St John Plessington Catholic College

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A Level - Level 3

This subject is offered as an A Level course over two years. 

Geography is the study of physical and human environments and how they interact together. It is delivered in the two disciplines of Physical and Human Geography and deals with a range of current topical global issues. A level geography builds on what is covered at GCSE Level and applies a range of detailed contemporary case studies to core geographical concepts. You will study the systems, patterns and processes that happen in both urban and rural areas. The content includes studying volcanoes, earthquakes and our changing coastline. Why is Africa the poorest continent on earth? Can Liverpool ever reclaim its status as the ‘second city’ of Great Britain? How will climate change impact upon your life? Without Geography we stand little chance of answering such questions.


You are encouraged to:

  • Develop and apply your understanding of geographical concepts and processes to understand and interpret the changing world.

  • Develop your awareness of the complexity of interactions within and between societies, economies, culture and environments at a local and global scale.

  • Develop as global citizens who recognise the challenge of sustainability and the implications for their own lives and lives of others.

  • Improve as critical and reflective learners. Awareness of the importance of attitudes and values, including their own.

  • Become apt in the use and application of skills and technologies through your geographical studies.

  • Be inspired by the world around you, and gain enjoyment and satisfaction from your geographical studies.

    Course Content

    The course comprises of three examinations. The following content follows a linear pattern and is taught over a two year period. Students will no longer sit AS level and will complete all A Level examinations at the end of their second year. Component 1: Changing Landscapes and Changing Places (20.5% of qualification).

    Section A: Changing coastal landscapes.
    Section B: Changing places.
    Component 2: Global Systems and Global Governance (27.5% of qualification).

Section A: Global systems (water and carbon cycles). Section B: Global governance chance and challenges. Section C: 21st Century challenges.
Component 3: Contemporary Themes in Geography (32% of qualification).

Section A: Tectonic hazards.
Section B: Development in the African Context and ecosystems.
Component 4: Independent Investigation (20% of qualification) - One 3000-4000 word investigation based upon primary and secondary data collection on any of the themes covered to date.

How it’s assessed

Component 1: Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes - all questions are compulsory and vary in length from 2 - 15 marks.
Component 2: Written exam: 2 hours - combination of compulsory and optional questions, these vary in length from 2 - 20 marks.

Component 3: Written exam: 2 hours 15 minutes - combination of compulsory and optional questions, three in total each. Is a 45 mark essay question.
Component 4: Non examination based investigation submitted in school and marked by external moderators.

Is there anything else I should know?

Field trips are an integral part of the geography course at SJP. It is a vital and valuable component of the compulsory phase of every student’s school experience. At both AS and A2, field trips are organised to provide an opportunity for students to experience and test theory learnt in the classroom in a variety of locations.

Progression Routes

Geography is highly regarded and considered a ‘facilitating subject’ for the top universities in the country, regardless of the degree that you wish to study. It provides an excellent grounding for those wishing to progress
onto Law and other ‘humanities’ subjects but also for Medicine and Veterinary Science as well as Business or Management. Previous students have gone on to study Geography at university, as either a science or in the
arts faculties. Your skills of data analysis, interpretation and your ability to present logical arguments all match the skills required in today’s workplace. Geographers are highly skilled in both literacy and numeracy, and employers recognise the abilities A Level Geographers possess. A geographical background is beneficial in the following careers: Crime Intelligence Analyst, Travel Writer, Environmental Manager, Teaching and Engineering.