KS5 A-Level Overview

Paper 1: Physical Geography

  • Coastal Landscapes and change: coastal zones are dynamic environments in which landscapes develop by the interaction of wind, waves, currents and terrestrial and marine sediments. The operation and outcomes of fundamental geomorphological processes and their association with distinctive landscapes are readily observable. Fieldwork will be carried out in this topic.
  • Tectonic Processes and Hazards: This topic focuses on the lithosphere and atmosphere, which intermittently but regularly present hazards to human populations. This topic enables students to explore the origins of these hazards and the various ways in which people respond and adapt to them.
  • Water and carbon cycles: this section focuses on the major stores of water and carbon at or near the Earth’s surface and the dynamic cyclical relationships associated with them. This topic explores the significance of the cycles at different scales and their relevance to wider geography.

Paper 2: Human Geography

  • Globalisation: Globalisation and global interdependence continue to accelerate, resulting in changing opportunities for businesses and people. Inequalities are caused within and between countries as shifts in patterns of wealth occur. Cultural impacts on the identity of communities increase as flows of ideas, people and goods take place.
  • Regenerating Places: Local places vary economically and socially with change driven by local, national and global processes. These processes include movements of people, capital and information and resources, making some places economically dynamic while other places appear to be marginalised. Urban and rural regeneration programmes involving a range of players involve both place making (regeneration) and place marketing (rebranding). Fieldwork will be carried out in this topic.
  • Superpowers: the pattern and dominance of superpowers has changed over time. Superpowers and emerging superpowers have a very significant impact on the global economy and politics. These powers are frequently contested.
  • Health, Human Rights and Intervention: this topic challenges traditional definitions of development that are largely based on economic measures. This topic explores variations in the norms and laws of both national and global institutions that impact on decisions made at all scales from local to global.

Paper 3
This is a synoptic paper which is based on a geographical issue within a place-based context that links to the themes of the course.

Students complete an individual investigation which must include data collected in the field. The individual investigation must be based on a question or issue defined and developed by the student relating to any part of the specification content.


Paper 1: Physical geography

  • Written exam: 2 hour 15 minutes
  • 105 marks à 30% of A-Level
  • Question types: multiple-choice, short answer, levels of response and extended prose

Paper 2: Human Geography

  • Written exam: 2 hour 15 minutes
  • 105 marks à 30% of A-Level
  • Question types: multiple-choice, short answer, levels of response and extended prose

Paper 3: Synoptic paper 

  • Written exam: 2 hours and 15 minutes
  • 70 marks à 20% of A-level

Coursework (NEA)

  • 3,000 – 4,000 words
  • 60 marks à 20% of A-level


As part of their studies, students are required to conduct four days of fieldwork (both human and physical). These take place in the following locations: Stratford, Walton-on-the-Naze, Bath and Bournemouth.

This year we took the year 12s on an overseas trip to Sorrento, Italy. Here we visited Mount Vesuvius, Pompeii and the Amalfi coast as well as greatly enjoying the local cuisine. We hope to run an overseas trip every 2 years, giving all Geography A-Level students the opportunity to go on one.