Linking questions span different topics. In linking questions, it is important that you plan your answer and not just rush into it. After all, you would plan an essay or short story before starting. Without a plan it is easy to stray away from the key point and loose marks, get steps in a process in the wrong order or forget key bits of information. Remember to write your answer in full sentences, not bullet points.
One way to answer linking questions is to follow these steps:
The number of marks per question part is given in this form '[4 marks]'. It is essential that you give four different answers if a question is worth four marks. Sometimes you can gain an additional mark by giving the units in a calculation or stating specific data points, eg after twenty-four hours the pH of the milk at room temperature had decreased by 1.2.
Linking questions will start with command words such as 'describe' or 'explain'.
Some command words are easy to understand such as:
The command words 'describe' and 'explain' can be confused. If you are asked to describe a graph, you will be expected to write about its overall shape, whether it is linear or curved, the slope of gradients etc. If you are asked to explain why a pattern or trend is seen in a graph, you will be expected to use your science knowledge not just say what you see (which is a description), eg the graph shows that the biodiversity is lower on the school field. This is because…
Explain how and why questions often have the word 'because' in their answer. Describe questions don't.
These questions have been written by Bitesize consultants as suggestions to the types of questions that may appear in an exam paper.
Explain how plants meet the challenges of growing in hot, dry climates. [6 marks]
The following is a list of valid points that could be included in your answer.
This question combines ideas about photosynthesis, diffusion, transpiration and surface area to volume ratios.
Maggots are the larvae (young) of flies.
Read the following information:
Based on this information:
(i) What was Baer's observation? [1 mark]
(ii) What was Baer's hypothesis? [1 mark]
(iii) Suggest why it was important for Baer to publish his ideas. [1 mark]
(i) Soldiers whose wounds had maggots were more likely to survive (than soldiers who did not have maggots). In this answer it is essential that a comparison is made between the soldiers.
(ii) Maggots ate bacteria and dead flesh around the wound, they are decomposers.
(iii) It is important that scientists publish their work so that it can be checked by others. This normally involves repeating the work. This ensures reproducibility.
Suggest one reason (apart from cost) why using maggots to treat wounds may be prefereable to using antibiotics. [1 mark]
The spotted owl (Strix occidentalis) is an indicator species in the USA. It feeds on squirrels, birds, bats and large insects.
Explain how the spotted owl could be used as an indicator species. [2 marks]
The number of spotted owls will fall if the numbers of prey fall 
This indicates that there is something wrong with the environment 
Deforestation is the cutting down of trees. The water cycle shows the different processes water undergoes.
Explain how deforestation can affect the water cycle. [6 marks]
Remember to include as many processes from the water cycle in your answer.