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Exam Board and Specification Codes: Edexcel (9GEO)

In today’s globally interconnected society, it is more important than ever that we understand the world around us. Our aim is to develop students’ awareness of the complexity of interactions within and between societies, economies, cultures and environments, at scales from local to global. Geography is a very wide-ranging topic interested primarily in human and environmental development. The subject forms an important link between the arts and science subjects at A-Level, and at university where it can be studied either as a BSc or BA.

Geography ranks amongst the eight most important ‘facilitating subjects’ according to the Russell Group of universities, making it one of the most valuable subjects to study, providing students with the knowledge, skills and enthusiasm sought by higher education and employers.

The syllabus covers a wide variety of material, enabling students to apply theory to real examples and case studies around the world. Students learn to take a synoptic view, showing an awareness of the wider geographical world linking their ideas together

What is covered by the course?

Year 1

Component 1 - Globalisation

Component 2 - Tectonic Processes and Hazards

Component 3 - Regenerating Places

Component 4 - Coastal Landscapes and Change

Year 2

Component 5 - Superpowers

Component 6 - Migration, Identity and Sovereignty 

Component 7 - The Water Cycle and Water Insecurity

Component 8 - The Carbon Cycle and Energy Insecurity

How is it examined?

Paper 1 - Written Assessment (2 hours 15 minutes)

  • Dynamic Landscapes
  • 30% of the total A-Level

Paper 2 - Written Assessment (2 hours 45 minutes)

  • Dynamic Places
  • 30% of the total A-Level

Paper 3 - Written Assessment (2 hours 15 minutes)

  • This paper examines three synoptic themes (Players, Attitudes and actions, Futures and uncertainties) covering content from across all topic area
  • The synoptic investigation is based on a geographical issue within a place-based context
  • 20% of the total A-Level

Paper 4 - Coursework

  • Students choose a question or issue for investigation which relates to one of the above topics
  • The coursework must then use primary data collected on fieldwork and include analysis, evaluation and presentation of this data
  • The written coursework will be 3000-4000 words
  • 20% of the total A-Level

Related university courses & careers?

Geography has been defined amongst the key 'facilitating' or 'hard' subjects in a guide compiled by the Russell Group (20 leading UK universities). Geographers have embraced new digital technologies and media in their field/laboratory work, making the knowledge and practical skills of the modern geographer very relevant to a wide range of employer needs. The employment stats for geography graduates are now better than for most other traditional academic subjects.

There are two main areas: human geography, which is concerned with people and cities, and physical geography, which is more scientific. Most general geography courses cover both areas in the first year before allowing students to specialise in the second and third years, culminating with a dissertation in the final year. Expect to look at people and places, culture in different regions, the way society and nature interact, and the vast array of different landscapes that adorn planet earth. Field trips are a common feature, and while several universities offer a year abroad, nearly all offer shorter residential trips away to explore the physical and social geography of towns and cities across the world. While physical geography degrees are tied closely to politics, economics and cultural studies, physical geography is classed as an environmental science, linked to the likes of geology and ecology.

Suggested literature & resources

‘Geography Review’ magazine
‘Into Thin Air’ by Jon Krakauer
‘Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded’ by Simon Winchester
‘A Short History of Nearly Everything' by Bill Bryson
‘Coastal Geomorphology’ by John Pethick
‘Introducing Human Geographies’ by Paul Cloke, Philip Crang and Mark Goodwin
‘Prisoners of Geography’ by Tim Marshall
‘Development as Freedom’ by Amartya Sen
‘No Logo’ by Naomi Klein
‘The Death of Distance’ by Frances Cairncross
‘Brick Lane’ by Monica Ali
‘Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed’ by Jared Diamond
‘The Global Casino: An Introduction to Environmental Issues’ by Nick Middleton
‘Environmental Change’ by Andrew Goudie

Lower School

Kensington Park School (Years 7-11),
40-44 Bark Place,
W2 4AT

Tel: +44 (0)20 7616 4400

Sixth Form

Kensington Park School Sixth Form,
59 Queen's Gate,
South Kensington, London,

Tel: +44 (0)20 7225 0577

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