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La Retraithe Sixth Form


Studying Geography at the La Retraite 6

Exam Board: Edexcel

Entry Criteria: GCSE Level 6 in Geography

Why study this course?

Geography is a subject about the environment, how places differ, how physical systems work and about how people interact with the world. Geography is about real-world events, their impacts, and their different interpretations. As a geographer you will develop many skills that are valued by employers, including critical thinking skills and a multidisciplinary approach to solving problems. As a subject linking the arts and the sciences it is highly flexible in terms of what other subjects you can combine it with.

What will I learn?

The A level geography specification is an exciting course which will encourage students to engage critically with the ‘big ideas’ in world around them and explore how people strive to make the world a better place to live in. Examining the awe-inspiring natural processes of our beautiful planet, helps us to appreciate and value its landscapes, oceans, and ecosystems. By studying different places, we inevitably delve into issues of culture and identity. Why do some places embrace multi-culturalism, why do others maintain strong social division? Geography is about places; people live in places and in turn are shaped by them.

The course strengthens the geographical and fieldwork skills gained at GCSE and delves more deeply into content. The integrated nature of the discipline enables students to think critically and consider the complexity and interconnectedness of topics.

Geography can be divided into two main branches: Human Geography is a social science that studies how humans interact with the planet. Physical Geography is a branch of earth science, which looks at the natural elements of the world, including the atmosphere, land, and oceans.

A level Geography covers the following topics:

  • Tectonic processes and hazards
  • Glaciated landscapes and changes
  • Globalisation
  • Diverse places
  • The water cycle and water insecurity
  • The carbon cycle and energy security
  • Super Powers
  • Health, human rights, and intervention

Skills that you will develop:

  • Problem Solving
  • Decision Making
  • Communication and Discussion
  • Group work
  • Fieldwork and Research Investigation
  • Making connections across a wide variety of topics
  • Literacy, Numeracy, and ICT]
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Essay/Report Writing

How will I be taught?

Students will have 6 lessons a week, split between two teachers. One teacher will cover the physical geography side of the course and the other will cover the human geography side of the specification.   You will be taught through a combination of teacher-led lessons, group work and independent study. There is a four-day residential fieldtrip – always a highlight of the course!

How many hours a week of private study are recommended?

Students will usually have reading and independent written work to complete between sessions. This will average around 4-5 hours a week.

You’ll enjoy this course if…

  • You enjoy studying a subject that is relevant to your own lives and experiences
  • You are keen to be involved in outdoor fieldwork
  • You are interested in current affairs
  • You have an interest and concern for the environment
  • You are curious, and enjoy finding you own answers and solving problems
  • You want to broaden your A levels to cover both Sciences and Humanities
  • You enjoy travel and finding out about new people, places, landscapes, and events.
  • You want to keep their options open for future careers – Geography is an appropriate qualification for a very wide range of higher education or career choices. Employer’s value the transferable skills Geographers have.

Course description

The Geography A Level course is divided into 4 units, studied over the two years. Three examinations are taken at the end of Y13, and students will also complete their own independent investigation which will count as 20% of the grade.


Paper 1

  • Physical Geography
  • 30% of total
  • 105 marks
  • 2 hours 15 minutes

Paper 2

  • Human Geography
  • 30% of total
  • 105 marks
  • 2 hours 15 minutes

Paper 3

  • Synoptic Links
  • 20% of total
  • 70 marks
  • 2 hours 15 minutes


  • Independent Investigation
  • 20% of total
  • 70 marks
  • Internally assessed and externally moderated.