6geo2 unit 2 geographical investigations student guide l.
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6GEO2 Unit 2 Geographical Investigations – Student Guide. CONTENTS. Overview Assessment overview + timings Fieldwork audit Handling data stimulus Fieldwork ‘virtuous circle’ Fieldwork rigour + mistakes Moving up the mark scheme.

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6GEO2 Unit 2 Geographical Investigations – Student Guide

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  • Overview
  • Assessment overview + timings
  • Fieldwork audit
  • Handling data stimulus
  • Fieldwork ‘virtuous circle’
  • Fieldwork rigour + mistakes
  • Moving up the mark scheme

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Click on the home button to return to this contents page

1 overview
1. Overview
  • Unit 2 has four components, but you are only required to study two of these.
  • In the 75 minute exam you answer one question based on your two chosen topic areas. This means there is no choice.
  • This exam is designed to test both knowledge and understanding of geographical concepts as well as geographical skills.
  • Fieldwork, research and the enquiry process lie at the heart of this exam.
  • The most important ways of ensuring the highest possible grades in this module is (i) being able to focus on the question set, (ii) to be able to use resources effectively, and (iii) to get your fieldwork in a form that works for the exam.

UNIT 2: The Paired Options –you only study one in each pair!

The ‘Physical’ Pair

  • Extreme Weather
  • Crowded Coasts

The ‘Human’ Pair

  • Unequal Spaces
  • Rebranding
unit 2 assessment overview and structure
UNIT 2 – Assessment overview and structure
  • Normally the first part of each question starts with a data stimulus element.
  • The fieldwork and research elements are related directly to work you have carried out during a field trip AND may involve questions about how you processed, interpreted etc what you found.
  • The remaining question is more management and issues based. Here case study knowledge will be required.
  • The data stimulus in unlikely
  • to be the 15 mark question
  • Data stimulus with an analysis
  • element is possible
time management
Time Management
  • Practice parts of questions under timed conditions.
  • There is no need to fill up all the space on the exam paper
  • Writing a short glossary as you go will be invaluable for final revision 
  • Sticking to the suggested timings on the exam paper is crucial to success.
  • The paper has 75 minutes in total, so you need to spend about 35 minutes on each question. These leave a few minutes for final checking
  • The 15 mark fieldwork and research questions need the most time as they carry the highest tariff and are time for thinking as you will have to organise thoughts for a specific question focus.
  • The data response and case study style questions should be quicker to do and therefore need less time.
  • Think about quality not quantity.
a special note on the fieldwork and research questions 15 marks
A special note on the ‘Fieldwork and Research’ questions (15 marks)
  • Accurate reference to examples and real places visited is a way of giving realism
  • Fieldwork and research balance in all areas
  • Direct use of own work
  • Awareness of limitations
  • Use of methods terminology , presentation, analysis etc.
  • ‘Realism’ and locational detail are likely to score highly.
  • Questions might be based on: planning & methods, or presentation & results, or conclusions & evaluation
  • Credit given for reference to:
    • GIS
    • new technology + virtual fieldwork
    • named web references
    • qualitative and ‘unusual’ methods / sources.

Fieldwork Audit – look at the range of areas of the specification that questions can be drawn from. This ‘audit’ covers the main areas to consider.

handling data stimulus questions
Expect relatively simple resources - wide range possible including:

Maps / charts


Simple tables of data

Photographs / images


  • Careful observation of the resource
  • Understand ‘describe’ vs ‘comment on’
  • Standing back: looking for patterns, trends and anomalies
  • Direct use of resource in answer
  • Full coverage
  • Use of terminology
Handling Data Stimulus questions

The part (a) questions are essentially about responding to the resources which have been provided. Rehearsing how to respond to photographs, data and maps is really important prior to taking the exam (e.g. by using these resources as starters at the beginning of lessons), allowing you to deal with patterns, trends and anomalies. It is also very important that you establish whether the task is one of description or explanation. It is certainly not a place to deliver detailed or wide-ranging case studies.

handling the photo
‘Handling’ the photo

Typically questions which use an image may start with:


‘describe how’,

or ‘comment on’

Your answer needs to take account of these different command words as the response requires a different balance in terms of using the resource and your own knowledge and understanding.

It is important to create points of reference, e.g. foreground background, upper left quadrant etc. Do a sketch in your response to illustrate this.

a tightly focused response
A tightly focused response

Try to go for a balanced range of ideas. Keep the writing ‘free of fluff’


‘Virtuous circle’ – this is the idea that the fieldwork and research process needs to be ‘closed’. This means fully written-up in a way suitable for the exam once the field day has been completed. This should be a shared group activity to cover the work more quickly.

extract from a techniques matrix
Extract from a techniques matrix

Adapted from Unit 2 Guide – Philip Allan Updates

This can be a useful way of reviewing and revising the topic of study. Sharpens terminology and fieldwork range.

Customise and adapt this generic list to hit your fieldwork and research

fieldwork rigour
Fieldwork rigour
  • It is important to remember Unit 2 is trying to assess skills, as well as application of knowledge and understanding.
  • Correct use of language, as well as reference to sampling may be appropriate (sample type and sample size).
  • Discuss how sites were chosen; consider the suitability of different presentation and analytical tools (means and medians etc).
  • Make sure that any conclusions drawn relate to the original aims of what you were trying to study.

Geography Review, GeoFile and GeoFactsheets may all be relevant

research in the exam important to mention
Research in the exam – important to mention
  • There are lots of that you can use…but get to together a hot picks list (quote URL / organisation in exam)
  • List of local sources, e.g. Newspaper, Local Authority, Wildlife Trusts, blogs / forums etc.
  • Other publications
moving up the mark scheme understanding the q
Moving up the Mark scheme..understanding the Q

Your own work

Fieldwork AND research

Watch for urban / rural rubric issues

You need to address this part to access the higher level marks

mark schemes make the leap from l3 l4
Mark schemes....make the leap from L3-L4

Look at past mark schemes and reports to see how it is possible to make the leap from L3 – L4. You need to include details + judgments in our example linked to rebranding