“The study of geography is about more than just memorizing places on a map. It's about understanding the complexity of our world, appreciating the diversity of cultures that exists across continents. And in the end, it's about using all that knowledge to help bridge divides and bring people together”. Barack Obama

Students follow the Edexcel ‘A’ Level Geography specification.

What does the course involve?

This specification encourages students to apply geographical knowledge, theory and skills to the world around them, enabling them to develop a critical understanding of the world’s people, places and environments in the 21st century.

The focus of the specification is to develop an enthusiasm for and competence in geography by using contemporary real-world contexts, from a range of specified spatial scales, and through engagement with and practical application of geographical skills and techniques in the field.

The Pearson Edexcel Level 3 Advanced GCE in Geography consists of three externally examined papers and one non-examination assessment component.

Paper 1 Units:

  • Tectonic Processes and Hazards

Tectonic hazards – earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and secondary hazards such as tsunamis – represent a significant risk in some parts of the world. Understanding of the causes of tectonic hazards is key to both increasing the degree to which they can be managed, and putting in place successful responses that can mitigate social and economic impacts and allow humans to adapt to hazard occurrence.

  • Coastal Landscapes and Change

Coastal landscapes develop due to the interaction of winds, waves and currents, as well as through the contribution of both terrestrial and offshore sources of sediment. These landscapes are increasingly threatened from physical processes and human activities, and there is a need for holistic and sustainable management of these areas in all the world’s coasts.

  • The Water Cycle and Water Insecurity

Water plays a key role in supporting life on earth. Physical processes control the circulation of water between the stores on land, in the oceans, in the cryosphere, and the atmosphere. Water insecurity is becoming a global issue with serious consequences and there is a range of different approaches to managing water supply.

  • The Carbon Cycle and Energy Security

The water and carbon cycles and the role of feedbacks in and between the two cycles, provide a context for developing an understanding of Climate Change. Anthropogenic Climate Change poses a serious threat to the health of the planet. There is a range of adaptation and mitigation strategies that could be used, but for them to be successful they require global agreements as well as national actions.

Paper 2 Units:

  • Globalisation

Globalisation and global interdependence continue to accelerate, resulting in changing opportunities for businesses and people. Inequalities are caused within and between countries as shifts in patterns of wealth occur. Recognising that both tensions in communities and pressures on environments are likely, will help players implement sustainable solutions.

  • Regenerating Places

Urban and rural regeneration programmes involving a range of players involve both place making (regeneration) and place marketing (rebranding). Regeneration programmes impact variably on people both in terms of their lived experience of change and their perception and attachment to places. The relative success of regeneration and rebranding for individuals and groups depends on the extent to which lived experience, perceptions, and attachments to places are changed.

  • Superpowers

Superpowers can be developed by a number of characteristics. The pattern of dominance has changed over time. Superpowers and emerging superpowers have a very significant impact on the global economy, global politics and the environment. The spheres of influence between these powers are frequently contested, resulting in geopolitical implications.

  • Migration, Identity and Sovereignty

Tensions can result between the logic of globalisation, with its growing levels of environmental, social and economic interdependence among people, economies and nation states and the traditional definitions of national sovereignty and territorial integrity. International migration not only changes the ethnic composition of populations but also changes attitudes to national identity. At the same time, nationalist movements have grown in some places challenging dominant models of economic change and redefining ideas of national identity.

Paper 3: Synoptic Investigation

An externally-assessed written examination. A resource booklet will contain information about a geographical issue. All questions in the examination draw synoptically on knowledge and understanding from compulsory content drawn from different parts of the course.

Independent Investigation

This is the Non-Examined Assessment (NEA) that is integral to all A Level Geography courses. Students will devise their own investigation of a geographical question or issue at a local scale, collect data and present their findings in a written report.

How will you be examined?

This is a linear course with 3 exam papers which are worth 80% of the total marks. The questions for Papers 1, 2 and 3 will involve a mixture of data response, structured short answer and extended writing tasks. For the Independent Investigation students will produce a written report of between 3000-4000 words, which will be marked by their teachers before being externally moderated. It is worth 20% of the total marks.

What could you do after completing the course?

Students often take undergraduate courses within the field of geography, such as Human and/or Physical Geography, Marine Geography, Environmental Geoscience, or Earth Science. However, the skills and qualities developed through studying geography are highly transferable into a wide range of roles and different working environments. UCAS highlights the employability of geographers as having a ‘highly desirable suite of skills which are of a premium to all types of organisations’.

BWS 2024 entry Subject Info Sheet GEOGRAPHY2