‘A’ Level geography covers both 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. This is complex and dynamic and varies from place to place depending on people’s resources, technology and culture. There is plenty of room for discussion and extended research which will help you become an independent thinker and learner. 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. Alongside the theoretical work, students will use field study sessions to enhance their understanding and develop their skills base. The topics studied include rivers/flooding, cold environments, plate tectonics, ecosystems, weather and climate, population, health, global cities and development.
You will learn in a wide variety of skills, including using maps, GIS skills, data analysis, photos, videos, podcasts, as well as investigative skills through fieldwork sessions. Year 12 Geography entails studying the connections between the physical and human processes in our world and geographers develop an awareness of the ‘holistic’ nature of the world. This provides geographers with the fairly unique ability to ‘bridge’ that gap between a range of specialist subject areas, giving them a greater idea of the bigger picture. The best managers, therefore, are geographers. 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, which are highly important for successful study at university level in any subject.
Geography is assessed by written examinations, covering both theoretical and geographical skills-based question papers. The exams will cover theoretical ideas in geography, including the full range of processes studied in physical and human geography. There will be an expectation that students will be able to describe and explain how the physical and human processes operate, and how they interlink. There will also be a practical element to the assessment, which will be based on the use of geographical skills such as drawing, interpreting and analysing primary and secondary data, as well as conducting a field study investigation into a topic such as rivers or population.
Geography is considered to be a facilitating subject by the Russell Group universities so opens up options to a wide range of courses and can lead to jobs in numerous fields. For example, for careers in sustainability and green issues, urban regeneration, energy supply, retail location, managing the effects of hazards and climate change geography is an obvious choice. For careers in the world of business an understanding of global economics forms an important part of geography. For those thinking of a career in law, human rights, international relations or welfare then geography gives you the opportunity to consider relevant issues such as; how do we measure development? What are the consequences of migration on societies? If you are aiming at a future course in Medicine then geography is a good choice to give your ‘A’ Level options the breadth that universities like as you will gain a clear understanding of how the environment affects health and survival of people, animals and ecosystems as well as enhancing your skills of writing essays and extended reports.