GCSE Geography
“…mere names of places are not geography... knowing by heart a whole gazetteer full of them would not, in itself, constitute anyone a geographer. Geography has higher aims than this: it seeks to classify the natural and the political world, to compare, to ascend from effects to causes, and, in doing so, to trace out the great laws of nature and to mark their influences upon man. This is 'a description of the world'—that is Geography. In a word Geography is a Science—a thing not of mere names but of argument and reason, of cause and effect.” — William Hughes, (1863) Kings College, London

This quote may well be nearly 150 years old but it still holds true today; Geography is about much more than just maps and where places are located – it’s about knowing how places have changed and come to be. Modern Geography is a wide-ranging subject that seeks to understand the Earth and all of its human and natural complexities.

Why Choose This Subject At GCSE?

‘Studying geography gives students the opportunity to travel the world via the classroom, learning about both natural and social sciences along the way. They will understand how geography impacts everyday life and discover the key opportunities and challenges facing the world. Students will also develop academic and life skills from writing, teamwork and communication to analytical skills’. AQA website.

GCSE Geography will interest students by giving them an insight into future challenges through the study of current issues of local, national and global importance. Pupils will be given useful preparation for understanding the world in which they are going to live and work.

Summary of the Course

Paper 1: Living with the physical environment

  • 1.1 The challenge of natural hazards
  • 1.2 The living world
  • 1.3 Physical landscapes in the UK
  • 4 Geographical skills

Paper 2: Challenges in the human environment

  • 2.1 Urban issues and challenges
  • 2.2 The changing economic world
  • 2.3 The challenge of resource management
  • 4 Geographical skills

 Paper 3: Geographical applications

  • 3.1 Issue evaluation
  • 3.2 Fieldwork
  • 4 Geographical skills


Students will undertake two days of fieldwork in contrasting environments, in order to show an understanding of both physical and human geography. Fieldwork skills will then be tested in unit 3.

geography GCSE

How is This Subject Assessed?

Paper 1: Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes   35% of GCSE

Paper 2: Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes   35% of GCSE

Paper 3: Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes   30% of GCSE

Pre-release resources booklet made available 12 weeks before Paper 3 exam

2017 Specification

AQA GCSE Geography 8035

GCSE Geography

GCSE Rivers fieldwork at Clapham Beck