecausethethreesubquestionsformalinkedsequence.Underpressureintheexam,
candidatescanwronglyinterpretquitedifferentquestionsasbeingsimilar(andwritevery
similaranswers).Planningminimisestheriskofthishappening.

Somecandidateshaveaweakappreciationofthebasicgeographyoftheregionthe
resourcesaresetin,e.g.itslevelofeconomicdevelopment,languages,physicalfeaturesetc.
Thiscanunderminethequalityofanswers.

Timingcanbeanissue,withquestion6coftensuffering.Usingamockexamreducesthe
likelihoodofthishappening.AmockcouldbeusedaspartofrevisionforanotherUnit3
topic,e.g.theJanuary2011NorthAmericaEnergySecurityexammaterialsareaveryuseful
standalonecasestudyofenergysecurityissues.

Skillininterpretingawidevarietyofgeographicaldataformspartoftheassessmentof
Unit3SectionB.Inordertodemonstratethis,candidatesmustcarefullyselectand
accuratelyuseinformationintheresources,andrefertoitdirectly(byfigurenumberetc.)
intheiranswers.

Whencandidatesarepresentedwithoptions,theyoftenstruggletomakeclear,firm
judgements.Theskillofjustifyingachoiceisunderdeveloped.Candidatesshouldbe
confidentinacceptingoneoptionandrejectingothers,aslongastheyuseevidenceand
havecogentreasons.Ifoptionsarepartoftheexercise,markschemesneverindicatethat
oneoptionispreferredtoothers.

TheViewswhichappearonthelastpageoftheResourceBookletarefrequentlyunderused
andsometimesmisunderstood.

Prejudgingthequestions,andoverpreparingforassumedquestions,isalwaysamistake.

Synopticlinksandideasareoftennotincludedandthisrestrictsachievement.

Somesynopticityisfalseorforced;thismostoftenhappenswhenacasestudyisshoe
hornedintoananswerinaninappropriateandusuallyfartoodetailedway.

Candidatesoftendonotfullyappreciatethedifferentmeaningsofkeywordssuchassocial,
economic,environmentalandpolitical.

17

Unit 4 Advance Information: strategies for the classroom


The purpose of the Advance Information
ThepurposeoftheAdvanceInformation(researchfocus)istoallowstudentstofocustheirfinal
researchandrevisiononparticularareasoftheoptiontheyhaveresearched.Itisveryimportantto
recognisethat:

theresearchfocusisnotprovidedsothatcandidatesandteacherscanguessthequestion
thisapproachoftenleadstocandidatesansweringaprepreparedquestionratherthanthe
actualquestiontheyarefacedwithwhentheyopentheexaminationpaper
theresearchfocususuallystraddlesseveralspecificationenquiryquestions,notjustone.
theresearchfocusmayrelatetoseveralspecificationbulletpointsacrossseveralenquiry
questions,ratherthanallthebulletpointsinoneenquiryquestion
theresearchfocusisprovidedintheformoftwobulletpoints,aResearchbulletandan
Explorebullet.

Unpicking the Research and Explore bullets


Thefirsttaskwhentheresearchfocusisgiventocandidatesistoidentifywhichareasofthe
specificationthetwobulletsrelateto.Thismightbestbedoneasagroupactivity.

Givecandidatesacopyofthespecificationforthewholeoption(EnquiryQuestions14for
yourchosenoption)andacopyoftheirresearchfocus.
Ingroupsoftwotofour,getstudentstomatchtheresearchfocuswiththespecification,by
matchingkeywordsandphrasesandthinkingaboutthesortsofideasandconceptsthat
couldberelevant.Studentscanusehighlighterstodothis.
Comparethedifferentresults/viewsofthegroupsandcometoaconsensusaboutwhich
areasofthespecificationtheresearchfocusrelatesto.Notethatsomelinksmightbevery
obviousandstrong,whereasothersmightbeweaker(butstillrelevant).

Althoughthismightseemlikeatimeconsumingactivity,itisusefultocollatedifferentviews.There
canbeadangerthat,ifonestudent,orasingleteacher,decideswhichareasofthespecificationthe
researchfocusrelatesto,somelinksaremissed.
TheExplorebulletfocusesonconcepts,themesandideaswhereastheResearchbulletfocuseson
examples,placesandcasestudiesthatshouldbeincludedinthefinalresearchandpreparation.Itis
importanttogivethesamedegreeofimportancetobothbullets.FortheResearchbulletlookout
forplaceinformation,suchas:

contrastinglocations
rangeoflocations
arangeofscalesandlocations.

