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Exam technique advice

GCSE (AQA) Business Studies Exam Skills: How to Answer a 9 mark Question

This is my second blog looking at how to develop your exam skills and maximise your marks in GCSE (AQA) Business Studies.

Three 9 mark questions will appear on each paper in the summer exams. There are 5 marks available for an evaluation and 4 marks available for the other assessment objectives. Make sure that you leave enough time to answer the final 9 mark question on the paper and that your evaluations reflect the marks available for this skill i.e. a nice chunky paragraph should be given at the end of the answer (ask for more paper if you need to).

A clearly structured answer that is applied to the context throughout and answers the exact question set, will help you achieve the higher levels in this type of question. Some tips for success on 9 mark questions are:

- Start off with application and analysis paragraphs and then follow with an evaluation at the end of the answer.

- No definitions are required at the start of your answer; instead, start a response with phrases such as "On one hand it would be good for XXX business to..." and then counter the point/argument with "However,"

- The answer must be in context throughout.

- A chain of argument should be evident e.g. explain the effect on the business of the point being made. Analysis marks are awarded when the point explained is in context e.g. stating "this means more sales and more profit "in an answer without any context and further explanation as to why, would achieve level 2 (description) marks only.

- The evaluation should start with the phrase "Overall I think..." Refer back to the exact phrasing of the question when completing this part.

-Back up this judgement by explaining why you have chosen a particular option and why it is better than the alternative path the business could have chosen.

-To gain the highest marks for evaluation, try and support the judgement with new information as to why the business should go for that particular option. Avoid just repeating what is already included in the main body of the answer, as this would usually result in E1 being awarded, rather than E2.

-The best evaluations are the ones that really get to grips with the context and the situation facing the firm e.g. does the judgement fit in with the objectives of the firm, is it the most realistic etc. Try and include supporting evidence or a WOW factor to impress the examiners so they can award you 5/5 for evaluation.

Avoid comments relating to short v long term effects or depend on factors as they rarely add anything to the answer and more often than not thrown in with no understanding as to why.

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