Mastering Geography in Secondary Schools

Submitted by Rene Teo

Secondary One usually need time to handle Geography and score or score well because it is not only a new topic, but the way to score is very different from the usual rote learning-memorise and regurgitate style.


  • Get concepts right.
  • Don’t memorise everything. Certain things like examples, names, formulae, definitions okay.
  • After being taught skills, must own self apply and practise. Proficiency in theory alone will not ensure good grades.
  • Read widely, and not just reader’s digest and storybooks. Must keep up to date with current affairs, especially with human geography topics. Some questions are very open-ended.  Teachers will award marks if the answer is acceptable/logical even if it is not in their list of expected answers.
  • A lot of concepts are difficult to understand via printed words only. Make full use of graphs, charts, pictures, photos, mindmaps, comparing graphic organisers, etc.
  • Learn to identify what the question is asking. Pick out key terms to avoid misunderstanding the question. Teachers in school SHOULD teach this skill. If not, your child has the right to DEMAND that the teacher teach these skills (of course, please ask nicely).
  • Take notes! If your child understands concepts via graphics, draw mini diagrams in texts next to written explanations, etc.
  • Do past year papers. It will give your child an idea of how questions are phrased and should be answered.
  • As always with other subjects, pay attention in class and ask when in doubt.
  • MOE loves to change the syllabus for Humanities subjects every now and then. Changes may not be an entire overhaul, may be minor changes only, BUT STILL, keep updated of the changes. Teachers will know of the changes but sometimes students don’t pay attention or are confused. Sometimes, way of questioning and grading is changed, while other times, certain topics are axed while new case studies are brought in (usually on Singapore). So keeping abreast of changes will ensure that your child doesn’t waste time preparing for the wrong things.

Sorry, a lot but I think that’s the gist of it.


Thu 26/02/2009