Thiscouldindicateaneedtoincludedevelopedvsdevelopingworld,urbanvsruralorlocal,national
andglobalcontrasts.
Lookcarefullyatthekeywordsintheresearchfocusandbearinmindthat:

somewords/phrasescanappearmoreprominentthatothers,leadingtoconcentrationon
oneaspectoftheresearchfocusattheexpenseofothers
itispossibletogethunguponthemeaningofsomewordsandconcentrateonthese,
againattheexpenseofotherimportantpartsoftheresearchfocus
wordstowardstheendoftheResearchbulletcangetignored

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thereissometimesatendencytofocusmoreontheExplorebulletthantheResearch
bullet

somewordscanbewronglyinterpretedinanegativeonlyway,e.g.impacts,challenges,
effects,consequences.

Filling in gaps
Havingconsideredtheresearchfocusandthespecification,candidatesneedtodecidewhich
materialtheyhave,fromlessonsandtheirownresearch,thatisrelevant.

Spendsometimeorganisingmaterialinstudentsfiles;thiscouldbetrafficlightedasgreen,
amberandred(veryrelevant,relevant,lessrelevant).
Duringthisprocessgapscanbeidentified.
Payparticularattentiontoplaceandscalecontrasttomakesuretherequiredrangeis
present.

Insomeoptionstherecanbeafalserangeproblem.Forexample,ifastudenthasthree
examplesofearthquakesondestructiveplatemarginsinLEDCs,becausethesearein
differentlocationstheymayappeartobearangebutinfactillustrateverysimilarissues.
ThiscanalsobeaproblemwithdiseasetypesinOption5,forinstance.

Additionalresearchcanbecarriedouttofillinanygaps.

Goodqualityanswersintheexamoftencontainamixtureofdetailedcasesstudiesandsmaller
examples.Thedetailedcasestudiesprovidetherequireddepth,whereasthesmallerexamples
providerangeandcontrast.Bearthisismindwhenpreparingfortheexam.

Possible questions and planning


Theresearchfocus,inevitably,leadstospeculationaboutwhattheactualquestionmightbe.
Considerthefollowingpoints.

Guessingthequestionfrequentlyleadscandidatesastrayandintheexamtheyoftenwrite
ananswertoaprepreparedquestion,whichcanseverelyrestricttheirmarks.
Alternatively,trytogeneratealargerangeofquestions.
Putstudentsintogroupsoftwotofourandaskthemtocomeupwithaquestion.
Usepastquestionstoshowtheformatsquestionsareoftenin,andthecommandwords
used.

Youcouldgivedifferentcommandwordstodifferentgroups,touseintheirquestions
(explain,assess,discuss,evaluate,towhatextentetc.).

Aimtoproduceaquestionwall,withalotofpossiblequestions,onA3sheetsofpaper.
Someofthesecanbeplannedasagroupactivity;thisislikelytobemoreeffectiveatmaking
studentsthinkaboutthemeaningofquestionsanddifferentapproachestotheanswers
thantryingtonaildownonequestionwhichthenprovestobeincorrect.

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The Unit 4 generic mark scheme


StudentsshouldbeintroducedtothepublishedgenericmarkschemeearlyintheteachingofUnit4.
ThegenericmarkschemeforUnit4canbefoundat
http://www.edexcel.com/migrationdocuments/GCE%20New%20GCE/unit4genericmkscheme
updatedNov09.pdf.Ideally,markpracticereportsusingthismarkschemeandprovidefeedbackon
eachofitsfivesections.YoucoulduseablankgridonA4paperandwritefeedbackonthis,rather
than(orinadditionto)writingonthestudentswork.
ThisisimportantbecausetheUnit4markschemeisdifferentfromtheextendedwritinglevelsmark
schemesinUnits13.Intheseunits,allofacandidatesextendedresponseisreadandamark
awardedbasedonthewholepieceofwriting(alevelisdecidedonfirst,thenthespecificmarkinthe
level).
ForUnit4,marksareawardedforfivedifferentpartsofthereport,i.e.therearespecificmarksfor
theintroduction,analysis,conclusionetc.Candidatesmustunderstandthis.Bearinmindthat:

thereportismarkedoutof70
themarksavailablefortheintroduction,analysisandconclusiontotal25(10+15),or35%of
the70marks

therearespecificmarksforQWC(10).

Onewaytoreinforcethis,duringtheprereleasephase,istoplansomereportsasagroupactivity
andmakesuretheintroductionandconclusionareplanned,aswellasthemainbodyofthereport.
Ifstudentsstruggletogettogripswiththelengthygenericmarkscheme,theymightwishto
considerthecheeseburgermodelbelowasanaidememoire.

The nal conclusion


The extras such as a methodology,
accurate references, diagrams

The main analysis secons, with the


cheese represenng ongoing evaluaon

The introducon

(Image Veer (Corbis)/karandaev)

20

Unit 4 Feedback from past Examiner Reports


TheResearchingGeographyexaminationsfrom2010to2013allowsomecommonlyoccurringissues
thatrestrictperformanceonUnit4tobeidentified.Forfurtherdetails,pleasereadthePrincipal
ExaminerReportsreferredtoabove.Thecommentsbelowareorganisedbysectionofthegeneric
markscheme.

