Six mark questions are often the questions that people find the most difficult. In all longer answer questions, but especially the six mark ones, 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.
Six mark questions will start with command words such as 'describe' 'evaluate' or 'explain'.
Some command words are easy to understand such as:
The command words 'describe' and 'explain' can be confusing. 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 the pH of milk decreases. It does this 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.
Describe how giraffes have evolved long necks. [6 marks]
Describe how vertebrates are classified in the Linnaean system of classification. [6 marks]
Possible content to be included:
1-2 marks - Description demonstrates elements of understanding but some points are inaccurate. The description has some structure and coherence.
3-4 marks - Description demonstrates some understanding of the Linnaean system and most information is accurate. Limited links are made between classification of different organisms but the descriptions are mostly clear and logical.
5-6 marks - Detailed description demonstrates clear understanding of the classification system. Relevant links are made between ideas and the descriptions have a well-developed and logical structure.
Henderson Island in the Pacific Ocean is very small and has eight endangered species of birds. Rats live on the island and eat 95% of the birds' eggs. Scientists hope to kill all of the rats on the island by using a poison.
In Wales, a population of rats resistant to the poison were discovered in the 1960s.
Write an account to explain how this resistance developed and spread throughout Britain. Suggest why using poison as a method of control on Henderson Island might be more successful. [6 marks]