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Geography A Level *Fees Payable* at Birkdale School

Course description

In the A Level specification, there are four areas of study: Dynamic Landscapes, Dynamic Places, Physical Systems and Sustainability, Human Systems and Geopolitics.


  • Links: This course uses a range of skills useful to other subjects.
  • Graphical presentation and interpretation
  • Data manipulation
  • Statistical techniques
  • Annotating diagrams
  • Aerial photograph interpretation
  • Data-response analysis and evaluation
  • Decision-making
  • Research techniques
  • Group work and presentations
  • ICT and GIS



Entry requirements

Academically, it is expected that students entering Birkdale’s Sixth Form will have achieved a minimum of 5 passes (A* to C/ 9 to 5) at GCSE, with at least 4 at grade B/grade 6 or higher; we would expect B/6 or higher GCSE grades in those subjects being studied to A level. A grade 6 is required to study A Level English and Mathematics, although a grade 7 is preferred in Mathematics. Prospective Further Mathematicians should achieve a grade 7 in GCSE Mathematics although a grade 8 is preferred. However, at Birkdale we look beyond the academic and would wish applicants to become fully involved in the life of the school, offering their skills and abilities in one or more of a number of areas (e.g. drama, sport, music, clubs and societies, etc).


Paper 1 - Dynamic Landscapes, Physical Systems and Sustainability (2 hours 15 minutes, 30% of A Level)

Tectonic Processes and Hazards: Why some locations are at risk of tectonic hazards, the causes of tectonic hazards, why some tectonic hazards turn into disasters and the success of management of tectonic hazards.

Landscape Systems: Coastal Landscapes and Change. An in-depth understanding of physical geography processes, the ways in which physical processes cause changes to the physical environment/landscape and to human activities, and the human responses to these changes.

Water Cycle and Water Insecurity. The factors controlling the cycling of water. The natural and human factors that lead to a surplus and deficit of water and the role of climate change. The issue of water insecurity, its consequences and strategies for managing this issue.

Carbon Cycle and Energy Insecurity: The physical processes that control the cycling of carbon. The natural and human factors that lead to changes in stores of carbon. The consequences of our reliance on fossil fuels. How the carbon and water cycles are linked to the global climate system.

Superpowers: What are superpowers and how have they changed over time? What are the impacts of superpowers on the global economy, political systems and the environment? How is the influence and power of superpowers changing?


Paper 2 - Dynamic Places, Human Systems and Geopolitics (2 hours 15 minutes, 30% of A Level)

Globalisation: The causes of globalisation and why it has accelerated, the impacts of globalisation on different groups and different places, its consequence for global development and how different players respond to its challenges.

Regenerating Places: Students begin by studying the place in which they live or study in order to look at economic change and social inequalities. They will then put this local place in context in order to understand how regional, national, international and global influences have led to changes there. The topic explores why regeneration is needed, how regeneration is managed and how successful is regeneration.

Topic 8 Global Development and Connections: Aspects of world development issues are studied.

Topic 9 Migration, Identity and Sovereignty: The impacts of globalisation on international migration. The development of nation states and how they have involved including the impact of globalisation. What impact has global organisations such as the World Bank and IMF had on global systems such as Trade and Migration. The threats to national security in a more globalised world.


Paper 3 – Synoptic Investigation of a geographical issue (2 hours 15 minutes, 20% of A Level)

Coursework – Independent Investigation 20% of A Level

This will be an internally assessed and externally moderated written report of 4000 words.

Fieldwork: For the A level there are 5 days of compulsory fieldwork. Part of your fieldwork will go towards producing the Independent Investigation. The field work will take place in the summer term of the L6 in Dorset.


Financial information

Please note that Birkdale is a fee-paying independent school. Further information regarding fees can be found on our website

Further information

There are also clear links with Economics/Business Studies, Politics and Maths.


Students will find this course stimulating, challenging, interesting and relevant, with many areas of study for both the physical and human components being drawn from recent events or issues. Students learn that Geography is indeed relevant to their everyday lives.


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: 26 October 2017

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