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 lose 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.
Edexcel questions courtesy of Pearson Education Ltd.
The graph shows how the internal temperature of a fish and an otter changes when the external temperature changes.
Explain why it is important that the temperature of the otter is maintained at about 37°C. [2 marks]
Plus one point from:
The doctor diagnosed a person with an underactive thyroid gland.
Explain why an underactive thyroid could cause this patient to feel tired and have an increased body mass. [6 marks]
An explanation should include these points: