Final term, what have we been doing… S.E.E boxes

With the final exam only a week away it is no surprise that the main focus of the last couple of months has been revision, revision and more revision. I have used various techniques including the casino week mentioned in my last post, along with a number of different games, tricks and tips (my favourite still being @ticktock80’s past paper poker). Obviously it is very important to make sure our students know the content inside out but if they do not know how to write this down in a coherent manner the content is useless. This is what I have been concentrating on a lot over the last month especially.

Having ran my first ever GCSE Revision Workshop (AQA) for Subject Support last week it was interesting to note that the teachers I have talked to and the feedback received from the session that all were very interested in the exam technique I use with my students, and this is what is detailed below. I know a lot of people use the PEE technique and although I am sure it may be effective I am not it’s biggest fan and developed my own (very similar) version that I find a little more student and exam friendly.

The exam technique I have developed is the I.S.E.E.M technique. Below is two ways of using it, first for the majority of the paper and second for the trickier 8 mark questions.

I: Identify what the question is asking you. What are the command words, what are the topic words and what do I need to link it to

S: State the key word you are going to talk about

E: Explain using any key terminology what or how the word you have stated effects the question

E: Example – Give an example linked to the question content (usually sporting participation or performance in AQA)

M: Marks – Have you written enough within you answer to satisfy the marks available

Although the I.M are very important, the most crucial part of this technique is the S.E.E and has been a major focus of mine in lessons. You can see the model answer below using the technique outlined above.

Q: Explain how individual differences can affect the amount of exercise that a person may participate in. (4)

The age of the performer may have a negative effect on participation levels. Different sports require certain components of fitness and as you get older some of these decrease such as strength and cardiovascular endurance. This will affect your ability to take part in sports that may require high levels of these such as rugby leading to a decrease in participation

The environment may also have a negative effect on participation, as if an individual lives in a rural area they may not have the facilities near them to take part. This may mean having to travel further at extra cost that the individual may not be able to afford, decreasing their participation level.


I have found that using this technique allows my pupils to access all marks available within the questions rather than skipping the odd one or two marks that are crucial to gaining the higher marks in the GCSE paper.

It is all well and good using this technique for the short answer section but we all know that the AQA paper is won or lost on the students’ ability to answer 8 marks questions effectively. Here is how I use the same technique to structure a good quality long answer question using S.E.E boxes

First of all the question must be planned using the STATE topic words they intend to use. I insist on having at least three of these if not four of these written in the margin of a paper. The pupils must then create three or four S.E.E boxes through their exam answer. The long answer structure should look something like this:


Describe a training method that a football player could use and explain in detail how they could also use the principle of overload to improve their fitness. (8) (full answer follows below)

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The football player could also change the type of training session he is doing to avoid tedium and keep motivation high. Lastly the player must make sure he does not stop training or the effects gained will be lost. This is known as reversibility

I have found that structuring the 8 mark questions in this way has helped pupils be more successful in gaining the higher grades and having no problems getting into the higher marking band (if they know the content of course). I use the sheet below in lessons to help my students develop these answers in this way. This may not work for everybody but since developing this technique this year the quality of answers in the scenario section have got a lot better. My three best tips for the long answer section are:

• Plan your answer using the STATE words you intend to use
• Include at least three S.E.E boxes within your answer
• Refer back to the scenario (this year Westshore or Miss Tears) in the example of every S.E.E box. You could name them S.E.E.L boxes to remind pupils to link back to the scenario.

I hope you find this technique useful and some feedback would be greatly appreciated. As I stated earlier, although I use all the different techniques to make sure pupils know the content of the course, content is useless without correct technique.

You can download a copy of a S.E.E. worksheet that may help your students to structure their answers using this link.

Thanks, you can contact me via twitter @canterno15 if you have any questions