Geography is a deep dive into the study of people and places and natural phenomena. NCEA gives you a good foundational understanding of the subject and gets you set if you're wanting to pursue this subject further in tertiary form. The basics of geography are so much more than your ability to locate a country on the map. Geography also covers the study of climates, the surface of the earth and the continents. Within this, there are also social elements of geography that play a big role in how people interact with their environment.

There are three exams that will be in your Year 13 NCEA exams and many past papers to get through before you get in the exam room. Exams can be so tricky, and you might be sweating it out over-thinking even before you get into the exam room. There’s no doubt that the anxiety is real when it comes to formulating your thoughts, articulating them effectively on paper and doing this under time constraints and pressure that could break a diamond. It all might seem a bit too much but rest assured, what’s great about NCEA is you have easy access to all the past papers of all the exams. You can look back and download papers as far back as 2012, but really 2016 might be the cutoff point in getting the most relevant insights. You can test yourself on any of these old papers and go through as many as you like, which will ease your anxiety and make you feel more prepared for the big exam day. There is also a study guide for you to look at if you need more insight. If you're wanting some extra tips for the exams then have a look here. Maybe you would like an overview of what to expect in your year. Or perhaps you are wanting to challenge yourself to scholarship geography? Let’s go through the three past papers together.

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AS91426 is all about natural processes

You can do the exam papers in any order but AS91426 is a great paper to get stuck in on. This paper is all about natural processes, in particular, you will need to show a sound understanding of how natural processes shape a New Zealand environment. What are natural processes you ask? Processes can be a sequence of actions that can be cultural or natural that change the environment from what it started as.  This could be anything from globalization, sustainability or even erosion. What will get you through your exams and achieving those higher marks, is your ability to mention case studies and make a well thought out argument on the natural process. So, if you can go into detail about the erosion management of Muriwai Beach then that’s an option.  The beach itself is found in Kaipara Harbor, stretches over 50km in size. The dunes are different compared to other landscapes because they are formed not from water movement but from wind processes. This unique layout means they aren’t 100% what you would deem as a dune because they interact with sand vegetation. While unpacking case studies like Muriwai, you can go into concepts like saltation and suspension. The more you use specific examples in AS91426 the better. If you want to practice more, make sure you add in some diagrams to showcase the natural processes in action, this is more linked to those who are after merit or excellence.

Muriwai Beach has great natural processes to delve into (Unsplash)

AS91427 will get you on your game at cultural processes!

Now that you’ve got a good framework for your natural processes, we then have AS91427, which will have you delving into cultural processes- which is all about people. Unlike natural processes, cultural processes ask how people interact with the environment and how it gets shaped from what they do to it. You could use tourism as a man-made action that influences the environment.  Of course, there are other cultural processes to choose from as well, your teacher might have some more notes for you to use as a case study. The Tourism industry is absolutely booming with New Zealand’s foreign exchange earnings peaking at 16.8 in 2016. As with the last achievement standard, you will need to wrap your head around some case studies. It’s a good idea to unpack New Zealand case studies as you will be able to find more resources and data like this to help you along. But equally, it’s good for contrast to have other countries for case studies because the comparison might help your case.

Geography talks about the cultural processes which have to do with how people interact with the environment. (Unsplash)

Decipher spatial and temporal patterns with AS91427

Let’s unpack this achievement standard more. Within AS91427 you will learn how to separate and distinguish spatial and temporal patterns. Spatial is the placement and arrangement of features like volcanos, mountains or glaciers. On the other hand, temporal show how the look of the tourist attraction has shifted over time. For example, in Rotorua during the first lockdown, a huge shift in the behaviour of people was noted, as no one could book and go on their holidays. The circumstance of Covid 19 had meant that they could no longer engage with Rotorua’s attractions. To see how people were impacted you will need to unpack the social, political and economic effects. As this was during one of the industries busiest seasons, businesses were greatly affected. When you're discussing your case, studies make sure you showcase different time periods, so you can have clear contrast. For example, if I was still using the Rotorua case study, I would make sure that I reference a booming time period to sharply be distinctive from the lockdown data.

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Apply previous geography skills with AS91429

The next past paper is AS91429, which will have you are applying all the skills you’ve learnt throughout all of your internals and have you answering based on geography ideas. In some ways very similar to NCEA Unfamiliar Texts from the English curriculum. This is because you have to know general concepts and key ideas before you get in the exam and then answer in the exam with what you know. It’s all about prior knowledge and then your ability to bring them to the page. You’ll need to know the three P’s, patterns, processes, perspectives and things like interaction, change and sustainability. A big part is an exercise of seeing you adapt geographic skills to interpret the data that you’ll receive. This will involve your ability to demonstrate graphing, mapping and statistical skills. For example, in 2019 they used Greenland data and you had to apply geography concepts to the country. One of the questions asked for you to describe how the natural environment influenced the cultural environment.  Then from the data that you are given in your resources sheet, you are to discuss and unpack the interacting factors for this.

Next, let’s talk about your Internals, even though there are no past papers, you will have access to achievement standards, which will be very helpful with how you can approach your studies.

AS91428 is all about a significant event from a geographer’s perspective.

 To do this you’ll dissect the nature of the event, then explain the planning that caused the event. Again, similar to your externals you’ll need to talk about the environmental, economic and social impacts that came from that event.

Get intensive with AS91430 and pick up those 5 credits!

 In this achievement standard, you’ll put on your junior geographer hat on, to conduct your own research. This will really get you thinking as to what makes a good geographer. Within your assessment you will make an aim for your research, plan and document your data, making sure that you understand your findings. At the end, you’ll write an evaluation critiquing the validity of your process.

AS91431 will get you in touch with a contemporary geographic issue

 This could be flooding, erosion or fracking, it’s up to you what you pick.

Within this, you will comment on how people’s perceptions and values have changed or stayed the same and what has led to their reactions. After this, you should then mention what a valid course of action will look like to improve the situation.

AS91432 will get you thinking global

Geography is the study of people and how they interact with their environment. (Unsplash)

 You will be analyzing a geographic topic on a global scale. You’ll really want your geography terminology to be amazing, to help you with this. Patterns will be your main course of analysis as well as using key phrases to explain why issues arise. Like the externals previously discussed you’ll also look into the economic, social and political factors surrounding the geography topic.

Are you wanting to get extra help? After talking to your geography teacher and getting extra resources, are you still anxious about the exams? No worries, Superprof is a tutoring service that is there to get you feeling confident about your studies. They have a range of subjects on offer, including geography. Simply select from a range of tutors, who are all there to get you to the next step of your studying career. These past papers are here to help you, so dive deep into them and see if you can answer the questions.

 

 

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