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Geography A Level at Torquay Boys Grammar School

Course description

Contemporary Geography is a subject which explicitly engages with the relationship of human populations to each other and their relationship with the physical environment. Geographers look at issues from a wide perspective and develop a range of skills that are attractive to a very broad range of future employers. Specific skills include field work, research and report writing, preparing maps and diagrams, and using social survey and interpretative methods. Geographers are also adept in recognising the moral and ethical issues involved in debates and enquiries.

The aim of Geography at A level is to provide you with an appreciation of the complexities of decision-making in the real world; a variety of skills to analyse data and draw conclusions, and a desire to tackle urgent environmental and social issues in the UK and around the world.

Course content

This qualification is linear and students will sit all their exams at the end of the course in Year 13. The following topics will be covered:

Water and carbon cycles: The water and carbon cycle are major elements in the natural environment. Students will study their global distribution and size and look at the ways in which they support life on Earth.

Glacial systems and landscapes: The global distribution of “cold” environments and the study of how ice has shaped the land. The topic will also look at the exploitation and development in tundra areas, Antarctica and the Southern Ocean

Hazards: The nature, form and impacts of natural hazards including volcanoes, earthquakes and storm hazards. Students will study short and long term responses and focus on recent examples around the world.

Global systems and global governance: This topic focuses on globalisation – the economic, political and social changes associated with technological and other driving forces which have been a key feature of the global economy and society in recent decades.

Changing Places: This section focuses on people’s engagement with places, their experiences of them and the factors and processes which affect them. Students will engage in qualitative and quantitative investigative techniques focusing on the social and economic Characteristics of Torquay and comparing these to the east end of London.

Contemporary urban environments: Students will study the changing nature of 21st century cities, the processes and challenges which affect them and moves towards greater environmental sustainability and social cohesion.

FIELDWORK Four-day residential fieldtrip to Snowdonia in the Autumn term and a two-day trip to London in the Summer term of Year 12. One-day fieldtrip to Plymouth in the Autumn term of Year 13. The department runs a six-day residential trip to Iceland every two years.

Entry requirements

Grade B at GCSE is normally required but candidates with no previous examination experience in Geography will be considered


You will build up a portfolio from your lesson notes, private reading, short assignments and from field study. Students are encouraged to attend the South Devon Geographical Association termly lectures and there are a number of external speakers who come in to give talks on their specific areas of expertise.

Geography students have a strong tradition of participating in local and national Geography-related activities. In recent years, we have had success in the Young Geographer of the Year competition, South West Geology competition and the South West Planning competition. Such activities are enriching and enjoyable.

Component 1: Physical Geography – 2 hour 30 minute written examination with structured questions of varying length (40% of A-level).

Component 2: Human Geography – 2 hour 30 minute written examination with structured questions of varying length (40% of A-level).

Component 3: Geographical Investigation – students complete an individual investigation which must include data collected in the field. The investigation must be based on a question or issue defined and developed by the student relating to any part of the specification content. The investigation will be 3000-4000 words in length, it will be marked by the teacher and moderated by AQA (20% of A level).

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 25 April 2017

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