That Blue Square Thing - Geography Revision

Exam Skills

WARNING! These pages are now very old. They were last updated in 2008 and the content applies to an old version of any geography syllabus currently active in the UK.
I've kept them here because there might be something useful for someone and the general marking principles aren't all that different. But be aware that it's old and out of date (the stuff on the Google Earth page in particular may not work at all)

There are a lot of marks for skills.

If you can do this sort of stuff well you can get the marks easily. What do marks make? Grades!

This is all about doing simple things well. By "well" I mean accurately and quickly. Not taking too long, not making silly mistakes, not losing marks.

So, read the advice and download the guides. Make sure you get these marks.


A lot of the skills marks can be gained so much more easily if you're equipped properly. You need to have with you:

Can't be bothered to get this stuff together? Trust me - you're losing marks. But then, if you can't be bothered you deserve to lose the marks anyway. Loser.


This is all about practice. You can get mapwork questions at school, although I'll try and add a few here soon. Mapwork is all about confidence and accuracy, and you get both of those through practice. Be quick, be accurate, make sure you're equipped.

Pay particular attention to distance and six figure grid references. These are the things people get wrong more often than not. And always remember that there are 3 ways of measuring height on a map: contour lines; spot heights and triangulation pillars.

PDF IconDownload the Ordnance Survey mapwork guide to help you remember the key points


Harder than you think! Using photos well is quite a skill. It's worth taking a little time to read the guide here - don't assume that you're great at using photos. Lots of really good candidates don't get good marks on this area.

PDF IconDownload the Using Photographs guide to sharpen up your photo use skills

Graph Drawing

So simple, yet so many people throw marks away on this. It's really all about accuracy.

PDF IconDownload the Graph Skills guide to make sure you can cope with the details of graph drawing

Tables of Data

You get data in a table. You have to use it. Easy yes? Oh yes, dead easy - but so very easy to make a mistake and look really, really stupid. Trust me - I've seen thousands of exam papers that do it.

Take your time and double check. It's not hard to do.

Take a look at the population sample question for a good example of the sort of question you need to be able to deal with.

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