Ace Your Geography Open-Ended Questions (OEQ) in the GCE 'O' Levels

Ace Your Geography Open-Ended Questions (OEQ) in the GCE 'O' Levels

February 1, 2020

 

One of the key questions students always have is how they can ace the Open-Ended Questions (OEQ) for the GCE 'O' Level Pure and Elective Geography paper. OEQ takes up 8 marks per question and doing well for them will give you a big boost in acing your examination.

 

Let us first look at the mark scheme (see Table 1) for OEQ and what examiners are looking for when they mark your question:

 

 

 

With that in mind, let us now look at TWO question types for OEQ, and the approach that we should take to attain Level 3 in marks.

 

Question Type 1: Questions with ONE given factor

 

Sample Question

 

"Distance from the sea is the most important factor affecting temperature at a location.” To what extent is this true? Support your answer using evidence. (2014)

 

Approach

 

1. Identify the word that shows the ONE given factor

2. Decide on the stand

3. Analyse extent BUT be clear of the meaning "larger extent’ and “lesser extent”. What do they mean?

4. Set context/criteria on why statement is true / not true; agree / disagree

5. PEEL the factor / cause / effect

6. Provide a two-sided argument – there is no need to say “I disagree” or “statement is not true” – Avoid the ‘Schizophrenia syndrome’ 

7. However, must use “opposite” meaning words, e.g. however, although, on the other hand

 

Sample Answer

 

First Paragraph:

 

I think the statement is true to a large extent that distance from sea is the most important factor from the sea refers to how large water bodies like the sea heats up more slowly (as compared to land) and loses heat more slowly as well. It thus has a moderating effect on temperatures of coastal areas in temperate climates. The mean annual temperature is more extreme in inland areas compared to coastal areas in temperature climatic zone. This can be explained by the maritime and continental effects, where the sea has a regulating effect on temperatures of coastal areas because it heats up and loses heat slower than large land masses. Therefore, in the summer months, higher temperatures are experienced at inland areas due to the lack of influence from the sea. For example, Fairbanks in Canada is an inland area which experiences low mean annual temperature of -40C. In contrast, Anchorage, a coastal town in Canada, experiences higher mean annual temperatures of 50C due to maritime effect.

 

Second Paragraph:

 

However, other factors such as altitude can be more important in affecting temperature of places, [Different context] especially between places with the same latitude. Temperature decreases by about 6.5C with every 1000m increase in altitude.

 

Conclusion:

 

Establish extent to scale, space, place and impact

 

 

Question Type 2: Questions with comparative phrasing

 

 

Sample Question

 

“The benefits of living close to a volcano outweighs any risks.” To what extent is this true? Use examples to support your answer. (2017)

 

Approach

 

1. State your stand with regard to the truth of the statement.

2. It should be supported with appropriate elaboration and explanation, as well with relevant examples.

3. Provide a balanced answer by considering under what context/situation does the statement becomes otherwise. This should also be supported with appropriate elaboration and explanation, as well with relevant examples.

4. Provide a suitable conclusion using relevant geographical concepts (e.g. considers both scale, place and impact) should be then be used to describe and reinforce the extent of the original stand.

 

Sample Answer

 

First Paragraph:

 

The statement is true to a large extent that the benefits of living close to a volcano outweighs any risks. [Set context / criteria] This is because in many developing countries where people live near volcanoes, people find that harnessing the benefits is important for their livelihood and survival despite the possibility of a volcanic eruption.  PEEL the benefits

 

Second Paragraph:

 

However, this is not to say that there are no risks involved. [Set context / criteria] Even though they may get a livelihood out of harnessing from volcanic areas it may not be worth due to the ultimate risk involved – loss of lives. PEEL the risks and how lives are lost.

 

Conclusion:

Establish extent to scale, space, place and impact

 

 

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For an even more in-depth skills and content based learning, why not join our Pure and Elective Geography classes at Humanities Hub and learn from one of our most experienced tutors Mr Tan? His impeccable track record of producing 'A' students speaks for itself! Call us at 6264 2236 to register now!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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