Exam technique #10


Diagrams are very important in Geology – from fieldwork to working with maps (which are of course sophisticated diagrams). They give a visual description of the information you are trying to put into words. In exams, they can save a lot of time. Drawing diagrams is a skill which it is well worth perfecting, Yet many candidates seem to treat diagrams as unimportant – and lose marks accordingly.

The keywords are:

  • neat
  • labels
  • arrows
  • scale
  • compass directions
  • title

Continue reading

Exam technique #9

More about mathematical Geology questions.

1. Instructions given in the question stem.

Estimate …
Give a sensible approximation or order of magnitude – no need to reach for your calculator. Note – an estimate is not a guess!

Measure …
Use a ruler or protractor to get an accurate result! If you are NOT accurate, you WILL lose marks.

You must bring a decent ruler (preferably 30cms long) and a protractor to all Geology exams.

Calculate …
Work out the exact answer from the information given.

  • you must show your working!
  • show the units, if not given already.

Check your answer. Does it agree with your initial estimate?

Determine …
Similar to ‘calculate’, using known values and a standard formula.
Continue reading

Exam technique #8

8. Calculations and graphs in Geology exams

In Geology exams, calculations are straightforward and they usually – but not always –  involve finding the rate at which something moves or changes. (If you are not sure what formula to use, try working it out as a rate and see what the answer looks like – not very geological, but it might work!)

Make sure you know the meaning of the term rate. You can think of rate as another way of saying the speed at which something happens or changes.
Continue reading