Key Stage 5

KS5 Geography (Year 12-13)

 Geography is a subject which is highly valued by universities as an A Level choice and has a high employment success rate following undergraduate study.

“A Level Geography covers both the physical and human environments and the complex interaction of processes that shape our world. There has never been a better or more important time to study A level Geography. Dealing with vital issues such as climate change, migration, environmental degradation, social issues and natural hazards, A level Geography is one of the most relevant subjects to study. There is plenty of room for discussion and extended research, which helps students to become independent learners. Geography equips students with the ability to demonstrate understanding of a range of opinions and be able to illustrate answers with case studies from local, national and international examples.”

Royal Geographical Society

At Sherburn High School, students study the AQA specification and cover the following themes:


Paper 1: Physical Geography

  • Water and Carbon Cycles
  • Coastal Systems and Landscapes
  • Hazards

How it's assessed • Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes • 120 marks • 40% of A-level

Paper 2: Human Geography

  • Global Systems and Global Governance
  • Changing Places
  • Population and the Environment

How it's assessed • Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes • 120 marks • 40% of A-level

Component 3: Non-Examined Assessment

Students complete an individual investigation which must include data collected in the field. The individual investigation must be based on a question or issue defined and developed by the student relating to any part of the specification content. Students complete 4 compulsory days of fieldwork in contrasting human and physical settings to equip them with the necessary skills to complete an independent project on a theme of their choice.


How it's assessed • 3,000–4,000 words • 60 marks • 20% of A-level • marked by teachers • moderated by AQA


The A Level specification is currently taught by two experienced members of the department who are subject specialists. Both teachers cover both human and physical topics to highlight to the students that human and physical themes should not be seen in isolation and in fact there are complexities linking the parts of the discipline together.

Students are encouraged to conduct 5 hours of independent work outside of the classroom for Geography per week. This additional learning could be structured homework tasks or independent research/wider reading to promote depth of understanding of what has been covered within the classroom.

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)