Specifications that use this resource:

Summary of changes: spec B

Our new GCSE Geography specification has been designed to appeal to all students and to encourage them to engage with the world around them. The specification is based upon the Department for Education GCSE Geography subject content. The qualification is designed to be more challenging, with a greater emphasis on applying mathematical and statistical skills in a geography context.

This resource highlights the changes in content from the existing GCSE Geography B.

Learning

The subject content, as set out by the Department for Education, has a greater emphasis on study of the geography of the UK. The required content was presented in four distinctive areas

  • Place: processes and relationships
  • Physical geography: processes and change
  • People and environment: processes and interactions
  • Human geography: processes and change

In order to make the transition from GCSE B to the new specification as transparent as possible the following table highlights the new content, content you currently teach and any existing content that is no longer required to be taught.

Unit 1: Managing places in the 21st century

The coastal environment

Now found in 3.1 Living with the physical environment

What's new

What's gone

What's the same and where to find in the new specification

What's changed

  • The inclusion of wave types and characteristics
  • The division of coastal processes into weathering processes, mass movement, erosion, transportation and deposition
  • An example of a section of coastline in the UK to identify its major landforms of erosion and deposition
  • The addition of dune regeneration to soft engineering strategies
  • The inclusion of coastal realignment and monitoring under managed retreat
  • Cost and benefits of various management strategies
  • Case study of a coastal management scheme in the UK
  • The section relating to the key question − why are coastal areas a valuable economic and environmental resource?
  • The understanding that not all areas can be/need to be protected
  • Describing the concept of 'hard' and 'soft' engineering
  • The removal of tetrapods and cliff drainage from hard engineering strategies
  • The removal of beach recycling and replenishing from soft engineering strategies
  • Exploring the reasons why different methods of coastal management may be appropriate in different locations
  • Investigating one example of the use of managed retreat
  • Exploring the idea of an Integrated Coastal Zone Management

3.1.2.2 Coastal landscapes in the UK

  • Coastal processes
  • Characteristics and formation of landforms resulting from erosion
  • Characteristics and formation of landforms resulting from deposition
  • Costs and benefits of hard and soft engineering management strategies
  • A case study of a coastal management scheme
Coastal landscapes are now included in The physical landscapes in the UK section along with glacial and river landscapes. Students are required to study two of these three UK distinctive landscapes

The urban environment

Now found in 3.2 Challenges in the human environment

What's new

What's gone

What's the same and where to find in the new specification

What's changed

  • World population growth
  • Factors affecting the rate of urbanisation and the emergence of mega-cities
  • Case study of a major city in a lower income country (LIC) or one in a newly emerging economy (NEE) to illustrate the location and importance of the city; the causes of growth; opportunities and challenges
  • An example of how urban planning is improving the quality of life for the urban poor
  • Overview of the distribution of population and the major cities in the UK
  • Case study of a major city in the UK to illustrate the location and importance of the city; the impacts of migration both national and international; opportunities and challenges
  • Features of sustainable urban living
  • An example of how urban transport strategies are being used to reduce traffic congestion in one urban area
  • Investigating the threats from environmental hazards in urban areas
  • Using examples to describe and explain the different methods being used to manage people movement and traffic in urban areas
  • Use of data (census) to identify socio-economic variations in one urban area
  • Use of examples to illustrate sustainable urban living

3.2.1 Section A: Urban issues and challenges

  • Global pattern of urban change
  • Urban trends in different parts of the world
  • (There are a number of topics within the two case studies used in this section where existing spec B content can be applied)
  • A case study of a major city in an LIC or NEE
    • causes of growth: natural increase and migration
    • opportunities and challenges created by urban growth
    • an example of how urban planning is improving the quality of life for the urban poor
Much of the content of the urban environment is now delivered in The urban issues and challenges section through the use of case studies of two contrasting major cities
  
  • A case study of a major city in the UK
    • challenges – inequalities in housing, education and health
    • an example of an urban regeneration project
  • Features of sustainable living – water and energy conservation, waste recycling and creating green space
  • An example of how urban transport strategies are being used to reduce traffic congestion in one urban area

