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Higher Business Management

Exam Doctor


Command Word Definition

Compare Identify similarities and differences between two or more

Describe Provide a thorough description

Discuss Examine closely taking account of strengths and weaknesses

in an argument; offer reasons for and against

Distinguish Identify the differences between two or more factors

Explain Give a detailed response (definition and explanation) as to

how/why something may benefit/hinder

Identify Give the name or identifying characteristics of something

Justify Give reasons to support suggestions, conclusions

Outline State the main features

The table below summarises the key terms in questions and what is required for each in an answer.
The numbers shown in brackets refer to the Examination Paper and Question in which these terms
have been used.



Advantages and Pros and cons of option(s) – at least Ensure that marks awarded for
Disadvantages one advantage and one disadvantage advantages are not repeated by
should be given to attract all marks straight negatives given for
available disadvantages.

Analyse Scrutinise/evaluate/consider A detailed account should be given

of the factors that are to be
analysed. Use examples, if you can,
to support your findings, options.

Compare and Evaluate/weigh up against/ put Differences between

Contrast options side by side items/options should be
Draw up a distinction between the emphasised. Assess items being
options examined and stress the unique
features of each in comparison to
the other(s).

Describe Explain/illustrate/express Definition and explanation should

be given.

Differentiate Make a distinction/distinguish Make a distinction by comparing

between/set apart/separate options/items and defining
Discuss Debate/examine/confer/talk Negatives and positives should be
about/deliberate – infers explored, although this is not
"development" necessary in all cases.

Identify Name/classify/categorise Definition

Identify and Name/classify/categorise and then Define item(s)/option(s) and then

Describe explain/illustrate/express explain what it does/how it
works/affects …

Justify Give good reasons for/ State why a course of action or

rationalise/give explanation for option has been chosen.

Outline Summarise/run through Description without too much

Lists attract few marks eg POCCC (Planning, Organising, Co-ordinating, Controlling, Commanding),
POGADSCIE (Problem, objectives, gather information, analyse, devise, select, communicate, implement,

Marking Principles for Higher Business Management

In Higher Business Management the external assessment is based on a single written paper. The paper
consists of two sections, this is reflected in the Marking Principles. Below are listed:

General Marking Principles which apply to both Section 1 and Section 2

Specific Marking Principles for Section 1 - Question 1.

We recommend that, after reading the Marking Principles, you make yourself familiar with the Key
Terms as shown in the right-hand side index. You can then use this information as guidance when
attempting the Examples.

General Marking Principles

Marking schemes will cover many of the possible candidate responses but fair and reliable marking
requires the marker to apply her/his 'professional judgement'.
'Bulleted' answers are acceptable but ensure that enough detail is given to be awarded the marks
Up-to-date examples may be credited with development of points, where appropriate. It is easy to be
over generous in a 100 mark paper.
When a diagram is asked for, it will attract marks, and the answer will not get full marks unless the
diagram is there. However, when a diagram is NOT specifically asked for, although it is likely to attract
marks, it is possible to gain all the marks without it.
Marks awarded to questions are an indication of the depth of answer being sought. (See Marking
Principle 1 - 'professional judgement.' )
One word answers for 'descriptions' are very unlikely to gain marks – usually expansion of the answer is
No half marks are awarded – if part of an answer is almost right and the candidate goes on to expand
the point further through the answer, the whole section should be indicated and awarded one mark.
When marking a candidate response you should be careful that the candidate response relates to what
was actually asked. 'Key terms' used in questions are explained in the glossary of key terms available in
the right-hand side index.


Section 1 of the examination tests the candidates' knowledge, understanding, problem solving and
decision making and is assessed through a case study or interpretation item of about 750 words. There
are a number of mandatory questions and candidates may be required to assume a management position
making decisions necessary to solve problems or identifying problems from the stimulus material.

Question 1

This question tests the candidates' ability to apply their understanding of management theory to the
case study/interpretation item. In this question a number of aspects of management theory are
identified and the candidates are asked to analyse the case study under headings eg human resources,
operations, marketing. This question is worth 10 marks.

To gain any marks, the response must always relate to the case study/interpretation item. General
statements on, for example, human resource issues will gain no marks if not related to the passage.
The question will include a number of headings, under which the question should be answered. It is
important that the candidates use these headings in their responses. There will be a maximum number of
marks available if no headings are used.
Each heading will attract a maximum number of marks. So, for example, all 10 marks cannot be gained
under one heading.
If the question asks only for concerns/problems/issues, ‘solutions’ to the concerns/problems/issues will
not be accepted.

For Describe, Explain and Justify questions, get in the habit of a definition, followed by
an example and/or an explanation.


Describe 2 strategic objectives of a public sector organisation. (2)


A public sector organisation is owned by the Government.

The NHS is an example of a public sector organisation.

One strategic objective of a public sector organisation would be to provide an efficient

health service for everyone.

Another strategic objective would be to serve the public interest, as people want to be
healthy and live longer.

For Compare and Contrast/Distinguish questions use connecting words like 'WHEREAS',
'ON THE OTHER HAND', 'IN COMPARISON'. If stuck just use whereas every single
time. It may be boring but it will get marks.


COMPARE a private sector organisation with that in the public sector...


Private sector organisations are owned by individuals WHEREAS public sector

organisations are owned by the Government.

Private sector organisations are normally motivated by profit, ON THE OTHER HAND,
public sector organisations exist to provide a service.

Here is an exercise for you to carry out.

IDENTIFY the main features of Hamilton Grammar

DESCRIBE your dream home

OUTLINE the role of Simon Cowell on X-Factor

EXPLAIN why Hamilton Accies should build a new stadium

JUSTIFY the use of a Nintendo Wii in school

COMPARE Daniel Craig with Pierce Brosnan

DISCUSS the future of the environment

DISTINGUISH between Sky and Virgin


The following are not guaranteed to come up in the final exam, but are ones that often

Therefore it is imperative you know them like the back of your hand!

