Sixth-form a-level-geography

IB: Group 3 – Individuals & Society

Geography: Higher & Standard Level

What could this course lead to?

Geography can be studied as a Science, Arts or Humanities discipline at degree level, either as a pure subject or in conjunction with other subjects, or as specific sub-areas of study such as Urban Studies, Geomorphology, or any number of other specific geographical areas of study. Please see courses offered in relevant university prospectuses, in Careers/Higher Study section of School Library.

GCSEs required

Although the previous study of GCSE Geography or equivalent grade C is desirable, it is not essential. It is possible to move straight from Key Stage Three Geography into the IB Geography course because it provides a comprehensive foundation in physical, human and environmental geography and in the skills for individual investigative work.

What will I be studying?

The International Baccaleaurate Geography course parallels much of the current OCR A AS/A Level syllabus, following similar themes. It is taught at both Higher (HL) and Standard (SL) Level, and covers the core theme of patterns and change (populations in transition; disparities in wealth and development; patterns in environmental quality and sustainability; patterns in resource consumption); with seven optional themes (three at HL/two at SL: freshwater – issues and conflicts; oceans and their coastal margins; extreme environments; hazards and disasters – risk assessment and response; leisure, sport and tourism; the geography of food and health; urban environment); and an extension paper for HL on global interactions. Geography offers a key role in forming a bridge between the scientific, analytical view of the world and the role of human activity, which would be of great benefit to those considering future involvement in environmental issues.

Are there any trips or extracurricular activities linked to this course?

Geography is the study of people and their environment; as such there will be a number of field trips to investigate the physical and human geography in our locality, e.g the ecosystems of the Eden Project, Cornwall; Bristol urban environment; physical and economic potential of the Somerset coastline; and Geographical Association lectures at various locations.

What benefits does this subject have for university entrance?

Due to the balance of subjects studied, students undertaking such a course will be well equipped to move into an extensive range of higher education courses in addition to Geography. While many courses may not make use of specific geographical knowledge, the Department feels that students would greatly benefit from the wide range of skills and techniques acquired through the study of Geography at IB level. These include communication, intellectual, practical, social and study skills; the collection of information and data through field enquiry; the presentation, analysis and interpretation of information; and the application and interpretation of statistical techniques. Geography contains all the skills that employers consider to be most important. Geographical information is now used in many businesses and Geographical Information Systems are an exciting interface between geography and information and communications technology.

What skills or learning approach do I need for this subject?

Geography develops a number of transferabe skills. Students learn to analyse sources, construct arguments and debate issues. They develop their skills in extended writing and learn to carry out independent research. The study skills and investigative enquiry approach of geography greatly assists students in 
preparing them for the Theory of Knowledge (TOK) and Extended Essay elements of the IB.

How does the Higher Level differ to the Standard Level?

Higher Level Students study for an additional exam paper which is essay based.

How is it examined?

HL consists of three externally assessed examinations (80% of the total mark) and one internally assessed written assignment (20%) of 2,500 words maximum.

  • 1.5 hours (25%) based on a core theme
  • 2 hours (35%), based on optional themes
  • 1 hour (20%), one essay question

SL consists of two externally assessed examinations (75% of the total mark) and the internally assessed written assignment (20%) of 2,500 words maximum

  • 1.5 hrs (40%) based on a core theme
  • 1 hr 20 minutes (35%) based on optional themes

Will I need to do coursework?

The written assignment is based on fieldwork, leading to one written report based on a question and using information collection and analysis with evaluation.

Examination method

Two written examinations for Standard Level. Three written examinations for Higher Level

Independent day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 3 - 18 in Somerset

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