Exam Board: AQA

Freak weather, floods, pandemics, car parks collapsing into the sea, volcanoes erupting and rising political tensions, geography, it seems, is a subject to be reckoned with. The subject looks at the issues that are facing people in all parts of the world today and asks how they might affect you as a citizen of tomorrow’s world – and how you might be able to influence events.

You already have a range of relevant skills and knowledge from your Key Stage 3 geography course.  The GCSE course will take you further, introducing you to new skills, new places, and new ideas.  You will also be able to apply what you are learning and understand in greater depth how our decisions shape the world we live in. Alongside the knowledge-based learning a variety of wider skills are developed, such as:


The qualification is divided into three externally examined components:

Paper 1: Living with the physical environment (1 hour 30 minutes—35% of the overall qualification)

Topics include: ‘The Challenges of Living with Natural Hazards’, ‘The Living World’ and ‘Physical Landscapes of the UK’.

Paper 2: Challenges of the human environment (1 hour 30 minutes—35% of the overall qualification)

Topics include: ‘Urban Issues and Challenges, ‘The Changing Economic World’, ‘The Challenge of Resource, Management’ pressures’ and ‘Geographical Skills’

Paper 3: Geographical applications (1 hour 15 minutes—30% of the overall qualification)

Topics include: ‘Issue Evaluation, ‘Fieldwork’ (the course involves you conducting both human and physical fieldwork) and ‘Geographical Skills’.

Where can it lead?

The diversity of the subject content means that GCSE geography students are in a great position to pursue careers in several areas. Many students continued to study geography at A-Level and later at university. If you prefer physical geography, meteorology, volcanology, or environmental work with governments or non-governmental organisations, may appeal. Work in tourism and leisure, urban development and planning, or environmental law, are one of the many options available to those who prefer human geography.

For those not wishing to pursue a purely geographical pathway, the skills developed through studying the subject are valued by employers, and the subject is recognised as a facilitator for entry into the country’s top academic institutions.