Introducing, defining and focusing on the question

Avoidmakingthissectionoverlongandverydescriptive;themajorityofcandidateswrite
1to2sidesatmost.
Someintroductionssufferfromtoomuchgeneralbackground,e.g.onplatetectonicsand
typesofplatemargin,andfailtofocusonthequestion.

Introductionsbrokendownintoheadedsubsections(e.g.definitions,focus,framework)
tendtolackcoherence.

Introductionswhichsetouthowthequestionisgoingtobeanswered,i.e.providea
directionandperhapsstatewhattheargument/answerisgoingtobe,tendtobethemost
coherent.

Itisusefultomentionthemaincasestudiesandexamplesthataretobeused,andbriefly
justifythis(thisoftenaddressesissuesofscaleandcontrastinglocationswithinthe
question).

Modelsandtheoriesoftenprovideausefulframeworkforawholereport,andthesecanbe
usefullyintroducedatthestart(butshouldbereferredtoagainintheanalysisand
conclusion).

Researching and methodology

Arangeofmaterialandresearchsourcesneedtobeused,andthismustbeagenuinerange
notafalseone(seeabove).
Candidatesneedtoincludeamethodology,containingtheirsources;mostcandidatesplace
thisaftertheintroduction.

Themethodologycouldbeintheformofatable,aparagraphorextendedfootnotesno
particularformatispreferred.

Themethodologyshouldcommentonissuessuchasresearchsourcerange,accuracy,bias,
ageandreliability.

Careshouldbetakennottowriteamethodologyintheformofaverylong,complextable
themethodologyisonlyonepartofthemarkschemeforthissectionandtheexamisonly
1hoursinlength.

Candidatesshouldbewaryofusingmanyoldercasestudiesandexampleswithout
justification,asthemarkschemereferstotopicalevidence.

Theinclusionoftheory/conceptsisanimportantpartofthissectiononthemarkscheme.
Factualaccuracyisimportant.

Analysis, application and understanding

Themainbodyofthereportshouldbesubdividedintosubsections,usingheadings.
Thereisnoneedforcomplexsubheadingnumberingsystemssuchas2.1.2,2.1.3etc.
Conceptualsubheadings (economic,social,environmental)workbetterthan subheadings
basedoncasestudies(Haiti2010,MtPinatubo1991,Sendai2011)thelattertendtolead

21

to very descriptive, noncomparative reports which have a and the next case study is
structure.
Diagramsshouldbeusedselectively,beaccurateandbereferredtointhetext.
Candidatesneedtogothroughadoubleprocessofcasestudyselection:first,theyneedto
answerthequestionDoesthiscasestudyhelpanswerthequestion?IftheanswerisYes,
then they should ask, secondly, What information from the case study is relevant to this
question?FailuretobeselectiveinthiswaytendstoleadtoaneverythingIknowaboutX
answer.

Reference back to the question should be made often, to ensure it is still being answered
andthatevidenceusedisbeingappliedtothequestion.

Itisbettertocompareandcontrastexamplesandcasestudiesthantodescribethem.

Conclusions and evaluation

Ongoingevaluationisimportant.
Thiscouldconsistofshort,summativeparagraphsattheendofdifferentsectionsofthe
analysis.

UseofsubheadingssuchasSummaryorevenOngoingevaluationisacceptableandmay
helpcandidatesstructuretheirreports.

Enoughtimeneedstobelefttoformulateaproperconclusion,i.e.15minutes.
Althoughinnowayahardandfastrule,mostgoodconclusionsarethreequartersofaside
long;aconclusionoffourtofivelinesisunlikelytoscorehighmarks.

Candidatesshouldreferdirectlytothequestioninaconclusion.
Aweaknessofmanyconclusionsisthatverylittleoftheevidenceusedinthereportis
referredto/recalled;casestudiesandexamples,aswellasconceptsandmodels,needtobe
recalled.

Subsections(i.e.areport,notanessay)mustbeused.
Thestructureofthereportneedstobelogical(thisisonereasonwhy,intheintroduction,it
isusefultosetoutthedirectionofthereport).

Throughoutthereport,sourcesshouldbestatedeitherinbracketsorasfootnotes.
Harvardstylereferencingisnotrequired,butsourcesshouldconsistofatitle,authorand
dateifreferringtoatextbook,journalorarticle.

Bibliographiesarenormallysuperfluousifreferencinghasbeenincludedinthemainbodyof
thereport;theexceptioniswhenreferencesareindicatedbynumbersinthetextandare
linkedtoanumberedbibliographygivenattheend.

Terminologymustbeusedwithaccuracy.

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S645

Quality of written communication and sourcing