Jonathan’s Guide to Rocking your Geography IGCSE

Greetings to all readers of this post. I have three Geography papers this year; themes, maps and skills, on the 2, 10, and 6 of May and June respectively (now the question is, does that “respectively” apply to the May-June and dates, or the list of exams and dates?). I thought¬†I would share with you all how these things are structured and how to get the most out of your exam…Not that any of my readers will ever need it again! All of the screenshots and sample questions below are taken from the June 2015 exam – the one taken by those in year 12 (grade 11) at the moment.

There are three parts to every question on the IGCSE paper. Here is each explained in more detail, and how to answer them, to help YOU ace your upcoming test (imagine corny advert on the TV):

Firstly, the short-answer questions – Mr McCart calls them “Common Sense”. Simple, one- or two-point questions to earn easy marks by interpreting graphs or maps. Easy. Some basic knowledge might be required, but mainly just warm-up stuff.


Geography Stage 1
The first part of an IGCSE question


Then we have the second type of question – the medium answer ones. These are, in my opinion, the hardest – they require objective facts from set, textbook knowledge. Forget the case studies – this is what I study for. It’s also what I make allowances for – knowing that I’ll probably only make three or four marks out of five, I perfect my case study and check my “Common Sense” first before embarking on these little bundles of joy. The example we have here requires information about overpopulation and reasons for growth and development (actually, the four points about overpopulation are relatively simple, – poorer quality of life, joblessness, lack of services, and maybe slip in deforestation due to an increased demand for housing – but this is how it turned out for this question).


Geography Stage 2
The second, more challenging type of IGCSE question

The third and final aspect of an IGCSE question is the thing which I look at when choosing which questions I want to answer on my test (there are six questions; we answer two of them). It is an instance of where something we have learned about is being experienced in a named country. The example from this question is to describe changes in the population structure¬†for a country I have studied. That end part is important – it makes the student panic as he tries to remember what country he has studied for this. However, as with most things in life, it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it that counts. Despite the fact that Albania isn’t mentioned once in the entire textbook, as long as I can come up with three true statements about how Albania’s population has changed, I’ll get the marks. Here, I’d probably go for Japan’s ageing population – but as I said, it doesn’t matter so long as I sound sincere and as if I actually know what I am talking about.


Geography Stage 3
The final, daunting step across the finish line

So there it is. How to ace your Geography IGCSE. SO much easier than Biology, but still fun. In fact, writing these gives me great pleasure – but that’s because I’m weird. Besides, if I forget it all at 10:30 on 2 May, it doesn’t matter how much I think I know the system…




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