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Exam technique advice

Population Change - Example of How to Answer An 8 Mark GCSE Question

  • Levels: GCSE
  • Exam boards: AQA

In GCSE geography, every mark counts. Let's look at an example of how to use good exam technique to score maximum marks on 8 mark questions - this time on the topic of population change.

I'll use this question that featured on the AQA GCSE Human Geography Paper (Higher) in summer 2014.

Question 1 (b) (ii)

Account for the strategies adopted by one EU country to cope with an ageing population.

Worked answer: [my examiner comments are in brackets - commenting on the exam skills demonstrated]

The example I will use is the UK. One strategy the government has used is to increase the retirement age so people are working longer. (One relevant point made – L1). Males and females now have an equal retirement age of 65 and it will be increased to 67 (Specific facts – Level 3). This helps them to cope with an ageing population as it means that more tax is being paid so the government have more available money and it also reduces the need for as many pensions as people are working longer. (Developed point – explains how the strategy tackles the issues associated with an ageing population – L2).

Another way is by increasing the length of maternity and paternity leave. (One relevant point made – L1). This will encourage people to have children so that there are future workers to balance out the ageing population. The future dependency ratio will decrease and more economically active people will contribute to the economy. (Developed point – explains how the strategy tackles the issues associated with an ageing population – L2). In the UK, women can have up to 52 weeks statutory maternity pay which may encourage people to have more children as they have a long length of time with their baby before they have to return to work. A new law where men can have up to 26 weeks paternity pay has also been introduced so that men can also have the responsibility if the woman wishes to return to work (Specific facts – Level 3)

A final strategy being used is cheaper nursery fees. Children receive 15 hours free nursery care per week from the age of 2 dependent upon their parents working hours. Also, working people can receive tax free childcare vouchers so that childcare is cheaper. (Relevant points made – L1, with specific facts stated – L3). By providing these incentives for childcare, people are more likely to return to work earlier and their tax will enable the Government to tackle the financial issues associated with ageing population – pensions and healthcare issues predominantly (Developed point – explain how the strategy tackles the issues associated with an ageing population).

Overall: A solid level 3 answer – 8/8. Named example given immediately. Three strategies stated which are linked to Government actions. The candidate then explains how the strategies address the issues of an ageing population. A range of case study facts and figures embedded into the answer – level 3.

SPaG – 3. No issues with spelling, punctuation and grammar. A range of specialist terms used in context with the question asked.

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