What is A-Level Geography?

Geographical questions never ‘stand-alone’:

Is there enough food in the world for everyone?

How can we create sustainable coastal management strategies in the UK?

Is the human impact in fragile environments intrinsically negative?

Geography helps to join the dots and make a bigger picture. It’s fun, interesting and contemporary with subtle links to many other subjects which is why it’s such an enabling A-Level. Geography enables us to grasp the complexities of our planet and makes the complex comprehensible. It forces us to look forward into the future but at the same time makes us realise that we often need to understand and learn from the past and the present. The challenge for the geographers of today is to distil and make sense of all the data available so that we can make the best decisions for our planet going into the future.

 

What you'll do

We are studying the AQA Geography specification. You will study issues at a local, regional, national and global level through a combination of visual, verbal and numerical data.

The emphasis is on processes and the concept of a systems approach in both physical and human geography which are extended through the study of case examples in countries at varying levels of development. You will be identifying patterns and suggesting why these might occur and change over time.

The course will enhance your understanding of the environment and will add an extra dimension to your holiday experiences – as well as helping you to understand some of the pressing environmental, economic and social problems facing the world today.

There are two written exams.

Paper 1 (2 hours 30 minutes) Physical Geography  120 marks (40%)

This consists of 3 sections on:

  • Water and carbon cycles
  • Coastal systems and landscapes
  • Hazards

Paper 2 (2 hours 30 minutes) Human Geography  120 marks (40%)

This consists of 3 sections on:

  • Global systems and Global Governance
  • Changing Places
  • Population and the environment

Component 3 – Geographical Investigation (20%)- fieldwork / coursework

Fieldtrips are an integral part of any Geography A level course. We have residential field trips in both the Lower and Upper Sixth. The data collected on the second trip is used to write up a report for the individual piece of coursework (referred to as the NEA by the exam board). This is worth 20% of the final exam grade.

Optional extra trips are arranged such as those in recent years to Iceland and Morocco.

Whom does this subject suit?

Geography is one of those dynamic subjects that crosses comfortably and easily into any subject combination since it is seen by universities as both an arts/humanities subject as well as a science. We have students who combine it with Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Biology and others who combine it with English, History, Art etc.

What might the subject lead to?

A Geography degree is regarded as one of the most valuable qualifications by many employers since as an open based degree it helps build and develop a range of skills. The use of GIS illustrates competent computer skills as well as literary skills when writing extended pieces of work and essays.

A Geography degree attracts diverse employers from accountancy, banking, sales and marketing, media as well as the more obvious ones of teaching, conservation and charities.