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Geography A Level at Carmel College, a Catholic Academy

Course description

Geography is the study of the relationships between the Earth's landscapes, people, places and environments. In short, geography helps us to understand and explain the complex world we live in. The important role of geographical knowledge in understanding current local and global issues, such as climate change and world trade, is increasingly recognised by governments and businesses. Furthermore, the specific skills and expertise gained by geography graduates make them highly prized by employers. Many of our past students say their geography A level was the key to their success at degree level—whether that was Medicine or Sports Science, law or Journalism.

Geography is unique in bridging the social sciences with the earth sciences. This is possible through its understanding of the dynamics of cultures, societies and economies (human geography) and its understanding of physical landscapes and environmental processes (physical geography). Geography's strength comes from its ability to unite a kaleidoscope of knowledge from different disciplines - for example, ecology, geology, economics and politics - and to interpret the bigger picture within a spatial context.

Course content

The geography course is the AQA syllabus A and a full specification can be found on their web site, You will build on GCSE work as well as tackling new and challenging issues such as cold climates and World Cities, the geography of health, Conflict and Change and weather and climatic hazards.

In Geography we use a wide variety of teaching and learning styles. Much time is devoted to student centred exercises which apply theory to practice and encourage self-development - asking you to think for yourself. We analyse and interpret a variety of maps; interpret aerial and satellite images (including weather satellite images); present data as graphs, maps and tables; use very simple statistical techniques (no need to be a mathematician!), and make use of ICT including the Internet.

The timetabled allocation to the subject is 4 hours per week. You will need to spend at least another 4 hours to have any chance of success at AS level Geography. The lessons have a variety of tasks attached to them such as research, reading, discussions and thinking skills. It is advisable to spend time thinking and reading around contemporary issues as these are central to the A level course.

Entry requirements

Few disciplines cover such a broad range of elements as geography, making it appeal to people with a wide variety of interests. The geography courses appeal to those who are interested in understanding the world around them and to people concerned about the impact of humans on the physical environment. To study geography at Carmel RC College you will have achieved a grade B at GCSE.


Year 12

2 papers examined in June.

  • Paper 1 content-Population and the geography of health, Rivers and cold environments
  • Paper 2 Geographical skills

Year 13

One exam paper can be a choice of a fieldwork paper or a geographical issues paper which is 1 1/2 hours long. The second paper is the content paper and is 2 1/2 hours long. It includes lengthy essay based questions; world cities, globalisation, weather and climate and tectonic hazards as well as smaller more structured questions.

Future opportunities

The range of transferable skills, such as team skills, decision-making, IT and communication skills, which are acquired during a geography A level make it an attractive and sensible option for those who have yet to map out a clear career path. So, whether you have a desire to contribute to finding solutions to some of the world's most critical issues or whether you simply have a fascination for people and places, then geography may be the degree for you.

Employers and Universities love a good geography A level. Past students who are studying everything from Law to Medicine, Environmental Science to Sports Studies or the emerging discipline of GIS and all stress how useful it has been to be able to make global and local links and how the ability to write extended essays has given the edge at University. Many students have told us that their geography A level was the key to their success in their degree. We agree!

Further information

We have increased the number of A grades for A2 year on year. Last year over 35% of our A2 students achieved an A* or A grade and everyone else achieved grade B or C. We have similarly excellent AS results with 50% achieving a grade A and a 100% pass rates.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Carmel College, a Catholic Academy directly.

Last updated date: 05 September 2016

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