Exam Support

Classification types: structuring your answer so that you are 'thinking like a geographer'.

Andy Day

18th May 2016

Within more extended answers at both GCSE and AS/A level in geography, there is a need to organise your points. A random stream of consciousness (as the ideas occur to you in the exam hall) may give bulk, but it doesn't give structure. You want to demonstrate you can think logically, in an organised way and taking a full range of possible perspectives. This goes towards the 'thinking like a geographer' when you apply a geographer's structure to all the material you are writing about.

To develop your response structure you will want to classify the points you are going to make. This requires you to spend a few moments planning your answer before you start to write, select your classification theme (see below) and allocate your intended points within that structure. This may take a minute or two while other candidates are busily writing away, but your answer will be all the stronger for having addressed the question in an organised and structured manner. It will also help you cover a broader range of points and avoid the common exam issue of writing more and more, on basically the same idea - so that repetition of an idea fills the page rather than using the time for breadth and sophistication, and examining perspectives and concepts that show you 'thinking like a geographer'.

Andy Day

Andy recently finished being a classroom geographer after 35 years at two schools in East Yorkshire as head of geography, head of the humanities faculty and director of the humanities specialism. He has written extensively about teaching and geography - with articles in the TES, Geography GCSE Wideworld and Teaching Geography.

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