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Y11 Revision Workshop - American West (Edexcel)

Using sports metaphors to improve pupil understanding of exam technique.

Richard Miller

on 6 June 2013

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Transcript of Y11 Revision Workshop - American West (Edexcel)

Analogies “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Chief examiners frequently highlight these
problems with candidates' work:
Lack of focus on the question set
Lacking support, clarity and organisation
Lacking conclusions Oh....and don't foget to take a deep breath before you
'dive' in! Relax, read, think, plan and begin. If you don't
you'll sink without a trace. Both Mr Sandall and I have lost count of the number of times we've told you about these common mistakes and you're probably sick of hearing us bang on about them but guess what......
I'm going to mention them one more time!! However perhaps it's us who are insane!
Maybe it's
time to give the same message with a different

What about using a few..... Make sure you notice if there is any time reference to the question....Many candidates wasted time or failed to gain the highest marks because they wrote about before 1876. Level 3 answers will show an understanding of the focus of the question and support the reasons/ factors identified with accurate and relevant details. Make sure that you don’t write down a learnt response which is on the same content area but from a previous examination paper. Look very carefully at the question you are actually answering. Centres might wish to spend some time with candidates: ensuring that candidates can identify the focus of the set question.

(Edexcel Examiners' Report January 2011 GCSE History
B2 5HB02 2B American West) The response for 6b is the start of a level 4 response. The candidate has analysed the significance of the discovery of gold in causing the Sioux Wars. The response then analyses the roles of the government and the army. There is a supported conclusion which finally weighs up the discovery of gold as a major factor.

(Edexcel Examiners' Report June 2010 GCSE History B2 5HB02 2B American West) There were many good secure responses to this question where candidates wrote well supported answers on the physical problems of farming, the problems faced by the women or the problems caused by weather and both the practical and emotional aspects of physical isolation. Better answers chose to link the problems with hygiene, lack of resources and a need for determination to tackle the issues. Some commented on positive aspects of sod houses. Weaker candidates chose simply to state that they were dirty or uncomfortable. Many candidates simply pointed out that crops died without water and did not explain the impact by linking to digging for water or hygiene problems or dry farming or tough ploughing. Better candidates pointed out the use of the railroad in bringing in technology or the materials needed to solve the problems.

(Edexcel Examiners' Report January 2010 GCSE History B2 5HB02 2B American West) Writing a good essay is a bit like rock climbing really. No really.....listen:
To climb well you need to be well prepared, disciplined and able to concentrate;
You've got to know where you want to end up and ....how you're going to get there;
Most climbers will consult a guide book and having studied the information they will make a plan;
Generally speaking the easiest route is the most direct. So keep it simple;
A satisfying climb will be split into sections and you have to think about how to link them together. If you don't it could be a while before you finally get to the end of the climb and that might mean you don't get to do another route;
If you don't think before you move you usually make a mistake and that can be quite bad! Writing a good essay is more like golf really when you think about it. Seriously...look think of it like this:
You have to spend hours at the driving range and on the course practising before you get any good;
You have to concentrate really hard;
You have to address the ball just right and hit it square or you're going to slice or hook it and end up in the rough!
In exactly the same way, you need to make sure you address the essay question precisely as required other wise your answer will be all over the place! Ok so maybe none of that's your cup of tea. What about the Olympics.
Writing a good essay is a bit like being a sprinter!
A sprinter fixes the finishing line in their eye and goes straight for it (assuming this is a 100m). They keep their focus on the conclusion and they certainly don't deviate from their course! So do the same. Sort out what your conclusion is going to be and put together an answer that goes straight to it in a logical way...don't deviate. Keep a tight grip on the question. If you don't grasp it in exactly the way you are required, your answer will go off course and you'll loose marks. Just like athletes in the discus, javelin or shot who need to have a good grip if their throw is to go in the right direction!
You can also bet your life that they will have thought very carefully about their spin/glide, approach run or steps before they start - they will have planned! Now I can see you've just about had enough of this so this is my last one....for now!
The take off, pole plant and push away for these events need to be precise. If you get it wrong then your angles will be all wrong and your effectiveness will be reduced. Plan what you want to do carefully, concentrate on that precise requirement and hit your mark and you will travel far.
Just the same in an essay really. Work out what the precise focus of the question is, plan accordingly and only start once you are happy that you are going to go in the right direction.
Oh and incidentally I'm also pretty sure that in long jump the landing is just as important as the rest of the performance. A sloppy placing of your hand or a last second slip will knock the edge right off your result. Bit like a conclusion really....

Anyway I hope you get the message. Now I know I said it was the last one but here's one final thought for the decathaletes amongst you............
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