Unit 2 - Geographical Investigations - Student Guide

6GEO2 Unit 2 Geographical Investigations –
Student Guide
Assessment overview + timings
Fieldwork audit
Handling data stimulus
Fieldwork ‘virtuous circle’
Fieldwork rigour + mistakes
Moving up the mark scheme
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1. Overview
• Unit 2 has four components, but you
are only required to study two of
• In the 75 minute exam you answer
one question based on your two
chosen topic areas. This means there
is no choice.
• This exam is designed to test both
knowledge and understanding of
geographical concepts as well as
geographical skills.
• Fieldwork, research and the enquiry
process lie at the heart of this exam.
• The most important ways of ensuring
the highest possible grades in this
module is (i) being able to focus on
the question set, (ii) to be able to use
resources effectively, and (iii) to get
your fieldwork in a form that works for
the exam.
UNIT 2: The Paired
Options –you only
study one in each
The ‘Physical’ Pair
1. Extreme
2. Crowded Coasts
The ‘Human’ Pair
1. Unequal Spaces
2. Rebranding
UNIT 2 – Assessment overview and structure
• Normally the first part of
each question starts with
a data stimulus element.
• The fieldwork and
research elements are
related directly to work
you have carried out
during a field trip AND
may involve questions
about how you
processed, interpreted
etc what you found.
• The remaining question
is more management and
issues based. Here case
study knowledge will be
•The data stimulus in unlikely
to be the 15 mark question
•Data stimulus with an analysis
element is possible
Time Management
Sticking to the suggested timings on
the exam paper is crucial to success.
The paper has 75 minutes in total, so
you need to spend about 35 minutes
on each question. These leave a few
minutes for final checking
The 15 mark fieldwork and research
questions need the most time as they
carry the highest tariff and are time
for thinking as you will have to
organise thoughts for a specific
question focus.
The data response and case study
style questions should be quicker to
do and therefore need less time.
Think about quality not quantity.
Section a
(Resource: 10
marks) ~ 8-10
Section b
(Fieldwork +
Research: 15
marks) ~17-18
Managing time on
each question:
Section c (Case
study: 10
marks) ~ 8-10
Practice parts of questions under timed
There is no need to fill up all the space on
the exam paper
Writing a short glossary as you go will be
invaluable for final revision
A special note on the ‘Fieldwork and Research’
questions (15 marks)
• ‘Realism’ and locational detail
are likely to score highly.
• Questions might be based on:
planning & methods, or
presentation & results, or
conclusions & evaluation
• Credit given for reference to:
– new technology + virtual
– named web references
– qualitative and ‘unusual’
methods / sources.
• Accurate reference to
examples and real places
visited is a way of giving
• Fieldwork and research
balance in all areas
• Direct use of own work
• Awareness of limitations
• Use of methods
terminology ,
presentation, analysis
Fieldwork Audit –
look at the range of areas of the specification that
questions can be drawn from. This ‘audit’ covers the main areas to consider.
Handling Data Stimulus questions
• Expect relatively simple
resources - wide range
possible including:
• Maps / charts
• Graphs
• Simple tables of data
• Photographs / images
• Cartoons
•Careful observation of the resource
•Understand ‘describe’ vs ‘comment
•Standing back: looking for patterns,
trends and anomalies
•Direct use of resource in answer
•Full coverage
•Use of terminology
The part (a) questions are essentially about responding to the resources
which have been provided. Rehearsing how to respond to photographs, data
and maps is really important prior to taking the exam (e.g. by using these
resources as starters at the beginning of lessons), allowing you to deal with
patterns, trends and anomalies. It is also very important that you establish
whether the task is one of description or explanation. It is certainly not a
place to deliver detailed or wide-ranging case studies.
‘Handling’ the photo
Typically questions which use an
image may start with:
1. ‘describe.....’,
2. ‘describe how’,
3. or ‘comment on’
Your answer needs to take account
of these different command words
as the response requires a
different balance in terms of using
the resource and your own
knowledge and understanding.
It is important to create points
of reference, e.g. foreground
background, upper left quadrant
etc. Do a sketch in your
response to illustrate this.
A tightly focused response
Try to go for a
balanced range of
ideas. Keep the
writing ‘free of
‘Virtuous circle’ –
this is the idea that the fieldwork and research process
needs to be ‘closed’. This means fully written-up in a way suitable for the exam
once the field day has been completed. This should be a shared group activity to
cover the work more quickly.
What are the options for follow-up?
A range of
options may
in order to
prepare for
the exam.
The most
activities are
in the light
green boxes
ACTIVITY 1 – METHODOLOGY WRITE-UP. Give a focus on the techniques and
approaches used, how the sites were selected, justification etc. Remember to
include both fieldwork and research ideas.
ACTIVITY 2 – PRESENTATION and ANALYSIS. Give a focus on the range of
techniques used to present the data and say why you used them. Also include a
description of how and why data was analysed (including qualitative, e.g.
Annotation of photographs etc).
you found, including some locational detail. You should also give details of
selected results, and provide an evaluative framework, e.g. limitations,
reliability of results etc.
Peer review of other modeled exam responses. Use highlighting, annotation etc
to learn from other peoples work. This could be linked to a mark scheme,
A fieldwork glossary...very useful to help with technical language in the exam.
This could be linked to a techniques matrix (see next slide).
A GIS / Google Earth map showing the locations visited as place marks.
Mock exam questions completed under timed conditions , linked to each of the
three activities above.
A PowerPoint presentation , to focus on giving a ‘virtual tour’ of the locations /
and or findings.
Extract from a techniques matrix
Adapted from Unit 2
Guide – Philip Allan
Customise and adapt this
generic list to hit your
fieldwork and research
This can be a useful way of
reviewing and revising the topic
of study. Sharpens terminology
and fieldwork range.
Fieldwork rigour
• It is important to remember Unit 2 is trying to
assess skills, as well as application of
knowledge and understanding.
• Correct use of language, as well as reference
to sampling may be appropriate (sample type
and sample size).
• Discuss how sites were chosen; consider the
suitability of different presentation and
analytical tools (means and medians etc).
• Make sure that any conclusions drawn relate to
the original aims of what you were trying to
Geography Review,
GeoFile and
GeoFactsheets may all
be relevant
Research in the exam –
important to mention
• There are lots of that you can
use…but get to together a hot
picks list (quote URL /
organisation in exam)
• List of local sources, e.g.
Newspaper, Local Authority,
Wildlife Trusts, blogs / forums
• Other publications
Common mistakes and pitfalls with Unit 2
Pitfalls and failures
•Time management issues – running short on the second question.
•Writing too much to fill the white space which is not relevant or off-topic.
•Ignoring the Figure (part a Qs), or using it partially or imprecisely .
•‘All I know’ case studies in the wrong places i.e. the 15 mark F & R
•Pre-prepared F&R which is not adapted to the specific question.
•Lack of balance, with in relation to a Figure, F&R or example.
•Missing a key word in a question e.g. ‘impacts’ or ‘strategies’.
•To much detail on one F or R method, and therefore a lack of range.
Moving up the Mark
scheme..understanding the Q
Your own
Fieldwork AND
You need to address this
part to access the higher
level marks
Watch for urban
/ rural rubric
Mark schemes....make the leap from L3-L4
Look at past mark
schemes and reports
to see how it is
possible to make the
leap from L3 – L4. You
need to include
details + judgments in
our example linked to

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