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Geography A Level at Rainham Mark Grammar School

Course description

Geography is a diverse and engaging subject that covers issues relevant to our world today. At A Level, the emphasis is on the inter-relationships and interactions between and within the physical and human environments.

Geography A Level aims to ensure students

• develop a knowledge of locations, places, processes and environments, at all geographical scales from local to global
• develop an in-depth understanding of physical and human geography
• recognise and be able to analyse the complexity of people–environment interactions and appreciate how these underpin understanding of some of the key issues facing the world today
• become confident and competent in selecting, using and evaluating a range of quantitative and qualitative skills and approaches, (including observing, collecting and analysing geo-located data)
• understand the role of fieldwork as a tool to understand and generate new knowledge about the real world, and become skilled at planning, undertaking and evaluating fieldwork in appropriate situations
• develop as critical and reflective learners, able to articulate opinions, suggest relevant new ideas and provide evidenced argument in a range of situations.


Course content

Your A Level geography course will cover both the physical and human environments and the complex interaction of processes that shape our world. It will also, importantly, show the applied side of the subject -how human intervention affects the environment and how people adapt and mitigate the effects of processes on their environment. There is plenty of room for discussion and extended research which will help you become an independent thinker and learner. By the time you get to your exams, you will be able to show your understanding of a range of opinions and be able to illustrate your answers with case studies from local, national and international examples.

Physical geography
1. Water and carbon cycles
2. Hot desert systems and landscapes
3. Coastal systems and landscapes
4. Glacial systems and landscapes
5. Hazards
6. Ecosystems under stress

Human geography
7. Global systems and global governance
8. Changing places
9. Contemporary urban environments
10. Population and the environment
11. Resource security

You will learn in a wide variety of ways demonstrating Geographical skills such as using maps, GIS skills, data analysis, photos, videos, podcasts. You will be encouraged to frame your own questions using higher level thinking skills and showing your grasp of complex issues through report and essay writing.  You are encouraged to develop competence in a variety of practical skills to support your geographical knowledge and understanding by attending a residential fieldtrip (a minimum of four days of fieldwork must be completed) and to carry out a Geography fieldwork investigation of your own choosing.


Entry requirements

 You must have at least a 6 in GCSE Geography.


Geography AQA A Level

Component 1: Physical Geography
Section A: Water and carbon cycles
Section B: either Hot desert environments and their margins or Coastal systems and landscapes
Section C: either Hazards or Ecosystems under stress or Cold environments

How it's assessed
Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
120 marks which equates to 40% of the A-level

Component 2: Human Geography
Section A: Global systems and global governance (globalisation)
Section B: Changing places
Section C: either Contemporary urban environments or Population and the environment or Resource security

How it's assessed
Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
 120 marks which equates to 40% of the A-level

Component 3: Geographical investigation
Students complete an individual investigation which must include data collected in the field. The individual investigation must be based on a question or issue defined and developed by the student relating to any part of the specification content.

How it's assessed
3,000 – 4,000 words
60 marks which equate to 20% of the A level, marked by teachers and moderated by the exam board


Future opportunities

Geography combines well with almost all other AS and A level subjects. Geography is considered by universities as a facilitating subject. Taken with the science and Mathematics, it supports applications for almost any science based university course like Engineering, Psychology, Environmental Sciences, Oceanography and Geology. Taken with humanities like English, French, History or Economics, it equally supports a wide range of university course like Law, Business, Media, Politics and Philosophy. Skills of collecting, analysing and interpreting data, communicating findings and developing links are recognised by employers and universities as being of great value.

Geography opens up a wide range of career opportunities; increasingly major UK employers are placing it alongside Economics, Business Management, Science, Mathematics and Engineering as desirable for their subject specific graduate employees. In a globalised economy employers like their employees to know how the world works.


How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Rainham Mark Grammar School directly.

Last updated date: 01 November 2017
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years


  • More information
    • Rainham Mark Grammar School is an 11-18 Selective School, currently we have over 880 students aged 11-16 and over 340 aged 16-18 taking AS and A2 levels. We aim to be a friendly, caring and stimulating community which motivates young people to enjoy learning, participate enthusiastically in wider activities and make the most of their abilities.