Guide to the



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SLC GEOG DEPT
UNIT 4: 6GEOG4
HITTING THE 70’S
A STUDENTS GUIDE TO

THE WRITING AND



PRESENTATION OF THE

EXAMINATION REPORT



ESSAY
TO BE STUDIED IN CONJUNCTION WITH THE “A2 GEOGRAPHY

ADVICE TO STUDENTS”



Booklet produced by EDEXCEL

WHAT MAKES A GOOD EXAM REPORT ESSAY?
Essentially Students need to be aware of and aim for the 3 R’s throughout the writing of the Exam Report Essay.
READABILITY RELEVANCE RIGOROUS RESEARCH
READABILITY
The Exam Report Essay has to be READABLE to the Examiner. This can be achieved by the following:


  1. A focused introduction which explains the issues to the reader. Avoid the basic definition such as “I am going to…”. Try for a well thought out beginning. Do try to work out what the issues are. A diagram may help here…to establish evaluative criteria.

Should be about 150-200 words

  1. A logical structure, which focuses on key factors as opposed to just the narration and description of case studies. This can be a real problem when comparing two health issues, or two National Parks. Frequently students try to include too many case studies. One idea is to develop the use of case-study boxes OR use maps/diagrams as vehicles for presenting examples in order to pull out comparative factors.

  2. Diagrams and/or Maps need to be incorporated into the writing and fully referenced and referred to in the writing. Go for sophisticated diagrams which really add DEPTH and DETAIL to the writing ie Having the evidence well documented so that you can pull out what is needed/relevant to the question.

  3. Using a full report format avoid one sentence sections; a chunky approach works better with linked ideas grouped together. Avoid overlong sections without paragraphs BUT if split up too much it can read like a strip cartoon!! The LENGTH of paragraph IS important.



AN ESSAY WITH HEADINGS… INTRODUCTION-ANALYSIS-CONCLUSIONS is good practice!


  1. CONCLUSION should be very closely linked to the title ie meaningful. So in a discussion it might say..on the one hand,…on the other hand..or..to an extent. It should be clearly signposted, and substantial (say 300 words), and should not introduce new ideas. It should not tend towards sensationalisation.

REMEMBER THIS IS THE LAST PART OF YOUR WORK THAT THE EXAMINER WILL READ!!
RELEVANCE
With a tight time allowance it is absolutely vital all the report essay is relevant to the question set.


  1. Before you write the exam report essay, use a detailed page planning system with possibly a concept/mind map so that you can see that you will achieve 100% relevance. It is vital that you start with a highly relevant introduction.

THIS IS THE FIRST PART THAT THE EXAMINER WILL READ!!


  1. Before you begin to write up your essay develop a rationale for case study choice. Each case-study has to be carefully chosen to be closely related to the title, and to actually make a number of useful points.

Be selective!!



  1. It is a good idea to write out the title at the beginning of the planning page and to destructure it – clearly identifying the command and focus words and then plan the answer.(SEE A2 GUIDANCE)


RIGOROUS RESEARCH
The Assessment Criteria clearly shows that you have to DEMONSTRATE that a wide variety of Research has taken place from a number of sources AND THAT research can be effectively applied to the question set and its issues.
(SEE A2 GUIDANCE AS WELL)
REMEMBER!!BOOKS

MAGAZINES/Articles and

WEBSITES


  1. SELECTIVITY of research is VITAL. Assemble all your ideas together in a logical sequence to present an argument. It is not “all I know about..” BUT “what I know and can apply to..” Good Planning is essential BEFORE you start writing.

  2. Try to develop ORIGINAL diagrams, tables and possibly maps which provide a summarised overview of the research…and annotated to save time as well !

  3. Always try to footnote quotations from key texts

  4. SELECT your case-studies to demonstrate a point in the argument, as part of a clear rationale.

  5. TRY TO CONSIDER THE BIAS OF YOUR RESEARCH SOURCES, and evaluate your methodology ie where and how you obtained the information

  6. INCORPORATE and record fullest details possible of references and websites as you write your essay. Weave these into the sequence of your arguments ie “ The Geography Review of … contained an interesting article about…which maintained that…however, subsequent research from… tended to show… etc etc”

  7. Build in the use of some footnotes as you write to SHOWCASE the VARIETY of your research

  8. Ensure that the whole piece of work is correctly sequenced.

BUILD IN CHECKING TIME and remember THE DOG!!

SOME USEFUL WRITING HINTS….


  1. DEVELOPING LITERACY (boosting your QWC!!)




    1. Sentence starters and connectives (see sheets)

Study and Learn them in order to encourage you to think more about how you introduce and structure the language and ideas that you are using.


    1. Phrases and Terminology (see Sheets).

These are examples of Good Practice that will enable you to demonstrate your coherent arguments to the Examiner.


    1. EMOTION – Students must not write emotionally OR

Be swayed by their own opinions

Ie I think it is terrible that…the essay



should be a balanced and impartial

viewpoint on the issues.


  1. INTERPRETING OPINIONS


Students need to ask themselves these questions in order to try and identify the DEGREE OF BIAS of their sources.

      • Does it present a balanced opinion based on factual data?

      • Does it inform rather than persuade?

      • Is the opinion subjective (emotional,NIMBY,idiosyncratic,prejudiced)?

      • Does it portray a vested interest?

      • Is it optimistic or pessimistic?

      • Is the opinion seemingly unbiased and objective (detached, equitable)?

      • Is the opinion impartial?

      • Is it sensationalistic or populist?

      • Is it a ubiquitous opinion?


THE EXAMINER WILL EXPECT THE STUDENT TO ADOPT AN EVALUATIVE STYLE OF WRITING THROUGHOUT THE ESSAY SO…(see A2 Guidance)

(ESPECIALLY STRUCTURE DIAGRAM)
INTRODUCTION
This should identify the question and/or issues and state what it actually means in terms of how you will approach the answering of it.
State why this is an important issue for study and define the scale of study
The purpose of the report essay should be made clear and guide the reader through the structure of the report essay.
The introduction should be around 100-200 words
Students should be encouraged to devise diagrams that link this part to the main analysis.



ANALYSIS


Students have mind maps/concept diagrams to help them structure the main analysis. Think about the sequence of your analysis and remain focused at each stage.
The analysis will usually be focused on the theories and/or models that you have found and case-studies to exemplify.
The analysis should form the basis for the conclusion.
This section should have statements that direct the reader towards the final conclusion, by summing up each part of the analysis thus providing showcased on-going evaluation.(See Developing Literacy Sheets)



CONCLUSION


This section draws together ALL THE MAIN THREADS of the essay arguments AND should conclude an ordered series of conclusions (if appropriate) OR one overall conclusion.
There should be NO NEW evidence in your conclusion.

That should be in the Analysis already!!


It should be no more than 200-300 words.
ESSAY WRITING : RAISING A2 ACHIEVEMENT
GENERAL:
√ Use Assessment Criteria AS TARGETS – have you achieved certain

elements ? BREAK THEM DOWN!!


√ They are used by Examiners as THE Primary Marking Resource
Pick out Command and Focus Words in the Title. What is the title asking? What is the context?

Good idea to write out Title and De-Structure it
MUST WRITE PLAN! One Page as an AID MEMOIR eg Mind Map/Concept Diagram AND cancel out sections as completed.
√ Do NOT get fixated upon learnt case-studies, whether relevant or not.

APPLICATION of Knowledge IS VITALLY IMPORTANT.
MORE SPECIFICALLY…EXAMINERS ARE LOOKING FOR…
SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION
Students need to signpost definitions etc to the examiner

Eg What is a hazard? What is an impact? What is Management? Etc
Set out framework for essay – so that examiner can see where you are heading – justify choice of case-studies – so it is clear from this Section just where your answer is leading
GOOD CANDIDATES:

Demonstrate understanding of Qu/Title

Define terms

Provide framework for answer

Appropriate Case-Studies identified

Mentions the scale of the answer ie Global? Regional?


SECTION 2: RESEARCH
Up-to-date Research IS VITAL esp Newspapers/Journals/Websites
Show EVIDENCE of Research

Own Distinctive Examples



INDIVIDUAL TOUCH

Relevant Diagrams + Data etc – annotate!! Sketch Maps; sketch diagrams; graphs etc etc Tables? THINK!!

BUT these must be used. MUST BE CROSS-REFERENCED

Know WHO Said What – quote Authors



SHOW OBVIOUS BACKGROUND READING

AIM – for the Individual Touch – do not just use taught/common case-studies. USE your Geographical Experiences!!


SELECTION OF CASE-STUDIES IS IMPORTANT

esp Contrasting ones etc


MAPS – do not need to be complex ► Simple, but detailed Annotation

DO A CHART TO FOCUS ON CASE-STUDIES eg

TECTONIC HAZARDS


Social

Impact
Econ

Impact

Etc


…could do the same for other options!

Political

Impact
SECTION 3: APPLICATION OF RESEARCH AND UNDERSTANDING OF CONCEPTS : ANALYSIS
GOOD PLACE TO GIVE SIGNPOSTS – good to say that this is an example of

Eg causes; impacts; responses etc IE Related to the Command/Focus words in the Qu/Title


CONCEPTS – good idea to have a grasp of ECON DEV levels – a table to a

CONTINUUM eg

G8 █ MEDC █ NIT █ LEDC █ LLEDC █ OIL RICH █ FORMER SOV █ etc

Example


Country

(HDI RANK)


KEY ELEMENTS TO THIS SECTION
Need Geog Theory/Models in here IF applicable

Demand for High Argument/Persuasive/Evaluative Skills Here

See WORLD AS A CONTINUUM



FOLLOW COMMAND/FOCUS WORDS

The Qu/Title is asking for reasons WHY THIS/THAT IS?


NEEDS PHRASES TO SHOW ON-GOING EVALUATIVE STYLE
SECTION 4 : CONCLUSIONS
■ Appreciate COMPLEXITY of Title rather than simplistic Cause + Effect

■ Use concluding phrases AS SIGNPOSTS (“to sum up” “in conclusion” etc)

Again needs to be directed at COMMAND/FOCUS words in Title

POSSIBLE TO INTRODUCE A FUTURE PERSPECTIVE

ie “What if in the future…?”

EVALUATION can be throughout the Essay – it is CROSS-CREDITED



SECTION 5 : QUALITY OF WRITTEN COMMUNICATION
☺ Many get into the 6-8 area. TOP BAND IS DIFFICULT.
TO GET INTO TOP BAND:

- must have geographical terminology




X DO NOT USE LOTS OF TABLES

X BULLET POINTS NOT ALWAYS APPROPRIATE

MUST BE CLEAR CONCLUSIONS



!!! IF TIME IS SHORT can use bullet points BUT Plan is VITAL

      • it will be read and can be given credit.

      • IT MUST NOT BE CROSSED OUT!!


ESSAY GRADE A : 52/70 ??

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