A-level Geography

A-level Geography

A sense of place

Geography is a diverse, practical and engaging subject that covers issues relevant to our world today. The A-level course is designed to foster an understanding of the dynamic nature of physical and human processes, and how these need to be managed in order to ensure human and environmental sustainability.

From the hazards of volcanoes, earthquakes, wildfires and storms to the changing nature of places and globalisation, the Geography A-level offers a wide ranging and stimulating overview of the complex processes that shape our world today. There is plenty of room for discussion and extended research, which will help you become an independent thinker and learner.

Year 1 of the A-level course and the AS looks at the Management of Hazards, the coastal system, the changing nature of places and an introduction to fieldwork techniques and topics.

Year 2 of the A-level course covers the Water and Carbon cycle, Globalisation and Global Governance and Population and the Environment, as well as revision of the first-year topics (Hazards, Coasts, Changing Places and Techniques).

In addition, at A-level students undertake a non-examined fieldwork investigation worth 20% of their total marks. This is written up and submitted by the students, marked by the college and moderated by the exam board.

The first Year A-level material is the same as that for AS, but the AS exams do not contribute to the A-level qualification. Year 1 A-level topics will be examined at the end of the two-year A-Level course along with the Year 2 Topics.
Entry Requirements

A good grounding in Geography is essential with preferably a grade 5/6 or above at GCSE. It will help if you are competent in Mathematics and English as well since Geography involves the analysis if data and writing reports and arguments. Most importantly though you should be interested in the world around you and the changing nature of its Geography.

Course Content

The specification we follow is the AQA Syllabus. In accordance with College policy, ALL students will be entered for AS, regardless of whether or not they intend to follow the A-level course for the full two years.

Year 1 AS level content:

Physical Geography: 1. HAZARDS & 2. COASTS


Year 2 A-level Content:




AS level (1 year course)

Paper 1 – Physical Geography – written exam 1 hour 30 minutes – 80 marks (50% of AS marks). Questions on hazards and coasts. 
Paper 2 – Human Geography – written exam 1 hour 30 minutes – 80 marks (50% of AS marks). Questions on changing places and fieldwork and techniques.

Both a mixture of multiple choice, short answer and extended writing questions.

A-level (2 year course)

Paper 1 – Physical Geography – written exam 2 hours 30 minutes – 120 marks (40% of A-level marks). Questions on hazards, coasts & water and carbon cycles. 
Paper 2 – Human Geography  – written exam 2 hour 30 minutes – 120 marks (40% of A-level marks). Questions on changing places, globalisation, global governance and population & the environment. 

Both a mixture of multiple choice, short answer and extended writing questions.

Paper 3 – Individual Investigation – this must include data collected in the field. It must be based on a question or issue defined and developed by the student relating to any part of the specification content, 3,000-4,000 words – worth 60 marks (20% of A-level marks). It is marked by the college and moderated by AQA.

Where does it lead?

According to the Royal Geographical Society, Geography graduates have some of the highest rates of graduate employment.

Geography is great for any kind of career that involves the environment, planning, or collecting and interpreting data. Popular careers for Geographers include town or transport planning, surveying, conservation, waste and water management, environmental planning, tourism, and weather forecasting. The army, police, government, research organisations, law and business world also love the practical research skills that geographers develop. Because geographers learn about human and population development, geography can be useful for jobs in charity and international relations too.

Reading List

AQA Geography A Level- AS and A level Hodder Education ISBN 978-1-4718-5869-7, AQA-Geography Student Book – Cambridge University Press ISBN  978-1-316-60632-2, AQA-Geography A Level Component 1 – Student Guide–Physical Geography, Hodder Education,  – ISBN 978-4718-6404-9, AQA-Geography A Level Component 2 – Student Guide-Human Geography, Hodder Education– ISBN 978-1-4718-6403-2, AQA-Geography A Level Component 3- Student Guide-Hazards and Population, Hodder Education -ISBN 78-1-4718-6418-6

Geography Review: Philip Allan Updates. (4 issues each year) edited by an expert team at University of Manchester. Contains articles highly relevant to the AS and A Level Course and will stretch, challenge and add detail to the students’ knowledge with:

  • Recent Case Study articles on aspects of Physical and Human Geography
  • Grade Boosting advice from the examiners with practice and reviewed Q and A’s from exam boards
  • Additional materials available on-line, with resources tailored to add support to the articles in the magazine.

Useful websites:

There are many but the following is a short selection: