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Geology Level 3 - AS Level/A Level at Exeter College

Course description

This subject is particularly useful for students who are interested in, or may wish to follow a career linked with, the physical environment. You will get the opportunity to study one of the most exciting subjects imaginable - the earth we live on.

Lessons will include practical as well as written work. There will be opportunities for field work during this course.

Course content

AS Level topics include:

  • Global tectonics - the formation and structure of our Earth, earthquakes, continental drift, sea floor spreading and plate tectonics, geological structures (folds / faults / rift valleys)
  • Rocks - processes and products - the rock cycle, igneous processes and products, sedimentary processes and products, metamorphic processes and products
  • Practical skills in geology 1 - centre based tasks, evaluative tasks

If there is progression to A Level the topics will include:

  • Environmental geology - This unit provides candidates with a knowledge and understanding of the applications of geology to water supply, energy resources, metallic mineral deposits, engineering geology and construction materials. It also covers the main environmental, technological, safety and economic issues related to these areas of geology
  • Evolution of life, Earth and climate: this unit provides candidates with a knowledge and understanding of the evolution of fossils and climate. This unit consists of five modules:
    (1) formation of fossils
    (2) morphology of fossils and adaptation of organisms to live in different environments
    (3)fossil evidence of the evolution of organisms and mass extinctions
    (4)Dating methods, correlation and interpretation of geological maps
    (5)Changing climate 
  • Practical skills in geology 2 - centre based tasks, evaluative tasks (these further develop skills from the first year task)

Entry requirements

You need at least five GCSEs at grade C or above (including English language and maths) and three GCSEs at grade D or above, with grade B or above in GCSE science. A grade D or above is needed at the end of year 1 for progression to year 2 of the A Level.


Assessment is by frequent short exercises and some longer tasks. Part of the assessment is a practical centre-base task. There will be the opportunity to complete more than one of these tasks and to enter the best mark. There are also centre-based evaluative tasks in each year.

Word of warning - you can be examined on ANY part of the specification and you have to answer ALL parts of all questions in the examination. This is a good choice for students who attend regularly and work steadily and consistently throughout the year. It is a bad choice for anyone who likes to revise hard at the very last minute.

Future opportunities

You could progress to a wide range of university courses in geology, geophysics or to support the physical aspects of a geography degree, or to employment in fields such as geology, seismology, geo-engineering, or resource exploration (including some of the most highly paid careers in, for instance, the oil industry).

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Exeter College directly.

Last updated date: 01 February 2016
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