Specifications that use this resource:

Summary of changes

The new AS and A-level courses differ from the previous specification in that they are:

  • stand-alone qualifications. They can be co-taught, but they’re assessed separately.
  • taken over one or two years.
  • linear. To achieve the award, students must complete all assessments at the end of the course and in the same series.

Study options

Students have the choice of being entered for either AS or A-level qualifications. Some may choose to begin the course by covering the necessary AS topics and being assessed after one year. They will then have the option of continuing with their studies, preparing for A-level assessment the following year. Other students may decide to study all the topics necessary for an A-level qualification and be assessed at A-level only.

Changes

Water and carbon cycles

Now found in: AS option/A-level core.

What’s new

What’s gone

What’s changed

What’s the same

  • Systems in physical geography.
  • Global distribution of water stores.
  • Global distribution and size of major stores of water. Factors driving change in the magnitude of these stores.
  • Changes in the carbon cycle over time.
  • The carbon budget and the impact of the carbon cycle upon land, ocean and atmosphere including global climate.
  • Case study of a tropical rainforest setting to illustrate and analyse key themes in water and carbon cycles.
  • Fluvial processes, landforms and landscapes: erosion, transportation and deposition, types of load.
  • The Hjulstrom curve.
  • Valley profiles.
  • Changing channel.
  • Landforms of fluvial erosion and deposition – Process and impact of rejuvenation.
  • There is a greater emphasis on a systems approach.
  • The study of basin hydrology is less focused on flooding.
  • Flooding is looked at in a case study context.
  • Climate change has become part of this unit and is no longer within a weather and climate unit.
  • River restoration moved to Contemporary urban environments unit.
  • The drainage basin hydrological cycle: the water balance.
  • Factors affecting river discharge: the storm hydrograph.

Hot desert environments and their margins

Now found in: AS option/A-level core.

What’s new

What’s gone

What’s changed

What’s the same

There is a greater emphasis on a systems approach.

The necessity to study the Sahel region.

Desertification can be studied using examples other than the Sahel.

 

Coastal systems and landscapes

Now found in AS and A-level options.

What’s new

What’s gone

What’s changed

What’s the same

  • There is a greater emphasis on a systems approach.
  • Case study/studies of coastal environment(s) at a local scale to illustrate and analyse fundamental coastal processes and challenges represented in their sustainable management.
  • Case study of a coastal environment beyond the United Kingdom (UK) to illustrate and analyse coasts as presenting risks and opportunities for human occupation and development.
  • Case study of coastal flooding.
  • Case studies of two contrasting areas – one where hard engineering has been dominant and one where soft engineering has been dominant.

Coastal management has a greater emphasis on land use and occupation rather than flood or erosion prevention.

Processes and landscape development.

Hazards

Now found in AS and A-level options.

What’s new

What’s gone

What’s changed

What’s the same

  • This is a new discrete topic, rather than being part of other specification areas.
  • The concept of hazard in a geographical context.
  • Case study of a multi-hazardous environment beyond the UK.
  • Case study at a local scale of a specified place in a hazardous setting.
  • Storm hazards has joined tectonic hazards.
  • Plate tectonic theory as a topic on its own.
  • Climate of the British Isles.
  • Climate of tropical regions.
  • Plate tectonic theory is only studied as part of the underlying causes of both volcanic and seismic hazards.
  • Storm hazards has a greater emphasis on the hazardous activity and impacts and less on the link to meteorological processes.
  • The two case studies of recent seismic events/volcanic events/tropical storms are now to be studied as exemplar material rather than in great depth.
  • The nature of vulcanicity and seismicity and their underlying causes:
    • spatial distribution and predictability of hazard events.
    • impacts and human responses as evidenced by a recent volcanic/seismic event.
  • Tropical revolving storms. Their occurrence, their impact, management of the hazard and responses to the event.

Ecosystems under stress

Now found in A-level options.

What’s new

What’s gone

What’s changed

What’s the same

Concept of biodiversity.

  • The requirement to study either savannah grassland or tropical monsoon forest or tropical equatorial rainforest biomes.
  • The management of fragile environments (conservation versus exploitation): two contrasting case studies (within the last 30 years) of recent management schemes in fragile environments.
  • Greater emphasis on a systems approach.
  • Less emphasis on ecosystems in the British Isles, though they are included in local ecosystems.
  • Two unspecified biomes to be studied.
  • Case study of a specified region experiencing ecological change can use previous case studies of the management of fragile environments.
  • Ecosystems and processes.
  • Ecosystem issues on a local scale.

Cold environments

Now found in A-level options.

What’s new

What’s gone

What’s changed

What’s the same

  • Case study of a specified tundra or alpine region. The aim is to illustrate and analyse:
    • how its occupation presents social, economic and environmental challenges
    • how human responses such as adaptation, mitigation and management might contribute to its continuing sustainable development.
  • Case study at a local scale of a specified place in a cold environment. The aim is to illustrate and analyse:
    • how the economic, social and political character of its community reflects the environmental circumstances and its impacts
    • how the community is adjusting to the prospect of climatic and other environmental change.

The future of Antarctica – to consider the contemporary issues of conservation, protection, development and sustainability in a wilderness area.

  • There is a different emphasis on human occupation and exploitation of cold environments.
  • There is less emphasis on exploitation of resources and more on human adaptation and impacts on fragile environments.

Processes and landscapes.

Global systems and global governance

Now found in AS option, A-level core.

