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Geography AS & A Level at Biddenham Upper School and Sports College

Course description

“Geography graduates are highly employable”.
Times Educational Supplement

"Geography is the subject which holds the key to our future"
Michael Palin

The AQA course content is designed to excite your minds, challenge perceptions and stimulate your investigative and analytical skills.

Geography A-levels have been decoupled from AS. You will sit all the exams at the end of your course, and AS results do not count towards the A-level results.

By studying geography it will enable you to develop a range of key transferable skills which will be essential for whatever post-18 opportunities you pursue. The key skills you will be able to develop during this course are:

  • Critical thinking and critical questioning skills.
  • Informed decision making skills.
  • Data analyses and evaluation skills.
  • Information Technology.
  • Problem solving and lateral thinking skills.
  • Teamwork and leadership.
  • Independent learning and research skills.
  • Effective communication skills (written and verbal).
  • Time Management.
  • Report and essay writing.

Course content

Two components:

  1. Physical geography and people and the environment
  2. Human geography and geographical fieldwork and investigation

Year 1:

  • Winter Term: Coastal systems and landscapes
  • Spring Term: Hazards 
  • Summer Term: Changing Places
  • Fieldwork/geographical skills: Geographical Investigation and geographical skills 

Year 2

  • Winter Term: Water and carbon cycles 
  • Spring Term: Global systems and global governance 
  • Summer Term: Population and environment 
  • Fieldwork/geographical skills: Geographical Investigation and geographical skills 

All students are required to undertake fieldwork in relation to processes in both physical and human geography. Students must undertake four days of fieldwork during their A-level course; this will be accessed via two residential field-trips. To fulfil this statutory requirement from the exam board, we will visit the Jurassic Coastline. In the first year students will explore this stretch of coastline to investigate how the unique geology gives rise to distinctive physical and human geographies. In the second year students will re-visit the same stretch of coastline to conduct a small-scale geographical investigation which builds on their previous fieldwork experience. They will then write a geographical investigative report.

Entry requirements

  • Geography GCSE at grade C or above.
  • English AND Maths GCSE at grade C or above.


Component 1: Physical Geography
Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes • 96 marks • 40% of A-level

  • Section A: Water and carbon cycles
  • Section B: either Hot desert environments and their margins or Coastal systems and landscapes
  • Section C: either Hazards or Ecosystems under stress or Cold environments

Component 2: Human Geography
Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes • 96 marks • 40% of A-level

  • Section A: Global systems and global governance
  • Section B: Changing places
  • Section C: either Contemporary urban environments or Population and the environment or Resource security

Component 3: Geographical Fieldwork Investigation
3 000 – 4 000 words • 35 marks • 20% of A-level • marked by teachers • moderated by AQA

Students complete an individual investigation which must include data collected in the field. The individual investigation must be based on a question or issue defined and developed by you that relates to any part of the specification content.

Financial information

To fulfil the fieldwork requirements set by the exam board we offer a residential field trip to the Dorset coastline which we kindly ask the students to pay for. Further information regarding this can be obtained from the geography department.

Future opportunities

All good universities and post-18 institutions look upon geography as a subject that links the Arts and Sciences; as such it opens up a wide range of higher education and career opportunities; it does not force you to make an early commitment.

It invariably counts as a ‘second science’ and/or a ‘second arts’ subject for most courses at good universities.

Geography combines well with almost all other A Level subjects. Taken with sciences like mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology, geography supports applications for almost any science-based university course like engineering, psychology, environmental sciences and geology. Taken with humanities like English, French, history or economics, geography supports an equally wide range of university courses such as business, law, media, politics and philosophy.

Further information

Course contact: Mrs D Morgan,

Exam board information: AQA

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Biddenham Upper School and Sports College directly.

Last updated date: 04 November 2016

Key information