Geography A Level

Board: EDEXCEL

About the subject

Geography is a topical, contemporary subject which is especially attractive for those who want to maintain strong links with the ‘real world’ outside the classroom.
The Geography specification will cover all key skill areas, with a particular focus on developing students’ literacy skills through extended essay writing; numeracy skills through data presentation, interpretation and analysis, and mathematical calculations; and ICT skills through the research and presentation of data in fieldwork projects and Coursework.

The new specification demands a higher level of numeracy skills, and students will need to understand and use statistical data analysis techniques such as measures of central tendency and dispersion, Spearman’s Rank, Chi-squared test and Student t-test. Evaluative essays also need to be written throughout the course, and therefore a high level of confidence in English Language and Maths would be preferable.

Coursework will be completed in Year 2 of the course as an Independent Investigation, and will be based on students’ own primary and secondary data collection.

Fieldwork is a compulsory element of the new specification: 4 days must be completed for the 2-year A-level; this will involve both coastal and urban fieldwork, and will take place through day trips. There will be a cost for these trips.

An optional enrichment fieldtrip has been organised for second year Geographers.This is an overseas residential trip and for the last 3 years we have visited Iceland.
Learning styles

A variety of teaching methods and learning styles are incorporated, including problem-solving; many discussions and debates; note-taking; structured questions and essays; and data interpretation and analysis. A variety of learning resources are utilised such as documentaries, worksheets, textbooks, news articles, YouTube clips and powerpoint presentations.

Subject Combinations and Progression

Geography combines well with any subject since it can be classed as either a Humanity, Science or Social Science subject.

Geography can be used to pursue many varied careers, such as Hazard Management, Urban Planning, Banking and Finance, Logistics, Marketing and Advertising and International Development.

Geography is classed as a ‘facilitating subject’ by the Russell Group (leading research universities) as it helps students more fully prepare for the demands of university learning and equips them with the necessary skills needed to pursue their academic studies.

Subject Modules and Assessment

A-Level (comprising 3 terminal examination papers and a non-examined piece of Coursework):

Paper 1:  Tectonic Processes and Hazards; Coastal Landscapes and Change; The Water Cycle and Water Insecurity; The Carbon Cycle and Energy Security
2 hrs 15 minutes exam (30% of the A-level)

Paper 2:  Globalisation; Regenerating Places; Superpowers; Migration, Identity and Sovereignty.
2 hrs 15 minutes exam (30% of the A-level)

Paper 3: Synoptic exam based on a geographical issue that links to the 3 synoptic themes of players, attitudes and actions, and futures and uncertainties.
2 hrs and 15 minutes exam (20% of the A-level)

Independent investigation, whereby the student defines a question or issue for investigation, relating to any aspect of Geography contained within the specification. Both primary data collection and secondary research must be included, and data presentation, analytical and evaluative skills must be utilised.

3,000-4,000 word guidance (20% of the A-level)

Entry requirements

GCSE Grade 4 in English Language
GCSE Grade 5 in Maths
GCSE Grade 4 in Geography (if taken; it would be very helpful if students have already studied GCSE Geography, as A-level Geography will build upon the skills and knowledge base that has been developed already)