Accessibility links

Geology at King Edward VII

Course description

Geology is the branch of Science concerned with the structure, evolution and dynamics of the Earth and with the exploitation of the mineral and energy resources that it contains.

Geology applies physical, chemical and biological principles to the investigation of the Earth, but it also involves a distinctive scientific methodology invoking internal and external Earth processes to explain the evolution of the planet through geological time; in other words Geologists are like rock detectives who look for clues in the rocks and the landscape to help them understand what has happened in the past. They study such things as fossils, volcanoes, earthquakes, deserts and rivers.  Geologists are also interested in finding the minerals and rocks upon which we all depend – oil, gas, iron, aluminium, salt etc.  Increasingly, Geologists are involved in helping to protect our environment such as looking for sites to dump nuclear waste, reclaiming and landscaping quarries.

There are elements of Geography, Biology, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering and Mathematics within the course.  As such it combines very well with many other A levels.  It is regarded as a Science A level.

Course content

A-level geology provides a comprehensive coverage of the knowledge and understanding required for the study of the Earth, its structures, evolution and dynamics. Including key topics such as elements, minerals and rocks, time and change, earth structure and global tectonics.


Practical work

Practical work is an intrinsic part of geology. This will include looking at rocks and minerals in hand specimen and identifying them. The practical skills developed are also fundamentally important to learners going on to further study in geology and related subjects, and are transferable to many careers. The new specification includes a practical endorsement, this isn’t assessed but will provide many key skills to apply to the examination papers.



Fieldwork has long been an attractive aspect of the study of geology and has been incorporated at the heart of the new specification. Learners are required to undertake a minimum of four days of work in the field in order to develop field observation and practical skills.


Entry requirements

No previous knowledge of the subject is necessary though Grade 5 in GCSE Geography would be an advantage. If not taken at GCSE a Grade 5 in English or English Literature and Maths is required.

To ensure that the subjects you have chosen fit into our timetable please click the link below to download our subject blocking timetable. Please note that this may be subject to change depending on course demand or staffing.

Y12 Subject Blocks 2018-19

NOTE: the school reserves the right NOT to run courses where the number of students is not viable.




Component 1: Geological Investigations

Written examination: 2 hours 15 minutes

35% of qualification

Section A: Two stimulus response questions requiring short and structured answers.

Section B: An investigation of the geology of an area shown on an accompanying simplified geological map, involving

  • the interpretation of hand specimens and photographs of minerals, rocks and fossils
  • map interpretation and cross-section construction
  • the completion of questions using short, structured and extended answers.

Component 2: Geological Principles and Processes

Written examination: 1 hours 45 minutes

30% of qualification

Six stimulus response questions requiring short, structured and extended answers.


Component 3: Geological Applications

Written examination: 2 hours

35% of qualification

Section A: Geohazards.  Two stimulus response questions requiring short and structured answers.

Section B: Geological map applications.  An investigation of the geology of an area shown on a Geological Survey map extract using stimulus response questions requiring short, structured and extended answers.

Section C: Leraners answer questions on one option from a choice of three.  Each comprises three questions requiring short, structured and extended answers.

  • Quaternary Geology
  • Geological Evolution of Britain
  • Geology of the Lithosphere


Practical Endorsement - Non-exam assessment

Assessment of practical competency.  Reported separately and not contributing to final grade.

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 21 November 2017

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 104 Weeks