That Blue Square Thing

GCSE Geography Revision

WARNING! These pages are now very old. Although I’ve updated the a little, the content really 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 But be aware that it's old and a bit out of date

A long time ago I used to mark GCSE Geography exam papers. I even wrote some and was involved in some syllabus development.

But that was a long time ago now.

A lot of the stuff here is probably way out of date. I've kept a few pages up to demonstrate some ideas and because there's some advice that's probably still useful. It's not perfect, and I seemed to use Comic Sans rather too much back then, but if the ideas help anyone it's worth the slight overhead of maintaining these pages.

The are some key exam skills on this page and there's a page for decision making exercise skills. This probably isn't as important these days, but we used to have whole exam papers dealing with this key set of 21st century skills. Until someone decided that the 1960s were where we needed to be at.

There are also three sets of "unit" pages. Each of these has some exam questions - two on the tourism pages - and some other general advice. There used to be more of these, but I decided I'd take them down, just leaving a handful as examples.

If this stuff's any use to anyone then that's grand. Feel free to contact me if there's anything that you think was here that you can't find anymore.

Exam Skills

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. 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

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.