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Geography A-Level at St John Payne Catholic School

Course description

AS (2 units)

G1 1 hour 30 minutes Written Paper 75 marks (100 UMS)

Unit Title: Changing Physical Environments Two Themes

  • Investigating climate change
  • Investigating tectonic and hydrological change

Three structured questions with stimulus material, one of which tests research/fieldwork.

G2 1 hour 30 minutes Written Paper 75 marks (100 UMS)

Unit Title: Changing Human Environments Two Themes

  • Investigating population change
  • Investigating settlement change Three structured questions with stimulus material, one of which tests research/fieldwork.

A Level (the above plus a further 2 units)

G3 2 hours 15 minutes Written Paper 75 marks (120 UM)

Unit Title: Contemporary Themes & Research in Geography

Section A – 1 hour 30 minutes

Two essays – one from each of the two contemporary themes. One theme selected from three physical options and one theme selected from three human options. A choice from two questions from each theme. 

Section B – 45 minutes

For each of 10 themes, there will be a topic area set by the Board in May of the preceding year. Candidates design and carry out a research enquiry based on their chosen theme and prescribed topic area. This will be assessed by a two-part question based on research enquiry and the findings of their research. This question will be given out after 1 hour 30 minutes when Section A is handed in.

G4 1 hour 45 minutes Written Paper 80 marks (80 UMS)

Unit Title: Sustainability

  • Sustainability
  • Food Supply
  • Sustainable Energy
  • Sustainable Water Supply
  • Sustainable Cities

Pre-release resource folder will be issued prior to the examination.

Since 2004, a total of 295 students have opted to study the subject at Advanced Level and 290 of these have achieved a C grade or higher. The model attainment grade has been A; with 65% of students achieving this grade and 91% gaining an A/B grade.

In 2014 the department entered 101 students for AS/A2 Geography and 73 of these achieved an A*/A grade and 91 an A*/B grade. The quality of teaching and learning was graded 1 on the ALPS national benchmark thermometer and the valueadded score places the department at the 100% percentile i.e. in top 1% in England and Wales.

Since 2005 the Department has been ranked number one six times for Advanced Level Geography in the ‘Good Schools’ Guide for England.

Fieldwork is considered an essential component of the Advanced Level course and, in order to maximise fieldwork experiences, all pupils are expected to participate in organised fieldwork activities and also carry out their own fieldwork investigations for G3B. The knowledge and skills gained from fieldwork are essential ingredients for candidates who wish to achieve a high examination grade.

Entry requirements

Please note the minimum requirement to study AS levels at our Sixth Form is a GCSE points score of 42 points from your best 8 GCSE results. We award 8 points for an A* grade, 7 points for a grade A, 6 points for a grade B, 5 points for a grade C, 4 points for a grade D, 3 points for a grade E, 2 points for a grade F and 1 point for a grade G.

Subject Specific

English C

Students wishing to follow this course are expected to have achieved at least a Grade C in GCSE Geography, but in certain circumstances it is possible for pupils to gain entry to the course without having studied the subject at GCSE Level.

A serious-minded approach is however the most important requirement because it is a very demanding course in terms of the quantity of work involved. Students who were prepared to apply effort and devote time to their study of the subject have in the past achieved good results. There is no single recommended textbook for the entire course. Students will, therefore, be provided with a large amount of reference reading resources produced within the department. The cost of resourcing this is considerable and pupils will be expected to pay an annual contribution towards this. They will also be expected to carry out independent research and reference reading using the teaching and learning resources that are available on the AS and A2 study zones of the Geography VLE @ SJP.

Relating to courses at University or future employment, this subject combines well with most subjects as it is interdisciplinary and can be studied as an Arts degree, Social Science degree and Science degree.

As stated above, its inter-disciplinary nature means it is linked to a wide range of careers including:- Environmental Sciences, Conservation, Planning, Social Services, Business – Marketing, Education, Leisure & Tourism etc.

Further information

In Year 13 students have an opportunity to visit Iceland during October half term. This has proved to be a popular and extremely enjoyable trip.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St John Payne Catholic School directly.

Last updated date: 24 June 2015

Key information