What’s new

What’s gone

What’s changed

What’s the same

  • World trade in at least one food commodity and one manufacturing product.
  • The concept of the ‘global commons’ with particular reference to Antarctica.
  • The rights of all to the benefits of the global commons.
  • Acknowledgement that the rights of all people to sustainable development must also acknowledge the need to protect the global commons.
  • The location of Antarctica and the Antarctic Convergence.
  • An outline of the physical geography and climate of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.
  • The concepts of resilience, mitigation and adaptation applied to the protection of threatened environments in Antarctica.
  • The roles of the British Antarctic Survey and the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research in increasing understanding of Antarctica.
  • The role of NGOs in monitoring threats and enhancing protection of Antarctica.
  • Development studies per se.
  • ‘Sustainable tourism, myth or reality’.
  • There is a much looser link with development than in the previous specification.
  • Change in approach to economic groupings. Rather than looking at causes and effects of such groupings this looks at the impact of the groupings on globalisation.
  • Globalisation.
  • Globalisation of services.
  • Transnational corporations (TNCs): characteristics and spatial organisation.
  • Social, economic and environmental impacts of TNCs on their host countries, and their countries of origin.
  • From Cold environments threats to Antarctica arising from:
    • climate change
    • fishing and whaling
    • the search for mineral resources
    • tourism and scientific research.
  • The future of Antarctica.

Changing places

Now found in AS option and A-level core.

This is a new topic.

Contemporary urban environments

Now found in AS and A-level options.

This is a new unit.

What’s new

What’s gone

What’s changed

What’s the same

  • Urban climate.
  • The impact of urban forms and processes on local climate and weather.
  • Urban drainage.
  • The development of sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS).
  • River restoration and conservation in damaged urban catchments with reference to a specific project.
  • Features of sustainable cities.
  • Contemporary opportunities and challenges in developing more sustainable cities.
 
  • Greater emphasis on urban forms and characteristics of mega/world cities.
  • River restoration moved from Rivers unit.
  • Greater emphasis on sustainable urban growth and sustainable cities.
  • River restoration.
  • Contemporary sustainability issues in urban areas.
  • Aspects of settlement studies.

Population and the environment

Now found in A-level options.

What's new

What's gone

What's changed

What's the same

  • Environmental constraints on population growth.
  • The implications of population size and structure for the balance between population and resources:
    • the concepts of 'carrying capacity' of an area and 'ecological footprint'
    • 'the demographic dividend' and their implications.
  • Predictions of global population change.
  • Possible implications for people and environments of the various models of future global population totals.
  • Case study of a country/society experiencing specific patterns of overall population change.
  • The ways natural population change and migration affect the character of rural and urban areas.
  • Settlement case studies.
  • The study of one non-communicable disease.
  • Food and health – malnutrition, periodic famine, obesity.
  • Health matters in a globalising world economy:
    • transnational corporations and pharmaceutical research
    • production and distribution
    • tobacco transnationals.
  • The former units of Population and Health have been replaced by this one unit.
  • There is a greater emphasis of environmental factors in both population change and health.
  • Natural change: birth rates, death rates, infant mortality rates, fertility rates, net replacement rates. Models of natural change (the demographic transition model).
  • Migration change: environmental and socio-economic causes, processes and outcomes in relation to regions of origin and destination.
  • Population structure.
  • The impact of natural and migration change on population structures.
  • Regional variations in health and morbidity and the factors that influence these variations.
  • The global distribution of one infectious disease, its links to local natural environments and its impact on health, well-being and economic development.

Resource security

Now found in A-level options.

What’s new

What’s gone

What’s changed

What’s the same

  • Water security.
  • Alternative energy and water futures.
  • Case study of either water or energy resource issues in a global or specified regional setting.
  • Case study of a specified place to illustrate and analyse how aspects of its physical environment affects the availability and cost of water or energy.

Case studies at national scale of two contrasting approaches to managing energy supply and demand.

There is a greater emphasis of environmental factors in both energy and health eg:

  • the environmental impact of energy production – fuel wood gathering
  • nuclear power and its management.
  • Concept of energy resources.
  • Global patterns of energy production and consumption. Geopolitics of energy.
  • The use of fossil fuels – acid rain, the potential exhaustion of fossil fuels.
  • The potential for sustainable energy supply and consumption.
  • Renewable energy – biomass, solar power, wind energy, wave energy and tidal energy.
  • Appropriate technology for sustainable development.
  • Energy conservation.

Assessment

AS

What’s new

What’s gone

What’s changed

What’s the same

AS will be assessed by two examination papers. These both contain multiple choice questions as well as the more traditional short question and levels of response type questions. They are:

  • Component 1: Physical geography and people and the environment
  • Component 2: Human geography and geography fieldwork investigation.
 
  • Both AS papers are 1 hour 30 minutes instead of 2 hours and 1 hour.
  • In AS paper 1, candidates have choices within both parts of the paper, ie there is no compulsory element. This is true of the Human geography section of paper 2.
  • Examination (GEOG2) that solely assesses skills and fieldwork has been replaced by a shorter assessment which makes up Section B of Component 2.
  • The fieldwork questions in AS GEOG2 are similar to the fieldwork part of the new AS.
  • The types of questions used at both AS and A-level are similar in style to those found on the current AS and A-level papers.

A-level

What’s new

What’s gone

What’s changed

What’s the same

A-level will be assessed by three components. Two of these are examination papers which also introduce multiple choice questions. Assessment consists of:

  • Component 1: Physical geography
  • Component 2: Human geography
  • Component 3: Geographical investigation.

All students complete a compulsory 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.

Issue Evaluation examination based on an Advance Information Booklet.

  • Core physical and core human topics must be answered.
  • Independent investigation must be completed. It is internally marked and externally moderated by AQA.
  • The types of questions used at both AS and A-level are similar in style to those found on the current AS and A-level papers.
  • The 40 mark essay question that currently appears in A-level GEOG3 is now worth 30 marks and appears on both papers 1 and 2 of the new A-level.

Specifications that use this resource: