A Level

You study an even mix of human and physical geography topics, including in the first year the challenges of coastal landscapes, how people live in cities today and the different experiences people have of place.

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In Geography we help you analyse the relationship between people and the world we live in. We examine hazardous environments, the water and carbon cycles and the importance in our world of various forms of globalisation in the second year. You will experience 6 days of fieldwork, including a three-day residential trip to the Lake District, to help you build skills to help you devise your own geographical investigation.

Course Content

The course is taught over two years and comprises an equal amount of Human and Physical Geography. Geographical skills are embedded throughout.

Human Geography Topics 

  • Contemporary Urban Environments, examining growth and change in today’s cities, and the challenges presented
  • Global Systems and Global Governance, looking at key features of the global economy and society, from big

corporations to climate change

  • Changing Places, considering the nature and character of locations and people’s interaction with them, focused on Wasdale in the Western Lake District and Darlington.

Physical Geography Topics 

  • Coastal Systems, looking at the processes that shape these dynamic environments
  • Water and Carbon Cycles, examining the magnitude and significance of these vital processes
  • Natural hazards, focusing on the nature and impacts of events such as volcanic eruptions and hurricanes

Geographical Investigation (Coursework) 

  • This piece of work leads to a report of around 4,000 words. It is based on data collected during your own independent fieldwork. You conduct your own independent investigation based on a question or issue that you have defined. Data presentation, analysis and extended writing are integral.

(Exam board: AQA)
(Specification code: 7037)

How it is Taught

In class, you generally carry out individual or small group activities, following teacher explanation, questions and class discussion. Geographical skills are taught within the course at appropriate places. Assessment is through structured questions and extended writing and includes aspects of literacy and numeracy. You are expected to back up classroom work with reading from textbooks and other sources of information.

Fieldwork is undertaken during the course and it is a requirement for completion of the A Level that all students participate in this. It is an opportunity to underpin course content, with an emphasis on data collection skills. It also allows you to develop the skills of statistical analysis and data presentation and supports your coursework. It is something that we find our students actively enjoy!

Assessment Information

There are two exams, both of which are taken at the end of the course, plus the written investigation.

Component 1: Physical Geography, 2 hour 30 min exam, 40% of A Level

Component 2: Human Geography, 2 hour 30 min exam, 40% of A Level

Component 3: Geographical Investigation, internal assessment, 20% of A Level

Entry Requirements

You need to have at least a Grade 4 in Geography though occasionally students study Geography without having studied it at GCSE. You must have a grade 4 in GCSE Maths and English.

In this subject, particular skills and aptitudes will be required, many of which will be demonstrated by students’ GCSE profiles.

Students will also need to meet the general College entry requirements. Entry requirements are subjects to change.

Careers & HE Information

The skills which geographers acquire are greatly valued in the workplace and in education. Many universities are happy to accept Geography as a supporting subject, whatever the course applied for. Geography degree courses are available at all types of university and students can specialise in aspects of the subject that interest them. For example, GIS (Geographical Information Systems) is an area where students use ICT skills to present information and images in a digitised form. There are obvious links with Town Planning, Transport management, Social Policy, but geographers are just as likely to become accountants!

Useful Subject Combinations

As an earth science, Geography combines excellently with Geology but also complements other social sciences, such as Psychology or Sociology, or the pure sciences. Humanities subjects such as History are popular amongst students but the study of IT, Business and Economics also links well to aspects of Geography. But as Geography is so broad, any other subject will go well alongside it!

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