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Geography is taught at Collingham by dynamic, experienced tutors who strive continually to apply the principles covered by the syllabus to topical economic and environmental issues.

The Subject

Earth, wind and fire; floods, landslides, poverty, crime, earthquakes and is it going to rain today? These are just some of the topics covered in what many people see as one of the most useful A levels: Geography.  

Geography at A level is about understanding the two-way relationship between people and the environment. How does the environment pose challenges and opportunities for people and how do people shape and manage the environment?  

The course is suitable for anybody who has an interest in people or the environment and acts as a natural complement to many other subjects on both sides of the arts/science divide, such as Economics, Business Studies, Biology or History. A level Geography is well respected by university admissions tutors in a range of disciplines.  

The Course

2016 A2 and one year

The current specification balances traditional geography with contemporary and engaging geographical subject content. Key themes are management of change and sustainability. It encourages students to reflect on why they think the way they do about an issue, as well as how others think, skills that are vital for citizens in the 21st century.

The specification allows students to extend and exercise their geographical skills, and to make choices. Fieldwork is at the core of this, both at AS and A2, but there are also opportunities to develop further skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation.

AS Unit 1 Physical and Human Geography

The study of core geographical concepts along with contrasting themes of contemporary or environmental impact, management and sustainability. Candidates must study the core and then select one of the physical options and one of the human options.

  • Core physical section: Rivers, floods and management
  • Core human section: Population change
  • Optional physical topics: Cold environments, Coastal environments, Hot desert environments 
  • Optional human topics: Food supply issues, Health issues and their margins, Energy issues

AS Unit 2 Geographical Skills

A geographical skills paper based on the content of Unit 1. Skills include: investigative, cartographic, graphical, ICT and statistical skills. A2

Unit 3 Contemporary Geographical Issues

An issues-based approach to contemporary geographical themes. Candidates must select three topics: at least one from the physical options and at least one from the human options. Optional physical topics:

  • Plate tectonics and associated hazards
  • Weather and climate and associated hazards
  • Ecosystems: change and challenge

Optional Human topics:

  • World cities
  • Development and globalisation
  • Contemporary conflicts and challenges

Unit 4A Geography Fieldwork

Investigation: This unit gives candidates the opportunity to extend an area of the subject content into a more detailed fieldwork study. Candidates analyse and evaluate their fieldwork in response to the questions set. In addition, candidates will be assessed on fieldwork skills.

OR Unit 4B Geographical Issue Evaluation

This unit gives candidates the opportunity to use their skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation. An advance information booklet is prereleased 2 months prior to the exam to facilitate candidates’ research into an area which extends from the specification content.    

The new specification

First teaching September 2016

The new specification balances traditional geography with contemporary and engaging geographical subject content. Key themes are management of change and sustainability. It encourages students to reflect on why they think the way they do about an issue, as well as how others think, skills that are vital for citizens in the 21st century.

The specification allows students to extend and exercise their geographical skills, and to make choices. Fieldwork is at the core of this, but there are also opportunities to develop further skills of analysis, synthesis and evaluation. The qualification is made up of four parts

A level paper 1

Students will study tectonic processes and hazards, landscape systems, processes and change with Coastal landscapes and Change as the option. They will then study the water cycle and water insecurity and finally the carbon cycle and energy insecurity. This is assessed in a 2hour 15 minute exam paper worth 30% of the overall grade.

A Level paper 2

Students will study Globalisation and Shaping places with regeneration as the chosen option. They will then study Superpowers, global development and connections studying migration, identity and sovereignty as the option.

This is again assessed by a 2 hour 15 minute exam worth 30% of the overall grade.

A level paper 3

Students study three synoptic themes within the compulsory content areas:

● Players

● Attitudes and actions

● Futures and uncertainties.

The synoptic investigation will be based on a geographical issue within a place-based context that links to the three synoptic themes and is rooted in two or more of the compulsory content areas.

This unit is assessed by a  2 hour and 15 minutes exam  worth 20% of the qualification

The final element of the A level is coursework.

The student defines a question or issue for investigation, relating to the compulsory or optional content. The topic may relate to any aspect of geography contained within the specification. The student’s investigation will incorporate fieldwork data (collected individually or as part of a group) and own research and/or secondary data

The fieldwork, which forms the focus and context of the individual investigation, may be either human, physical or integrated physical-human. The investigation report will evidence independent analysis and evaluation of data, presentation of data findings and extended writing. Students will be expected to show evidence that they have used both quantitative and qualitative data to support their independent investigation as appropriate to the particular environment and/or location.

The course work will account for 20% of the qualification.

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