How to get an A/A* A-Level Geography
Updated: Sep 14, 2020
This post was written by some amazing friends who achieved As and A*s in Geography. When people often think of geography, they think about just colouring in maps and learning about different countries... However geography is much more than that and depending on your exam board, you cover topics from urbanisation and its importance in human affairs, issues associated with economic inequality, social segregation and cultural diversity, environmental processes such as desertification and much more!
Here are their top tips to help you succeed in A-Level Geography!
1) Keep up to date with current affairs – even though at times when studying Geography you can feel pretty weighed down with all of the content (there usually is so much to remember!) you forget how much this subject links to what is happening locally, nationally and globally on a daily basis. I would say that adding in secondary information given to you maybe by your teachers like articles, documentaries and books will really be able to boost your essays (only if it relates to the question / topic). Normally at A Level, it is far more impressive if you show your wider interest rather than just strictly sticking to everything on the syllabus.
2) Less is more– I definitely learned this throughout my study, it is sometimes easy to waffle in response to some questions but especially regarding the 2, 4, 6 and 9 mark questions (AQA Geography) keep it short. There is no need to prolong anything, just get to the point, this can be done through the use of key words or the explanation of concepts and processes that will stick out to the examiner. This is especially important because time may not always be on your side.
3) In regards to exams I would say that to help with timing answer the bulk questions (20 marks) first and then go down from there, leaving the questions worth lower marks last. This helps because it means that if you run out of time at the end you would have answered the questions with the most marks included, so you absorb all marks possible!
4) When writing up your notes I would say that you should always have the SPEC beside you. With every new topic you revise always look back to what was specified by the exam board and make sure that you have every single class note so you don’t fall behind, the spec is a good form of guidance in this respect.
5) Similarly when you are re-writing your class notes into revision material (for example flashcards) make sure that you condense it into a form that will make it easy to remember, maybe even use acronyms. I also used to memorise my notes through the blank paper method – this means that you read through a topic / case study for example and use a blank piece of paper to write down everything you remember from your revision (without your notes of course!)
! = I recommend the blank paper method of revision as it really made me feel more confident when I remembered everything before an exam.
6) In Geography it is not enough to just learn the content you really have to understand the processes and concepts in human and especially physical geography. With case studies for example you can get away with just memorising facts and figures, but when it comes to theory you really need to understand the content. This can be done through talking through things with your teacher that you don’t quite understand or even with your friends before an exam.
7) It is also so important to go through practice questions once you have learned most of the content. For Geography it is accessible usually online through your exam board’s past questions, your teachers may even write some up for you if you ask! (mine did). If you have used all of these practice questions you could even go further and use the spec to create your own questions, put yourself in an examiner mindset and think of all the questions that could be asked surrounding your topic. When revising and answering practice questions, link topics together as this will be helpful for the essay questions in the exam and will get you higher marks if you can bring in knowledge from a range of modules.
These tips are not here to guarantee you an A/A* in your exams but to help you structure your revision and just general A-level studies from the get go to help you work towards achieving those higher grades!
Hi, I'm Aba and I started The Student Scope to give other students advice on their academic journey. Have a look around and enjoy!