To study Geography you need to learn that it’s all about people, places and natural phenomena. By studying NCEA you will learn all about geography and you might even develop a taste for trying it on a tertiary stage. Gone are the days where people think that being good at geography is as easy as labelling their country on a map: now geography is far more dynamic and denser with lots of areas to deep dive into and learn. It’s certainly multi-faceted and together you’ll soon come to know all the types of subject matter that needs to be learned.

While deep-diving into Geo, you will learn the difference between natural and cultural processes. These will both be a huge part of your studies and knowing them inside out will be crucial for your exams. Natural processes talk about the actual environment and deal with the climates, surface area, and location. Cultural processes are all about people, their unique perspectives and how they each interact with their environment. You will also embrace what you have learned throughout the year and apply skills based on new geographical material. This is rather like unfamiliar texts in English, where you are provided with a resource booklet and you need to answer questions based on the resources. If you want some tips on how to navigate the exams, have a look here. Perhaps you want more of a study guide with some more resources. For an overview of the year's courses have a look here. Finally, if you are wanting to challenge yourself with scholarship Geography check this out.

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What are some good study methods? Past Papers. Past Papers. Past Papers!

One of the best ways to study for these exams is to review past papers. On the NZQA website, you will find achievement standards from the last 6 years, detailed with the exact questions included in the exams. These past papers are really helpful and let's unpack them more here. Prior to your exam, you might want to go through one of these and chip away at it, just so you can get a feel for how the questions are structured. Closer to the time, you can set yourself a time limit and get some scratch paper to make yourself a mock type exam. This will really test how good your skillset and knowledge is and can really help put your mind at ease prior to the exam.

Look at exemplars and test out your style compared to a standard Merit and Excellence

Also on the NZQA website, you will find a whole bunch of exemplars. These can be just as useful as the past papers as they literally have the students written answers noted down, and for each mark, achieved, merit, and excellence. It’s within your interest to look at only the excellence mark, so you can model your future answers. Looking at exemplars can really get you into the flow of writing your answers as you can begin to formulate your ideas better.

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Get your planning on!

As with any of your NCEA exams, your ability to plan is paramount and directly influences your marks. Taking time to brainstorm and dissect your points can really have a huge impact on your overall exam success. You can read past papers and exemplars all day, but if you haven't instilled a good habit of planning, your answers will soon wear thin. Don’t worry; planning is straightforward and will soon become second nature in the exam. Just remember to write out your main points and underline what the question is asking of you. Organise your capacity for planning so when it comes to the exam you won't bat an eye at all.
Try record your voice on your phone’s recorder app!

Where is a good place to get resources? Plus tips to make resources. (Unsplash)

Once you have all your notes from your past papers, exemplars and your planning, open your recorder app on your phone, get a glass of water and record all your notes. If you walk to school or even while doing chores, you can listen to your notes. These will eventually stick and become second nature if you keep the frequency up! This is tried and true and you can do this on top of your normal study. It’s a way to ease anxiety as well because it’s not too intensive or demanding. Don’t like your voice? Simply get a close friend to record for 10 minutes. Easy!

Let's jump into the Externals. 91426 is going to get you to really understand how natural processes work.

This achievement standard is all about natural processes. These are a sequence of actions that modify the environment. The biggest take-away for this and all three exams are, case studies! If you come to fully dissect, memorize and understand specific case studies for your assessments you will be half-way there.

For this, let’s use Muriwai Beach for a natural environment. Let’s talk about the processes that occur here. Muriwai Beach is 50km in length and is found in the Kaipara Harbour in Auckland. The sand dunes there are unique compared to other similar landscapes as they are formed from wind and not water movement. These are called 'aeolian sand vegetation'. You can then go into concepts like saltation and suspension. You should be aiming to give as many examples to the case study as you can, the more the better. If you want to get a higher mark, make sure you provide some annotated examples relevant to what you are talking about. It’s important to note that not every example of a natural process exists in isolation, but each process interacts together. If you note this in the exam and explain the interaction you will be on the right track.

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

To find more resources or case studies your teacher will have more books for you and hopefully their own notes for you to go back on. One really great resource to buy is the AME workbooks. This has all the exams since 2015 in them for you to go back on and take notes from. Plus there are heaps of tips and tricks all to be found inside.

It's cultural processes time! Let’s dive into some study guides for 91427

Hands down one of the most popular cultural processes is Tourism, so let’s jump into some case studies for what you can unpack for your exams.

Rotorua is one of the oldest natural and cultural locations in New Zealand. It has a bunch of secondary attractions and buildings around to support the demand. Nearly 1.4 million people visit the location a year, staying 2- 3 nights. It’s significant to mention that Maori were foundational to the start of Rotorua’s success today. They managed the geothermal activity as well as provided concerts and guided tourists as well. Rotorua is a location where the perspectives of people are especially very important as there are a number of unique groups each with its own story. Perspectives range, but a few will be detailed here. In 2005 there were over 600 Maori tourism businesses, with an increase in 2019. Another perspective is that lots of countries have great glaciers, mountains and amazing attractions, but what sets New Zealand apart is we have our Maori culture to be proud of and showcase. Your teacher will have more up to date data or examples, based on what location they have picked for you. It is very likely that you will do either Rotorua or Bali as these are most common in the past papers.

There are five phases of development for Rotorua. The current phase that we are in is called: Phase 5- redevelopment and diversification  (from 1987 to now). This is where there has been a growth in backpacker foot traffic from Europe, North America and Australia, so much so that there was a growth in adventures like activities and hostels.

Rotorua, like any other attraction spot, has economic, environmental and social issues that you will be asked to mention and unpack. Economic wise, Rotorua depends on tourism as its main source of income for the region next to forestry. However, jobs in the tourism industry are often low paying and they often occur in certain seasons. Environmentally wise tourism brings traffic to the region which can result in much congestion and pollution. Furthermore, tourism creates a big need for more water, power and sewage which can put stress on the current resources. For example, Lake Rotorua became heavily polluted in the past until it was cleaned up after much backlash. Managing aspects like this will always need to be on the radar for a busy place with so many attractions.

Rotorua has a booming tourism industry that is a great discussion for a cultural process (Unsplash)

Still, feeling a bit stuck? Superprof is an online tutoring website that is full of tutors who are all equipped to helping you get to your next step with your studies. Simply browse through all of the tutor options and find the tutor that best suits you. Remember you can grab your first lesson for free so it’s definitely worth your time having a look through. Mention to your tutor that you are doing an NCEA scholarship and they will be able to help you with resources and skill level, to make sure you are feeling confident for the exam. There is a huge range of tutors so if you haven’t found one that suits you completely do not worry, there will be someone who can help you.

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