Geography A-level

Why study geography?

From climate change to natural disasters, and from ‘Brexit’ to inner-city deprivation, geography really is the subject for our times. At its heart, geography is about finding patterns in the chaos, and when you have a deep and secure knowledge of geography, the world starts to make sense. As well as traditionally being a strong academic subject, geography encourages ways of seeing and thinking about the planet that will ensure you are ready to face the changing world ahead.

How will I be assessed?

There are two written examinations which test your knowledge and understanding of geographical themes, concepts and processes. Each paper is worth 40% of your final grade and covers a range of question styles from single mark multiple choice questions, to 20 mark essay questions. In addition to the written papers, there is also a 3-4000 word independent research piece based on data gathered from the field. As such, there is a minimum of 4 days of compulsory fieldtrips for all 6th form geographers.

What will I be learning about?

All geographers study both physical and human geography during the two years of A-Level, which gives them a broad and diverse range of topics to study.

Topics covered include:

Physical Themes

Water and Carbon cycles, Coastal Systems and Landscapes, Cold Environments

Human Themes

Global Systems and Governance, Changing Places, Changing Urban Environments

There is also an opportunity for geographers to shape their own learning when undertaking the Geographical Investigation which incorporates both fieldwork and research to investigate a chosen topic.

Previous field trips have included:

  • Cornwall residential
  • The Living Rainforest, Berkshire
  • Tewkesbury
  • Iceland
  • Birmingham University
  • Reading city centre

Where will this lead?

Geography is highly valued by universities as an A-Level choice. As one of a small number of facilitating subjects, geography is preferred for entry to a wide range of degree courses. Choosing geography will keep more options open to you at university, whatever you intend to study. Geography combines well with arts, science and other humanities as A Level choices and if you are already looking ahead to potential university and career choices it is worth considering as an option. In terms of careers, geography is the obvious choice for students looking to work in sustainability or the environment, urban regeneration, energy supply, retail location or logistics or managing the effects of hazards and climate change. Not only that, but geography can also improve your chances of going in to careers as diverse as law, international relations, humanitarian aid, business and finance, medicine, politics and local government. In 2015, The Guardian identified geography as the ‘must have’ A Level.

What are the entry requirements?

Eight grade 9-4 at GCSE level including minimum level 5 in English and mathematics, A genuine interest and enthusiasm in the subject is important.