Bolton School Sixth Form Boys


What will I study?

All our A Level students follow the modern modular AQA Specification which highlights the changes which are happening and have occurred in both the physical and human environments which surround us.  Topical material and issues are used to develop an understanding of how and why different environments - ranging in scale from the local to the global - change through time.  Evidence of change is first analysed using a variety of sources - maps, photographs, satellite imagery, questionnaires, surveys, census data - the patterns of change can then be described, explained and their implications and effects assessed.  In trying to understand some of these changes, it is necessary to analyse the activities, motives and values of people and how they interact with their environment.  In  many respects therefore, the syllabus develops many of the ideas taught at GCSE.

At AS, all candidates will study core human and physical geography.  In each area of study candidates will consider the values and attitudes of decision makers, consider their own values and attitudes to the issues being studied and support their learning of ideas through the study of specific case studies.  Candidates will also develop a variety of geographical skills, which will broaden and deepen existing knowledge and be employed with a greater degree of independence - indeed the course begins with a 4-day fieldcourse in Dorset in late September.

Unit 1 will cover:

  • rivers, floods and management
  • coastal environments (physical option)
  • global population change
  • health issues (human option)


Unit 2 will cover:

  • basic, investigative, ICT, graphical, cartographical and statistical skills
  • research skills and the assessment of AS fieldwork


At A2, candidates will continue to study a combination of human and physical geography.  Candidates are required to undertake an issue evaluation exercise to extend the content within the specialised context of issue evaluation.


Unit 3 will cover three or four of the following topics:

  • plate tectonics and associated hazards
  • weather and climate and associated hazards
  • challenges facing ecosystems
  • world cities - evolution or revolution?
  • development and globalisation
  • contemporary conflicts and challenges


Unit 4(B) will cover:

  • an evaluation of a geographical issue selected by AQA


How will I be assessed?


Unit 1: Physical and Human Geography

Externally assessed: written paper, 2 hours - June AS

Weighting: 70% of total AS/35% of total A Level marks

Structured short and extended questions.


Unit 2: Applied Geography

Externally assessed: written paper, 2 hours - January AS

Weighting: 30% of total AS/15% of total A Level marks

Structured skills and generic research/fieldwork questions



Unit 3: Contemporary Geographical Issues

Externally assessed: written paper, 2 hours - June A2

Weighting: 30% of A2 Level marks

Structured short and extended questions and an essay


Unit 4B: Geographical Issue Evaluation

Externally assessed: written paper, 1 hour 30 minutes - January A2

Weighting: 20% of A2 Level marks

Structured short and extended questions based on an Advance Information Booklet

Desirable Requirements

A good GCSE grade is always the desirable foundation for study in theUpperSchool.  However, a natural interest in the subject and a strong determination to succeed by working hard are equally important requirements.

Where will it lead?

The choice of Geography at Advanced level and beyond closes few doors.  Its use of precise, scientific techniques and processes, in addition to those of the social sciences, can equip its students with a higher level of perception, an ability to interpret, present and analyse a wide range of data, as well as make decisions in a variety of contexts - skills which are always in demand and enhance career prospects.

A significantly high proportion of our students subsequently read Geography or a related degree course at university and, ultimately, can follow more vocational careers such as town and regional planning, cartography, transport, surveying, teaching and environmental management.  In addition, geography graduates have been particularly successful in gaining entry into non-vocational careers in business, finance, civil service,  administration and management because, according to a recent careers research study, "a geography graduate is not over-specialised and can, therefore, be more flexible and easier to train to suit the specific needs of the company."