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Geography at The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe

Course description

Geography is about understanding the world around us: the physical basis and how humans use and interact with it. It is about spatial relations: where things are, why they are there and what the consequences are. We look at the world at a variety of scales from the very local to the study of globalisation and development. We are interested in economic, social and political patterns and how they interrelate. As such Geography combines very well with many other subjects from, giving a human context to those wanting to be medics and engineers to a view of the world economy for those in finance and business.

Course content

The AS course is divided equally between human and physical topics. At AS we look at rivers, how they work, why they flood and how they can be managed to reduce the human impact. We then look at the physical features of cold environments in upland and tundra environments before considering the changing uses of the Alpine, Arctic and Antarctic regions. On the Human side we look at trends in population and how these are affecting the modern world in terms of ageing populations and the link between population and resources. Health issues should perhaps be renamed the Geography of death as we look at patterns of infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria and non-communicable conditions such as diabetes and heart disease then how countries at different levels of development are responding to these challenges.

In A2 physical geography we look at the theory of plate tectonics and the impacts of volcanic and earthquake hazards on different societies. The weather and climate unit looks at the weather systems affecting the UK as well as issues such as climate change. On the human side we look at how the global economy and how the roles of the different regions such as China, India or the Pacific basin are changing. We finish with a look at contemporary conflicts at a variety of scales from international to local: Afghanistan to the Wycombe stadium.

We undertake a local rivers study that is planned and carried out by the students. This experience is then used to answer questions on both the AS and A2 skills papers. There will probably be the opportunity to take part in a fieldtrip to the Lake District to look at the features studied in more detail to consolidate the learning.

Entry requirements

Grade B in Geography


AS – 2 Units Unit 1 Physical and Human Geography – a 2 hour written paper consisting one 30 mark, 30 minute question on each of the following topics:
- Rivers, floods and management
- Cold environments
- Global population change
- Health issues

Unit 2: Geographical Skills – a 1 hour written paper
- Basic, investigative, ICT, graphical, cartographical and statistical skills
- Research skills and the assessment of AS fieldwork.

A2 - 2 units Unit 3: Contemporary Geographical Issues – a 2½ hour written paper consisting of two 45 minute structured questions and a 1 hour essay on 3 of the 4 following topics:
- Plate tectonics and associated hazards
- Weather and climate and associated hazards
- Development and globalisation
- Contemporary conflicts and challenges.

Unit 4 Geography Fieldwork Investigation – 1½ hour written paper There will also be a 4-day residential fieldtrip to the Lake District that we encourage all boys to attend, to look at the cold environments on the specification and acquire the skills for Units 2 and 4.

Future opportunities

Geography is about making sense of the world around us by looking at the social, economic, political and environmental aspects of a given issue. It is about gathering information from a wide variety of sources and writing reports summarising the main points of an argument. These sort of analytical skills are highly transferable and prepare pupils very well for a wide variety of degree courses and care from straight Geography to Environmental Science or Geology on the physical side to Business Studies, Management or Law on the Human side. Geography degrees cover a huge range of topics from the Geography of Disease to the Geopolitics of the Middle East and can be studied within an Arts or Science Faculty.

Geography graduates are highly employable for their analytical skills and their ability to look at any issue or problem from a variety of points of view. In a recent survey of Geography graduates, the Royal Geographical Society found the following destinations five years after graduating: administration / management; teaching / lecturing; finance; marketing; research; armed and emergency services; environmental services; social services; and tourism, with graduates having some of the highest employment rates of all subjects

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact The Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe directly.

Last updated date: 09 June 2015
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