HSC Geography: How to smash the Exam

Geography in Stage 6 is one of those subjects which actually is quite difficult in terms of content. Like HSC English or Mathematics, which is the polar extremes of either analytical or methodical; the reality is…

Geography has it all.

The Multiple Choice Skills questions uses calculation and logic, being primarily mathematics based. It is then, in the consecutive sections of the paper where a large variety of evidence based examples and successful essay writing techniques are required.

So with these key points, the ability to improve the overall quality of your answers can fight that daunting HSC Geography paper.

Do as many practice questions as possible
In terms of Section One of the HSC Paper, the most effective way to smash the skills is through practice. Whilst remembering content in Geography is essential for the short answers and essay, for skills just reading through notes just doesn’t work. Using the stimulus booklet to practice on the different scale questions or the vertical exaggeration concepts has such great value in preparation. Try keep time to 30 minutes and just attempt! You can learn from a mistake or celebrate your understanding of a question.

Here’s a link to all the papers from 2001-2018:

Evidence! Evidence! Evidence!
It cannot be stressed enough how important examples are in Geography for short answer questions but most importantly the essays. Every ecosystems case study, every urban dynamic topic and all economic activity trends, NEEDS EXAMPLES. Like quotes for English or legislation for Legal Studies; statistics, news articles, events, etc. are essential to get to those top bands. Go research online for these, rather than reliance on the textbook or class and base all your Geography terminology and processes on your example.

Look at the marks and keep to the point
In terms of the short answer questions, the amount of marks rewarded determines how much and what should be in your writing. The best part about HSC Geography is a that you don’t have to be a great English writer, all the writing has to be “to the point”.
For example, a 6 marker short answer question requires three pieces of evidence an absolutely no waffle. In a sense, writing in Geography is absolutely keeping to TEEL structure. The worst thing to do is actually go over the provided space as it shows the marker: “there’s too much waffle.” In an essay, 20 markers requires 6 paragraphs with a SPECIFIC example for each one, think of it as six mini paragraphs rather than the conventional three large ones.

Self-made Study sheets should be your best friend
Now remembering these statistics can be a great challenge. Overall what needs to be remembered should be the examples where Geography content you learn in class can link to them and job your memory. The most helpful way to do this is to have subcategories of each case study in the HSC course, place all relevant stats, articles, facts in MAX a page and just revise. 20 pages of Geography content will not benefit, is irrelevant, and is too much to remember.

Read the question very carefully
Finally, What most Geography students find difficult is evaluation. Essentially, evaluation is having an opinion on whether a strategy (governmental plan, a traditional management plan, a future direction) is effective or limited. In questions where it asks you to “assess” or “evaluate”, this judgement after you present your specific example is super important. Even if its 2 sentences at the end, it can help tremendously in providing what the question is asking.

*Please note that while this information is a great starting point for these texts,
relying solely on the information in this post will not be enough to get a result in the
top bands.


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