Changes for 2022

Because of the ongoing impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, there are some changes to how GCSE Geography will be assessed in 2022.

These changes are for 2022 only.

What you need to know

  • Optionality introduced for Paper 2
  • Fieldwork not required
  • Familiar fieldwork questions removed from Paper 3
  • No advance information on exams
  • There are no changes to Paper 1: Living with the physical environment


Optionality will be introduced into 8035/2 Paper 2: Challenges in the human environment.

  • Students must answer all questions in Section A: Urban issues,
  • They will then choose to answer either Section B: The changing economic world or Section C: The challenge of resource management.
  • The total time allocation for Paper 2 will be reduced from 1 hour 30 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes.
  • A total of 5 marks will be introduced to Section C. These marks could appear anywhere in Section C.
  • In Section B, the 9-mark question will be replaced with a 6-mark question. To keep the total of 30 marks, 3 marks will be introduced elsewhere in Section B.
  • The total marks for Paper 2 will be reduced from 88 marks to 63 marks (a removal of 25 marks).
  • Sections B and C will now have equal weighting worth 30 marks each.
  • The highest tariff question in both Section B and C will be 6 marks.
  • There are 3 spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) marks that will appear in the 9-mark question at the end of Section A.

If students choose to answer Section C the normal rubric will apply, where students must answer question 3 and one of questions 4, 5 or 6 (food, water or energy).

Fieldwork not required

Students do not need to complete fieldwork for 2022.

This means you do not need to submit a centre declaration form to say that students have been given the opportunity to undertake fieldwork.

Familiar fieldwork questions removed

Because fieldwork is not required, we’ll remove questions about students’ own fieldwork experience (known as ‘familiar fieldwork’) from the exam.

This means we’ll be making some changes to Paper 3: Geographical applications.

  • Question 5, Section B (on familiar fieldwork) will be removed.
  • There are 3 SPaG marks in question 5 which will be moved to one of the 6-mark questions within Section A (issue evaluation) so that students can still access these marks
  • The total number of marks available for the 8035/3 paper will reduce from 76 to 56 marks (a removal of 20 marks).
  • The total time allocation for the 8035/3 paper will reduce from 1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour.

Questions on ‘unfamiliar fieldwork’ (theoretical understanding of the fieldwork enquiry process) will remain.

Total marks and sample papers

  • The total marks for the overall qualification will be reduced from 252 to 207.
  • Although the total number of marks in Paper 2 and Paper 3 have reduced, these marks will be scaled up to maintain the usual weightings for each exam (Paper 1 and 2 - 35%, Paper 3 - 30%).
  • We’ve published two sample papers to show how the structure of Paper 2 and Paper 3 will work in 2022. These can be found in assessment resources on our website. These are amended versions of the 2018 exam papers and the purpose is to show the structure of the papers only. The Paper 2 sample contains no new questions, but will show where new questions will be added or changed for the June 2022 series.

The Assessment Objective weightings for 2022 will now differ slightly to those outlined in the specification:

Weightings for AO1 in the usual series – 15%
Weightings for AO1 in Summer 2022* – 15%

Weightings for AO2 in the usual series – 25%
Weightings for AO2 in Summer 2022* – 27%

Weightings for AO3 in the usual series – 35%
Weightings for AO3 in Summer 2022* – 31%

Weightings for AO4 in the usual series – 25%
Weightings for AO4 in Summer 2022* – 27%

*these percentages are based on the reduced total mark for the 2022 exam series.

Pre-release materials

  • 8035/3/PM pre-release materials will be available on Centre Services on 22 March 2022.
  • Hard copies will be sent as normal and will arrive in March 2022 at schools that have made entries.

No advance information

There will be no advance information on what exams will cover for GCSE Geography.

Help and support

For further help and support delivering GCSE Geography for assessment in 2022, please contact us.