Why is O level Geography difficult to score?
Crafting a good geography essay require critical thinking skills and content knowledge; Something most students in Singapore find it difficult to master.
We have summarised 6 key strategies on how to score A for Geography from our top Geography teachers around Singapore:
1. Knowing the exam format and requirements
First of all, you need to familiarise with the exam format, which includes knowing the structure of the paper and how many marks are in each section.
This will help you with time management in the Geography exam; you can allocate time more effectively for each section so that you don’t end up spending too much time on one and end up not ﬁnishing another.
For O-level Geography, these are the 2 papers:
[ Paper 1 ] - 2 sections of structured questions, 50% of the total score
Section A is a compulsory question on Geographical investigations based on the topics Coasts / Global Tourism. Advised to spend 55 minutes here and its worth 25 marks.
Section B are 2 structured questions of the same topics where you choose 1 of it. Advised to spend 45 minutes here and its worth 25 marks.
Total Duration = 1 hour 40 minutes
[ Paper 2 ] - 2 sections of structured questions, 50% of the total score
Section A has 2 questions and you choose 1 of it, the topics are based on Living with Techtonic Hazards / Variable Weather and Changing Climate. Advised to spend 45 minutes here and its worth 25 marks.
Section B has 2 questions and you choose 1 of it, the topics are based on Food Resources / Health and Diseases. Advised to spend 45 minutes here and its worth 25 marks.
Total Duration = 1 hour 30 minutes
2. Customised notes
Many teachers and schools usually provide notes that can be very helpful when you are revising your work, however these are usually large piles of papers and it is almost impossible to memorise them.
It is recommended that every Secondary student should create their own customised notes.
You don’t have to be an artist and make notes like how ‘professional graphic writers do', neither do you need an iPad and an Apple pencil to do it.
A piece of paper, a pen, and a highlighter will sufﬁce.
You can get some ideas from YouTube that teaches you how they take notes and most of the time they would print out their notes and have nice handwriting. As long as you can read it, it doesn't matter about how bad your handwriting is.
Another good point about creating your own notes mean that you can means that you can start from wherever you want and build up the way you like it to the end.
Another beneﬁt of having your own notes means is that you can make it portable and have a glance at it right at any time or even before you enter the exam room.
3. Improve your English & Argumentative skills
You must learn how to reason, persuade and argue constructively. Not just memorise and list out everything on what you recall.
Every question is different, so you need to customise your arguments to fit into the essay.
Polish Your English - Watch your grammar and spelling. Improve your tone, diction, sentence structure. You wouldn't want to lose marks from a misspelled word or poor grammar that has another meaning that misleads the examiner.
4. Asking a Geography expert to help
Once you have identiﬁed what are your weak points and what topics you have difficulties in, get someone to help you sort out your doubts.
You need time to prepare for your O-level Geography examination and getting your doubts cleared help you revise better when you make notes too.
You can also ask your school teachers for help if they have time after school hours. They know the subject the most and they know how to effectively help you since they see you week in week out.
If you are in a lockdown or you can’t get in touch with your teachers then your friends are next. Your friends also study the same topics as you so even though they might not be able to teach you as well, they would be your next move. If they cannot help you, seeking help from free online resources would be next, or asking your parents.
I mentioned parents the last because unless they are a Geography tutor, they wouldn’t be able to accurately help you and guide you to an A1.
Sleep is very important, especially for Geography where you have to recall many facts, data and names of geographical locations.
I recommend that you get 8 hours of sleep so that your mind has enough time to store all the information, make notes and digest the definitions or names of places.
If you are constantly sleeping for only 5 or 6 hours a day, taking a big leap to 8 hours a day is not good. It is better to slowly adjust over some time so that you get use to it. Moving forward your bedtime by 10 minutes a day is acceptable. Read this article to learn more on how much sleep do you actually need.
6. Be healthy
You must regular meals at so that you don’t get distracted by hunger when studying, and also drink lots of water. 8 to 10 glasses should be sufﬁcient, you wouldn’t want to get dehydrated and faint during your exam.
Another tip is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to get enough fibre and daily bowel movement. Do regular exercise to keep metabolism up and a good run often gives you a fresh mind later on. Exercising at least 3 times a week is a good way to keep healthy.
These 6 ways can help you do better in your O-level Geography examinations. Follow these steps to get the desired grade you want for the O levels.