O'Level Examiner Reports


General Comments

Whilst there was comparability of content and skills tested between 2012 and 2013, candidates performed worse in the latter year as a result of amazing gaps in geographic knowledge and their inability to interpret the needs of questions. There was also a huge failure to adhere to the requirements of questions as most answers were irrelevant or textbook materials were coerced to answer questions in an irrelevant fashion. Some centres however performed exceptionally well even in syllabus areas not previously done well. The most popular questions were 2, 3, 6, 7 and 9. The positive phenomenon of this examination was that most centres displayed complete coverage of the syllabus.

Question by question analysis

Question 1

This was an unpopular question in which candidates did not do well. Candidates luinked 1(a)(i) and 1(a)(ii) well but failed to explain the weathering types hence scored few marks. Most however scored highly in 1(b). In part (c), most candidates gave problems and solutions instead of just solutions and challenges faced in implementing them.

Question 2

This was a popular question. 2(a)(ii) was poorly done because candidates were giving vegetation characteristics intead of climatic characteristics. 2(b) was well done by most candidates. In (b)(ii), most candidates could only identify drought. In part (c), most candidates could only write about farmers and nothing on industrialists though 2(c)(i) was answered very well by most candidates.

Question 3

This was one of the most popular questions in the paper which scored very highly. Nevertheless, in 1(a)(i), some candidates decided to describe the scene instead of identifying the inputs. Some also fell short in describing the adaptation of savanna vegetation to existing climatic conditions.

Question 4

Not very popular. Most candidates who attempted this question scored very low marks. Candidates failed to identify ways of saving electricity yet the question had 7 marks. Very few were able to draw a diagram of open cast mining, another 7 marks lost.

Question 5

This time around, this agriculture question was the most unpopular in the whole paper. Candidates could not make any farm calendar, losing the whole 11 marks in the process.The differentiation of farming features befpre and after the land reform programme was a nightmare. The problems of marketing cotton were not known. Instead, candidates gave problems faced in cotton-growing.

Question 6

This was undoughtedly the most popular question in the paper. Almost all candidates did very well in part (b). In part (c) however, candidates tended to link the question to tourism or farming , not to secondary industries in Bulawayo.

Question 7

Also a popular question. Part (a) was poorly done however. Candidates were only able to compare social aspects of rural and urban settlements rather than comparing the settlements themselves. Part (b) was also badly done. Candidates identified some advantages and disadvantages of high and low-density residential areas but not the social services found in them.

Question 8

The question was poorly done. Candidates failed to accurately define the term “census”. They also failed to identify data sought by the census instrument yet that part of the question was worth 9 marks.

Question 9

Unlike in other previous years, this time around ,this question was quite popular. It was a transport question based on a railway station photograph somewhere in Zimbabwe. The photograph gave candidates most of the marks. They were also aware of the problems faced by rail transport in the country as well as those of Air Zimbabwe.


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