Unit 2: Hostile world and investigating the shrinking world

Living with natural hazards

Now found in 3.1 Living with the physical environment

What's new

What's gone

What's the same and where to find in the new specification

What's changed

  • General understanding of the natural hazard risk
  • Case study of two countries to show how the effects of and responses to tectonic hazards vary between countries of contrasting levels of wealth
  • The structure and features of a tropical storm
  • Case study of a tropical storm to illustrate the primary and secondary effects and the immediate and long term responses
  • The inclusion of key ideas relating to extreme weather in the UK and climate change
  • Using examples to describe the primary and secondary damage caused by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions
  • Describing the primary and secondary effects of tropical storms
  • Explaining how the effects might vary among countries with different levels of economic development
  • The section on wildfires

3.1.1.2 Tectonic hazards

  • Global distribution of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and their relationship to plate boundaries
  • The physical processes taking place at different types of plate boundaries (constructive, destructive and conservative) that leads to earthquakes and volcanic activity
  • A case study of two countries of contrasting levels of wealth to show the primary and secondary effects of, and the immediate and long term responses to, a tectonic hazard
  • Reasons why people continue to live in areas at risk from tectonic hazards
  • How monitoring, prediction, protection and planning can reduce the risks from a tectonic hazard
Volcanoes and earthquakes, and tropical storms are now part of The challenge of natural hazards section. The case study element is now much reduced and in the case of earthquakes and volcanoes the emphasis is now on variations in the effects of and responses to tectonic hazards between countries of contrasting levels of wealth rather than being focused on specific volcanic eruptions or earthquake events
  

3.1.1.3 Tropical storms

  • Global distribution of tropical storms
  • Conditions leading to the formation of a tropical storm
  • How climate change might affect the distribution, frequency and intensity of tropical storms
  • A case study of a tropical storm – primary and secondary effects
  • How monitoring, predicting protection and planning can reduce the effects of tropical storms

The challenge of extreme environments

Now found in 3.1 Living with the physical environment

What's new

What's gone

What's the same and where to find in the new specification

What's changed

  • An understanding of ecosystems and with the use of a small scale UK ecosystem show how different factors interrelate to create distinctive habitats
  • General features of global atmospheric circulation
  • Distribution of large scale global ecosystems and an overview of their characteristics
  • Characteristics of hot deserts and how vegetation adapts to the physical conditions
  • A case study of a hot desert to illustrate development opportunities and challenges of developing hot desert environments
  • Characteristics of tropical rainforests and how vegetation adapts to the physical conditions
  • A case study of a tropical rainforest to illustrate the causes of deforestation and the impacts and issues resulting from deforestation
  • Characteristics of a cold environment and how vegetation adapts to the physical conditions
  • A case study of a cold environment to illustrate development opportunities and challenges of developing cold environments
  • The value of cold environments as wilderness areas
  • Explaining the factors affecting temperature and rainfall in hot desert areas and how this affects vegetation
  • Explaining the factors affecting temperature and rainfall in tropical rainforest areas and how this affects vegetation
  • Explaining the factors affecting temperature and rainfall in polar and tundra environments and how this affects vegetation
  • Explaining the effects of global warming on cold environments
  • Studying an example of an area where glaciers are retreating or ice shelves are shrinking
  • Describing the ways in which people have exploited cold environments – include Antarctica and oil in Alaska
  • The future of these fragile cold environments

3.1.3.1 Ecosystems

The distribution of large scale global ecosystems and an overview of their characteristics

3.1.3.2 Tropical rainforests

  • Characteristics of tropical rainforest
  • How vegetation adapts to the physical conditions
  • A case study of a tropical rainforest – deforestation (causes, impacts and issues)
  • Why tropical rainforest environments should be protected
  • Strategies used to manage rainforest sustainably

3.1.3.3 Hot deserts

  • Characteristics of hot deserts
  • How vegetation adapts to the physical conditions
  • Causes of desertification
  • Strategies used to reduce the risk of desertification
The title of the new section is Living world and students are required to study two large scale natural global ecosystems – tropical rainforest and either hot deserts or cold environments
  

