Key Stage 4

KS4 Geography (Year 9-11)

​Students will begin GCSE Geography in Year 9 if selected as an option and study the AQA specification. The specification is linear which means that all exams will be completed at the end of the course in Year 11.

The subject content is split into four units: 3.1 Living with the physical environment, 3.2 Challenges in the human environment, 3.3 Geographical applications and 3.4 Geographical skills.

Students will study the following topics as part of the GCSE.

Paper 1 - Living with the Physical Environment

  • The Challenge of Natural Hazards (Tectonic and Atmospheric Hazards/Climate Change)
  • The Living World (Ecosystems/Tropical Rainforests/Hot Deserts)
  • Physical Landscapes in the UK (Coasts and Rivers)

How it's assessed • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes • 88 marks (including 3 marks for SPaG) • 35% of GCSE

Paper 2 - Challenges in the Human Environment

  • Urban Issues and Challenges
  • The Changing Economic World
  • The Challenge of Resource Management (with a focus on energy)

How it's assessed • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes • 88 marks (including 3 marks for SPaG) • 35% of GCSE


Paper 3 - Geographical Applications

  • Issue Evaluation (Released in March of the year of examinations)
  • Fieldwork (Based on a human and physical setting)

How it's assessed  • Written exam: 1 hour 15 minutes • 76 marks (including 6 marks for SPaG) • 30% of GCSE  • Pre-release resources booklet made available 12 weeks before Paper 3 exam

Geographical skills are assessed throughout the three papers and are taught in lessons across the topics to highlight how transferable they are.

Students will undertake 2 days of compulsory fieldwork across KS4 to prepare them for the paper 3 exam. They currently visit Leeds to study regeneration and York to investigate the effectiveness of flood defences and characteristics of river channels.

Past papers can be found on the AQA website using the following link:


If you require any further information about the KS4 curriculum, please contact Mrs J Goulding (Curriculum Leader: Geography)