Paper 2 Higher Geography Assignment

 Examiner marksYour marks
Research Methods4 /6/6
Research Findings9 /14/14
Total13/ 20/ 20

Examiner comments:

Candidate 2 - Natural Disasters (Commentary revised April 2016)

The candidate evidence below has achieved 13 out of a possible 20 marks for the National 5 Geography Assignment.

Research Methods

The candidate was awarded 4 out of 6 marks

The first sentence is vague and does not give any detailed information that would merit a mark. However, in the second sentence the candidate mentions a specific and relevant website which they have used to gather information. This gains a mark as the first technique.

In the next sentence the candidate makes claims about the website's reliability, such as because it ends in .gov the information provided is true. This is not necessarily the case and does not gain a mark. The candidate also describes how they were advised by the librarian that this was a good source of information. Again this is not a valid justification and does not gain a mark. On the tenth, eleventh and twelfth lines of the first paragraph, the candidate refers to the statistics, images and information provided in diagrams A and B on the processed information sheets and how accessing the website allowed them to gather the information shown. For referring to two valid pieces of processed information and stating how the information was gathered, two further marks were awarded.

At the start of the second paragraph, the candidate is awarded a fourth mark for stating clearly that the book "Hurricanes of the Gulf of Mexico" was their second source of information. This counts as a second technique - gathering information from a book. In the rest of this paragraph the candidate attempts to justify the choice of this book but there are no further valid points here and so the candidate did not gain any further marks in this section. There are some repetitive points about gathering information for diagrams A and B on the processed information sheets however the candidate has already been awarded marks for this.

Research Findings

The candidate was awarded 9 out of 14 marks

It is important to remember the aim/hypothesis which is given at the start (rich countries like Japan have fewer casualties than poor countries like Mexico), as this has a bearing on whether stated research findings are relevant or not. The first nine lines of this response don't give any information which is relevant to the aim of the project but on the tenth line the candidate states that "because of early warning systems, they were able to make as few deaths as possible." This is an explanatory point and, although it could have been expressed more clearly, the first mark for this section was awarded. This sentence then goes on to describe how, out of 46 deaths, 11 were caused in Japan. This gained a further mark as a descriptive research finding directly linked to the aim. In the remainder of this first paragraph the candidate describes some further findings but they do not link to the aim, nor do they make a comparison with poorer countries. No further marks are awarded here.

In the second paragraph the candidate describes Hurricane Gilbert but does not start mentioning the impact of the hurricane until the fourth line where they start to explain that "because Mexico is an ELDC.... more people were affected by this hurricane". This is an explanatory point and gained a third mark. A fourth mark was awarded for the research finding that "Mexico had definitely the highest death rate of 202 of 318 " – a descriptive point. This statement links directly to the aim and is a comparison with the previous statement about casualties in Japan. In the next sentence, the candidate makes an explanatory point, albeit in reverse, that “because of a lack of high quality materials, there was a total of $5.1 billion of damage costs and again Mexico had the highest of $2 billion." This is a developed point which gains a mark for stating that Mexico's damage was the most expensive (descriptive) and a second mark for suggesting a possible reason for this ie that there was lack of high quality material compared to wealthy countries such as Japan. Two further points are made about the research findings - that approximately 200,000 homes were destroyed in Mexico and that 100,000 people were affected. The candidate is, however, only able to gain one further descriptive mark here as there are only four marks available for description.


The candidate makes a good concluding point in the first sentence of this section, stating how the hypothesis has been proved and backing this up with data from the processed information sheets. A ninth mark is awarded here. In the remainder of the conclusion, no new valid points are made and much of what is stated is repetition.


These illustrate the standard, structure and requirements of the question papers learners will sit. These also include marking instructions.

The National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS) have also produced Higher Revision in a Nutshell documents to help learners prepare for Higher exams.

Questions in the Higher Geography question paper will now be numbered sequentially throughout, as shown in the Exemplar Question Paper. The Specimen Question Paper will be updated in due course.

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There was no Round 2 verification activity at this level in 2016.


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