GCSE Geography

Year 11 Course Description

The course studies both the physical and human environment. It allows students to evaluate, interpret and respond to data, plus develop their geographical skills. The students will look at issues in the world today as well as landforms and processes.


Course Content

There are 4 units to be studied throughout the GCSE, including a Controlled Assessment.

Unit 1: Geographical Skills and Challenges: This is a compulsory unit that focuses on map and data response skills in section A. Section B looks at contemporary challenges for the planet, including climate change and sustainability.


Unit 2: The Natural Environment: This unit investigates the physical world and also environmental issues related to the physical environment. Compulsory topics include tectonic landscapes and ‘A Watery World’.


Unit 3: The Human Environment: This unit investigates the human world and issues related to people. Compulsory topics include Population and ‘A Tourist’s World’.


Unit 4: Controlled Assessment: This is a compulsory unit that develops student’s investigative skills. Students must undertake a piece of fieldwork, which they will then write up under controlled conditions in class.



There are three written exams and one controlled assessment, which is internally assessed. All exams will be taken at the end of the course. The Controlled Assessment involves undertaking a fieldwork enquiry and then writing that up in class. Two exams are 1 hour and 15 minutes long, Geographical Skills is only 1 hour long and all units are worth equal value (25% each).


Future Opportunities

Geography develops many cross curricular skills that will help you in other subjects at A ’Level. Geography A ‘Level is offered at Holy Family and is a popular course; you would be expected to achieve a B at GCSE to progress onto A ‘Level. Geography is deemed an important subject by many of the top universities in the country and opens up many opportunities, it is classed as a “Facilitating subject” by the Russell Group of universities.


A background in Geography can lead to many exciting job opportunities, both in the U.K. and further afield. This is because the skills taught within Geography are highly

regarded in many career opportunities. Some examples of jobs include:

  • Land use planning and architecture;
  • Field research, e.g. British Antarctica Survey;
  • Outdoor activity centres;
  • Environmental studies;
  • Teaching to name but a few.


Further Information

Geography is an exciting and contemporary subject to undertake at GCSE. It allows students to develop higher level thinking skills, and many of the skills learnt can be transferred to other curricular areas. The GCSE course followed will allow students to develop their understanding of contemporary issues relevant to the world in which we live. Geography works well with Science and Mathematical related subjects as well as other Humanities such as History.

Syllabus: Edexcel A syllabus, which leads to a GCSE award. www.edexcel.com


Year 10

9-1 GCSE Course Information:


Overview of the GCSE Course:

Paper 1: 1 hour 30 minutes The Physical Environment
Overview of the UK changing landscapes Geology and interaction of processes
Coastal Landscapes and processes Physical processes and human activities
River Landscapes and processes Physical processes and human activities
Weather hazards and climate change Changing global and UK climate
Ecosystems, biodiversity and management Distribution and characteristics of ecosystems



Paper 2: 1 hour 30 minutes The Human Environment
Changing Cities Global urban processes and detailed case studies from UK and developing country.
Global Development Causes and consequences of uneven development
Resource Management Global and UK distribution of food, energy and water.


Paper 3: 1 hour 30 minutes Geographical Investigations – Fieldwork and UK Challenges
Geographical Investigations – Fieldwork 2 pieces of fieldwork covering Physical and Human Geography topics.
UK Challenges Use knowledge from Paper 1 and 2 and their skills to investigate a contemporary challenge in UK