GCE Geography

“Geography graduates are highly employable”.
Times Educational Supplement
“Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future”
Michael Palin

What will I learn?

AQA A Level Geography is made up of three components, two of which are examined. This A Level course has been designed to excite your mind, challenge perceptions and stimulate your investigative and analytical skills. Thus providing you with the knowledge, skills and enthusiasm sought by higher education and employers. We have students every year progressing onto university to read Geography or Geography related degrees.

What are the entry requirements?

  • Geography GCSE at grade C or above.
  • English AND Maths GCSE at grade 4 or above.

Overview of the course: what will I study?

Two components:

  • Physical geography and people and the environment
  • Human geography and geographical fieldwork and investigation
Year Winter Term Spring Term Summer Term Fieldwork/geographical skills
1 Coastal systems and landscapes Hazards Changing Places Geographical Investigation and geographical skills
2 Water and carbon cycles Global systems and global governance Population and environment Geographical Investigation and geographical skills


How will I be assessed?

Component 1: Physical Geography

What is assessed

Section A: Water and carbon cycles

Section B: either Hot desert systems and landscapes or Coastal systems and landscapes or Glacial

systems and landscapes

Section C: either Hazards or Ecosystems under stress

How it is assessed

Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes • 120 marks • 40% of A-level

Component 2: Human geography

What is assessed 

Section A: Global systems and global governance

Section B: Changing places

Section C: either Contemporary urban environments or Population and the environment or Resource security

How it is assessed

Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes • 120 marks • 40% of A-level

Component 3: Geographical fieldwork investigation

What is assessed 

You will complete an individual investigation which must include data collected in the field. The exam board requires four days of compulsory fieldwork to do this. The individual investigation must be based on a question or issue defined and developed by you that relates to any part of the specification content.

How it is assessed 

3 000 – 4 000 words • 60 marks • 20% of A-level • marked by teachers • moderated by AQA

By studying geography it will enable you to develop a range of key transferable skills which will

be essential for whatever post-18 opportunities you pursue. The key skills you will be able to

develop during this course are:

  • Critical thinking and critical questioning skills.
  • Informed decision making skills.
  • Data analyses and evaluation skills.
  • Information Technology.
  • Problem solving and lateral thinking skills.
  • Teamwork and leadership.
  • Independent learning and research skills.
  • Effective communication skills (written and verbal).
  • Time Management.
  • Report and essay writing.

What are the costs?

To fulfil the fieldwork requirements set by the exam board we offer a residential fieldtrip to the Dorset coastline which we kindly ask the students to pay for. Further information regarding this can be obtained from the geography department.

Future opportunities

All good universities and post-18 institutions look upon geography as a subject that links the Arts and Sciences; as such it opens up a wide range of higher education and career opportunities; it does not force you to make an early commitment. It invariably counts as a ‘second science’ and/or a‘second arts’ subject for most courses at good universities.  Geography combines well with almost all other A Level subjects. Taken with sciences like mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology, geography supports applications for almost any science-based university course like engineering, psychology, environmental sciences and geology.

Taken with humanities like English, French, history or economics, geography supports an equally wide range of university courses such as business, law, media, politics and philosophy.

Course contact:  gemma.buckingham@biddenham.beds.sch.uk

Exam board: AQA