If you don't know how to answer these questions, make sure you see me.

Stakeholders (Influence)
Product Life Cycle (Stages and/or Extension Strategies
Methods of Production (Job, Batch & Flow)
External Factors (PESTEC)
Quality (TQM, Quality Circles etc)
Recruitment and Selection (need to know the stages in order)
Business Objectives (profit maximisation etc)
Ratios (limitations)
Organisational Structure (Groupings - eg Functional, Place/Territory)
Uses of ICT in Business


Also remember my tip for advantages/disadvantages cost/benefit questions if you are

stuck. TCP. (Time, Cost, People). It will get you 3 marks at least if you talk about how
the topic is affected by or affects these 3 elements.

If a question is 6 marks then give 6 points if possible.

Read the Case Study Questions first before reading the Case Study.

Remember question 1 in the Case Study may ask for problems or solutions to the
different headings. Make sure you write the headings and don't get mixed up.

Look at the options questions in Section Two and pick the 2 questions you will lose the
least amount of marks, even if it means sacrificing your favourite question. It is better
to get 18/25 by maybe losing a duff 7 marker than getting 13/25 and of that you got
8/8 on your favourite question.


1. Know what you have to do

First you should go through your notes or an exam syllabus and list the topics which have
to be covered - your own study checklist. Also, make sure you know exactly when your
exams are and how many papers you will have to sit.

2. Make a revision plan

Well before your exams, set up a revision timetable. Many people don't do this, but it is
essential. Set a realistic number of hours for revision each week. Plan to work through
each of the topics in the period up to the exam, leaving a few weeks for final revision.
Regularly review your plan and make changes in the light of your progress.

3. Revise effectively

Find a quiet private place to revise (try the library if there's no room at home), with a
suitable, well-lit table or desk to work at and always have all the equipment you need at
hand - class notes, Study Guides, calculator, etc. Work for a set period (30-40 minutes
suits most people), and then have a 10 minute break away from your desk.
4. Revise actively

Don't just read through your class notes - revision needs to be more active than that if
it's to stick. Make your own revision notes (they'll come in useful for final revision),
draw diagrams to summarise points, make up word games to help memorise key points
and, above all, keep testing yourself (or get a friend to test you).

5. Practise exam questions

About two or three months before the exam, start to look at past papers for the
syllabus you are taking. Get used to the style of the questions and the words used by the
examiner. It is most important to answer the question set and not one you would prefer
to answer.

6. Handling stress

Start revising as early as possible. If you start late, don't panic, but make a plan of what
you have to do and stick to it. Do lots of exam questions practice, so you know what to
expect. Take regular, scheduled breaks. And make sure you get some exercise and fresh
air. Most importantly, keep a sense of proportion - there is life after the exams.

7. The week before

You should have kept this time to go back over essential or difficult points, rather than
studying new material. However, if you have fallen behind your schedule, you can use a
few days of this time to catch up.

8. The night before

Don't rely on a lot of last minute revision. It's OK to revise a couple of things the night
before the exam, but don't get into a panic about things you don't know. Convince
yourself about how much you do know. Get all the things you need ready the night before
- pens, pencils, ruler, calculator with spare battery, etc. And try to get an early night.

9. In the exam

Arrive at the place of the exam in good time. When you start, find a question you can do
well and do it straight away, even if it is not the first question on the paper - this will
build your confidence. Keep a careful eye on the time and keep on schedule to answer
every question you need to - if you find a question you struggle to do, leave it and return
to it later.
10. Be positive

I t is very easy when you are revising to get despondent and to

think about all the things you cannot do or find difficult. It happens to us all. You must
look back at your original plan, from time to time, and realise the progress you have
made. With determination and the right approach, you can succeed!


Often people panic and just jot down bullet point answers. This may be acceptable if you
are running out of time for ONE question but not for a full paper.

You are a HIGHER candidate so act like one. Show off your linguistic prose! There is
always at least one Bullet Point King every year and they argue all the time about 'this
deserves a mark'. Listen, it is not up to me. I am not the geezer who will mark your
paper. It is a game and it is your future at stake. So play the game. Avoid bullet points.

Using bullet points reminds me of a quote from Oscar Wilde:

The trick is to practise writing out answers to questions WITH the bullet point marking
scheme in front of you. EXPAND the bullet points into reasoned answers. Turn a bullet
point into a sentence and into a paragraph. This is one surefire way to turn those Fs and
Ds into Cs and more likely Bs.


Describe the benefits to an organisation of having a strong corporate culture. (3)


• Employees feel part of the organisation.

• Is motivational to staff.

• Improves employee relationships.

• Increases employee loyalty.

• Gives customers a sense of quality/efficiency.

• May attract new workers.

• Improves the business image.

Now let's turn a couple of these bullet points into Bs.

One benefit of an organisation would be that employees feel part of the organisation.
This is because employees identify with the firm and are proud to work there.

A strong culture motivates staff because they are all pulling in the same direction and
want to be successful.

It also improves employee relationships because it promotes team building exercises or

social gatherings, giving employees an opportunity to mix outwith their department.


You are communicating with examiner. Keep it neat and tidy (I know that is hypocritical
coming from me and my handwriting, but it is not me who has to go into the Exam!!!) and
use the space of the page.

In other words don't be afraid to spread your answers out using diagrams, clear
paragraphs and the odd use of underlining words (or UPPERCASE or the odd bullet

You can put your working in the script also. You may wish to draw a quick mindmap before
you start or indeed a mnemonic.




Active Reading

Post Its

Talking and Recording (download and install Audacity)

Creating Powerpoints

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