What is it about at sixth-form level?
Geography is a constantly changing discipline that reflects, describes and explains the dynamic world around us. It examines the interaction between people and the places in which they live in the context of technological change and social upheaval. Geographers have to think about social, economic and physical issues and how they conspire to shape the different environments and ecosystems on earth. They are involved in trying to think, understand and work towards the resolution of problems of global concern. Are the most socio-economically deprived societies best helped with aid or trade? Do we have a moral imperative to ensure genetic diversity or can we permit extinction and the destruction of environments if it raises our standards of living? When does tourism change from being an economic benefit to an environmental blight?
These are deep and fascinating questions. The subject will be particularly attractive to those who wish to find out more about them and similar issues, such as the development gap, the effects of globalisation on national economies, global warming and the severe risks to human activity posed by natural events.
Why study it and what skills does it develop?
Geography is a broad subject which asks students to see connections and explore links between social, political, economic and geographical factors. These synoptic skills will be extremely valuable across a wide range of university subjects and careers beyond. To perform well in Geography, students must be able to write fluently, manipulate numerical information and interpret maps, charts, photographs and satellite imagery. The acquisition and development of these skills is therefore a primary focus of the teaching. We provide students with fieldwork experience, which helps with the understanding of many of the concepts covered in the classroom.
What prior knowledge and skills are required?
A grade 6 or above at (I)GCSE Geography is desirable. You should also have an interest in a broad range of geographical issues.
How is the course assessed?
At the end of the course students will sit two written exams – Paper 1: Physical Geography and Paper 2: Human Geography. In each paper, students will answer questions on the topics they have studied. Question types include multiple choice, resource stimulus short answers, and extended prose in the form of three 20-mark essays per paper. Each exam lasts 2 hours 30 minutes and is worth 40% of the A level.
In addition, there is a non-exam assessment whereby students are required to complete a Geography fieldwork investigation whereby they produce and submit a 3000 to 4000-word write-up of their independent designed and developed geographical investigation. This comprises 20% of the final A level grade.
To be confirmed at the start of the course
AQA Geography A Level Physical Geography
By S. Ross, T. Bayliss, L. Collins and
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0198366515
AQA Geography A Level Human Geography
By S. Ross, T. Bayliss, L. Collins and
Published by OUP, ISBN 978-0198366515
Exam Board and Specification Codes
AQA A level 7037
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