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...’ 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.
The number of marks per question part is given in this form [6 marks]. It is essential that you give as many different points in your answer as possible (ideally six), linking these together.
These questions have been written by Bitesize consultants as suggestions to the types of questions that may appear in an exam paper.
Describe the ways in which pathogens can be transmitted. Give examples in your answer. [6 marks]
Describe how we can prevent the spread of disease. [6 marks]
Describe the process of making monoclonal antibodies. [6 marks]
Describe how non-specific human defence systems stop you from falling ill. [6 marks]