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Geography at GCSE

The AQA A Specification is followed and involves the study of both Physical and Human Geography.

The Physical Geography will examine;
  • “The Restless Earth” - Rocks, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes and their management, in More and Less Economically Developed Countries.
  • “Challenge of Weather and Climate” – UK climate and weather patterns and the impact of climate change, hurricanes their impacts and their management.
  • “Water on the Land” – River processes and landforms, the causes and management of flooding and the difficulties in supply of domestic water.

The Human Geography will examine;
  • “Population Change” – The impact of development on population structure, the attempted governmental control of population and the challenges of aging populations and migration.
  • “Changing Urban Environments” – The challenges facing ever growing urban populations and the need to maintain standards of living in increasingly difficult environmental conditions.
  • “The Development Gap” – The measurement of development, the investigation in the inequalities of world development and the measures to reduce developmental inequality globally and within the European Union.

Physical and Human Geography are examined in two separate 90 minutes exams each worth 37.5% of the GCSE.

It is envisaged that pupils will sit the Physical Geography paper at the end of Year 11 and the Human Geography Paper at the end of Year 12.

Controlled Assessment formerly known as coursework is completed in class during timetabled lessons. It should form a report of no more than 2000 words and contributes 25% of the GCSE award.

Two Tiers of entry exist, Higher and Foundation. Higher Tier accesses grades A* to E, Foundation C to G. Strict tracking and assessment of pupil progress takes place throughout the two years to establish the most suitable tier for each pupil.

Career Note:
As indicated in the topic list above Geography is an interactive subject that investigates issues relevant to the demands and needs of modern societies. It utilises skills and knowledge from across the curriculum and presents them in real life situations. The subject is viewed by employers as one that provides a balanced outlook on life. Geographers appreciate the interactions of all elements of life and are employed in all walks of life including; mineral exploration, planning, agriculture and land management, military logistics, outdoor pursuits, oceanography, vulcanology and many more.



Geography at A-Level


Advised entry requirements.

The entry requirements to study Geography at Advanced Level are a minimum of Grade B at GCSE in English and Mathematics and Geography.

Overall view of the course.

There are examinations at the end of Year 13 that yield an AS Level award (pass grades A – E).  This constitutes 50% of the A2 qualification should you progress in to Year 14, the two together make up the A Level qualification.

AS Level (This consists of 2 Units)

AS1 – Physical Geography
  • Section A – based around a field work investigation (there is no coursework related to this subject).
  • Section B – based on the topics of fluvial (river) processes, ecosystems and meteorological (weather/climatic) systems and their environments.
  • AS2 – Human Geography
  • Section A – data response skills section.
  • Section B – based on population, settlement and development issues and the challenges posed by these topics

A2 Level (This consists of 2 units)

A2 1 – Human Geography and Global Issues.  There are 2 sections.
Section A: Human Geography, The syllabus offers three options of which we study 2.  The two we deliver at Portora are:
  • Impact of Population Change
  • Planning for Sustainable Settlements
Section B:  Global Issues, the syllabus offers 4 options of which we study 1.  The options are, Air Pollution, Nuclear Energy, Agricultural Change and Its Impacts and Issues in Tourism.

A2 2 – Physical Geography and Decision Making.  There are 2 sections,
Section A: Physical Geography, The syllabus offers three options of which we study 2.  The two we deliver at Portora are:
  • Fluvial and Coastal Environments
  • The Dynamic Earth
Section B: The Decision Making Exercise.  An exercise based on a real geographical scenario related to all your geographical skills and knowledge.

Career Note. Geography is a subject that offers career opportunities in a huge range of fields from surveying and engineering to urban management and oceanography!  Geography students are valued for their ability to apply a wide range of skills and knowledge in a broad number of contexts.  Geographers are employed in a vast range of disciplines that are too many too mention here.



RJ Mason
Head of Geography Dept