Exam Board: AQA

What does the course cover?

There are three elements to the new GCSE course.

  1. Physical Geography

Covering topics such as: The challenge of natural hazards (earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes and climate change), The living world (rainforests and cold environments) and UK physical landscapes (coasts and rivers), the GCSE physical topics are a diverse range of natural and social sciences.

We study the processes that cause some of the most amazing elements this world has ever seen. We also look at the threats humans are causing to the unique planet and how you (as the world’s future generations) can help to resolve these issues.

  1. Human Geography

Within this area the topics include: Urban issues and challenges (both in LICs and HICs), The changing economic world (poverty, wealth and development) and Resource management (food, water and energy).

With the world’s richest 1% having 82% of the world’s wealth, the human geography units are critical in developing our understanding on how the world has been shaped this way and how we can change things in the future.

  1. Geographical Applications

This is a new element to the GCSE course. Controlled Assessment has been removed and in its place is this brand new, very exciting, exam paper. A chance for students to develop their decision making and fieldwork skills and show them off to the examiner in a new and unique way.

Section A of this paper is called Issue Evaluation. It is based on a pre-released set of material (released by the exam board 12 weeks before the exam) and allows students to bring together their knowledge, understanding and skills from the full course of study. It’s an opportunity to show their breadth of understanding and an evaluative appreciation of the interrelationships between the different aspects of geographical study. With a focus on critical thinking and problem solving it provides students with the perfect opportunity to showcase these much needed real-world skills.

Section B of this paper is based upon fieldwork. Students are required to attend two compulsory fieldtrips. Fieldwork is extremely valuable in the study of geography. Not only does it support the curriculum by deepening students’ knowledge and understanding of a wide variety of subject content, it also enables them to understand the relationships between different aspects of the course. Furthermore, it is an invaluable opportunity to experience “real” research (a skill needed for further academic study at university). Enabling students to clarify and justify their own values whilst learning to acknowledge and respect other people’s values. It has the potential to contribute widely to the personal, social and academic development of pupils.