3.1.3.4 Cold environments (polar and tundra)

  • Characteristics of cold environments
  • How vegetation adapts to the physical conditions
  • A case study of a cold environment – development opportunities
  • Why cold environments should be protected
  • Strategies used to balance the needs of economic development and conservation

Investigating the globalisation of industry

Now found in 3.2 Challenges in the human environment

What's new

What's gone

What's the same and where to find in the new specification

What's changed

  • Different ways of classifying parts of the world according to their level of economic development and quality of life
  • Different economic and social measures of development
  • Limitations of economic and social measures
  • Factors influencing the rate and level of development
  • Consequences of uneven development
  • The impacts of rapid population growth on quality of life
  • Managing disparities in development and quality of life
  • An example of how managing population change in one country helps reduce the development gap
  • An example of how growth of tourism in an LIC or NEE helps to reduce the development gap
  • Case study of one LIC or NEE to illustrate how rapid economic development leads to significant social and cultural change
  • How changes in the economy of the UK have affected employment patterns and regional growth
The majority of content from this section has been replaced, revised or updated. The strands of content that do remain now form part of the changing economic world section

3.2.2 Section B: The changing economic world

  • Different ways of classifying parts of the world according to their level of economic development and quality of life
  • Different economic and social measures of development
  • Managing disparities in development and quality of life – fairtrade
  • An example of how the growth of tourism in an LIC or NEE helps reduce the development gap
  • (There are a number of topics within the case study used in this section where existing Spec B content can be applied)
  • A case study of one LIC or NEE
    • changing industrial structure
    • role of TNCs – advantages and disadvantages
    • how economic development is improving the quality of life for the population
TNCs, fairtrade, growth of science and research parks, impacts of changing industrial structure and the sustainable management of industrial development are now delivered either through the use of a case study of one LIC or NEE or are included in the economic futures in the UK theme
  
  • Economic futures in the UK – growth of science and research parks
  • An example of how modern industrial development can be more environmentally sustainable

Investigating global tourism

What's new

What's gone

What's the same and where to find in the new specification

What's changed

The new specification makes little reference to tourismThe majority of content from this section has been replaced. The strands of content that do remain can be identified in other sections 
  • Case study of a glaciated upland area in the UK used for tourism found in The physical landscapes in the UK section provides an opportunity to study tourism in one tourist honeypot and explore the conflicts that exist between different tourist activities and local communities
  • An example of how the growth of tourism in an LIC or NEE helps to reduce the development gap is found in The changing economic world section
  • The study of the range of challenges caused by the development of tourism is provided for in the ecosystems theme where reference is made to the development opportunities tourism provides in relation to hot deserts and cold environments
   
  • How ecotourism helps to manage the impacts of tourism in a sustainable way can be investigated in the ecosystem theme in relation to rainforests where ecotourism is listed as one of the sustainable management strategies

Unit 3: Local investigation including fieldwork and geographical issue investigation

What's new

What's gone

What's the same and where to find in the new specification

What's changed

  • Issue evaluation exercise
  • Students need to undertake two geographical enquiries, each of which must include the use of primary data, collected as part of a fieldwork exercise. The two enquiries must be in contrasting environments and show an understanding of both physical and human geography. In at least one of the enquiries students are expected to show an understanding about the interaction between physical and human geography
Controlled assessment marked by the centre and externally moderated

3.3 Geographical applications

3.3.1 Section A: Issue evaluation

  • This section will be equivalent to the existing DME (Decision making exercise) in that the assessment will consist of a series of questions related to a contemporary geographical issue, leading to a more extended piece of work which will involve a decision with some justification

3.3.2 Section B: Fieldwork

Students need to undertake two geographical enquiries, each of which must include the use of primary data, collected as part of a fieldwork exercise
Students' understanding of the enquiry process will be assessed in the written examination by setting questions, representing 15% of the total mark, on the use of fieldwork materials from unfamiliar contexts and questions based on the students' individual enquiry work

Specifications that use this resource: