GCSE Geography

Exam Board - AQA (8035)

Who should study Geography?

Geography will inspire you to become a global citizen. By exploring your own place in the world, you will understand the different attitudes and values that people have towards the environment and to the sustainability of our planet.

The syllabus

We follow the AQA Specification for Geography. This builds upon what you have learnt in Years 7 - 9, and introduces some exciting new topics. The GCSE course is split into 3 Units:

Unit 1 - Physical Geography (90 minute exam, worth 35%)

You will study the following modules:

  • The challenge of natural hazards – Volcanoes, Earthquakes, Hurricanes and Climate Change
  • Physical landscapes in the UK – Coastal environments and River landscapes
  • The living world – Ecosystems, Tropical Rainforests and Hot Deserts

Unit 2 – Human Geography (90 minute exam, worth 35%)

You will study the following modules:

  • Urban Challenges – Population change, Demographic Transition Model, Sustainable development
  • The changing economic world– contrasts in development, factors affecting development, reducing global inequalities and the UK economy
  • The challenge of resource management – the global distribution of food, the changing demand and provision of food in the UK

Unit 3 – Geographical Applications (75 minute exam, worth 30%)

You will study the following modules:

  • Issue evaluation- Pre-released material become available 12 weeks before the exam date and studied in class debating a geographical issue
  • Fieldwork- Two enquiries will be carried out in contrasting environments showing both the physical and human geography. Students will be tested on the skills they used during the fieldwork in the exam.
  • Geographical skills- cartographic, graphical, numerical and statistical skills

What skills are involved in GCSE Geography?

GCSE Geography is a fantastic subject for developing a wide range of employable skills due to its combination of science, humanities and mathematics. Additional skills students develop include:

Geographic information systems

Presentation skills

Analysing photographs,

Studying satellite images

Drawing/ interpreting a variety of graphs



Decision making


Map reading


Current field trips and enrichment:

  • Compulsory overnight  field trip to collect data for the Unit 3 exam to Dorset
  • Optional 4 day international trip. Previously this has been to Iceland and the Bay of Naples, Italy, to study the tectonically active landscapes (trip subject to change)
  • Model United Nations- the school hosts and attends various MUN conferences throughout the year.
  • Missing Maps- school partnership with Medecins Sans Frontieres offering exciting opportunities to Geography students to volunteer with mapping and use of GIS in the developing world.

Where it leads 

Students that have studied Geography are very attractive to employers. You will learn and develop a lot of different skills which will help you with any type of work, from being a Climate Scientist to an Accountant! In addition to this students will prepare themselves for Geography A Level which is considered one of only 8 facilitating subjects which are commonly required or preferred by universities.

Examples of careers with Geography include:

  • Meteorologist
  • Environmental Education Officer
  • Finance
  • Surveyor
  • Tourism Officer
  • United Nations Ambassador
  • Government Administrator
  • Cartographer
  • Doctor
  • Accountant
  • Chemist
  • Engineering
  • Lawyer
  • Charity work