Strategies for teaching GEO4B

Many geography departments entered their students for the January sitting of the GEO4B exam, with the back-up plan of entering at least some students for the summer exam as a resit. With that option gone, how are you preparing your students for this challenging exam, to help them to ace it first time?

One superb way of doing this is to make use of past Advance Information Booklets, and to do a complete mock exam. Choose an AIB that links in with the topics your students are studying for GEOG3. For example, the Brazil AIB touched on ‘Weather and Climate’ and ‘Contemporary Conflicts and Challenges’, and the Christchurch Earthquake pack was an excellent case study for ‘Plate Tectonics and Associated Hazards’.

Here’s one approach:

  • January: Issue AIB from a previous year, along with the corresponding Pre-Release Resource Pack (from ZigZag Education, see below). Tell students that we will study this booklet in preparation for a mock exam in February.
  • January–February: Dedicate some class time to studying aspects of the booklet, using the student workbook, PowerPoints and activities in the ZigZag Resource Pack to structure the work. Emphasise to students that this work will not be ‘wasted’ – it both covers their GEOG3 topics and prepares them for the real AIB in June.
  • Last week before February half term holiday: Give students the final tasks in the Pre-Release Resource Pack. Tell them to revise for a mock exam that they will sit next half term.
  • February half term: Set a mock paper in exam conditions, using one of the two papers provided in the ZigZag Resource Pack, or the actual past paper from AQA. Have the students mark each other’s work and discuss and reflect on common errors and what they have learnt. Encourage students to share pre-release techniques.
  • 24th March 2014: Issue the real AIB (from AQA) to your confident and well-prepared students. Perhaps compare it with the one they have already studied, highlighting similarities and differences.
  • 31st March 2014: Issue the ‘Getting to Know…’ initial activities as a homework for Easter.*
  • 21th April 2014: Straight after Easter, get to work on the AIB properly with the Pre-Release Resource Pack from ZigZag Education (dispatched by 15th April).

To facilitate this approach, ZigZag Education have discounted Pre-Release Resource Packs from previous years. You can also pre-order the June 2014 resource below. Order now at

The GEO4B Resource Packs are available as a photocopy master with site licence (£22 each for extra practice packs; £59 to pre-order the 2014 resource). Also available in:

  1. Easy-printing PDF files (add 30%+VAT), or
  2. PDF with editable Word files (add 50%+VAT).

* We will send you the preliminary ‘getting to know’ activities to support you in getting started with your students for whatever the topic turns out to be! Pre-order and register to receive the activities via email as soon as they are available (within a few days of the AIB release).

ZigZag Education, Unit 3, Greenway Business Centre, Doncaster Road, Bristol BS10 5PY

t: 0117 950 3199 | f: 0117 959 1695 |

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