Scheme of assessment
Find past papers and mark schemes, and specimen papers for new courses, on our website at aqa.org.uk/pastpapers
This specification is designed to be taken over two years.
This is a linear qualification. In order to achieve the award, students must complete all assessments at the end of the course and in the same series.
GCSE exams and certification for this specification are available for the first time in May/June 2018 and then every May/June for the life of the specification.
All materials are available in English only.
Our GCSE exams in Geography include questions that allow students to demonstrate their ability to:
- draw together their knowledge, understanding and skills from across the full course of study
- provide extended responses.
Aims and learning outcomes
Courses based on this specification should encourage students to:
- develop and extend their knowledge of locations, places, environments and processes, and of different scales including global; and of social, political and cultural contexts (know geographical material)
- gain understanding of the interactions between people and environments, change in places and processes over space and time, and the inter-relationship between geographical phenomena at different scales and in different contexts (think like a geographer)
- develop and extend their competence in a range of skills including those used in fieldwork, in using maps and GIS and in researching secondary evidence, including digital sources; and develop their competence in applying sound enquiry and investigative approaches to questions and hypotheses (study like a geographer)
- apply geographical knowledge, understanding, skills and approaches appropriately and creatively to real world contexts, including fieldwork, and to contemporary situations and issues; and develop well-evidenced arguments drawing on their geographical knowledge and understanding (applying geography).
Assessment objectives (AOs) are set by Ofqual and are the same across all GCSE Geography specifications and all exam boards.
The exams will measure how students have achieved the following assessment objectives.
- AO1: Demonstrate knowledge of locations, places, processes, environments and different scales (15%).
- AO2: Demonstrate geographical understanding of: concepts and how they are used in relation to places, environments and processes; the interrelationships between places, environments and processes (25%).
- AO3: Apply knowledge and understanding to interpret, analyse and evaluate geographical information and issues to make judgements (35%, including 10% applied to fieldwork context(s)).
- AO4: Select, adapt and use a variety of skills and techniques to investigate questions and issues and communicate findings (25%, including 5% used to respond to fieldwork data and context(s)).
Assessment objective weightings for GCSE Geography
|Assessment objectives (AOs)||Component weightings (approx %)||Overall weighting (approx %)|
|Paper 1||Paper 2||Paper 3|
|Overall weighting of components||35||35||30||100|
The marks awarded on the papers will be scaled to meet the weighting of the components. Students’ final marks will be calculated by adding together the scaled marks for each component. Grade boundaries will be set using this total scaled mark. The scaling and total scaled marks are shown in the table below.
|Component||Maximum raw mark||Scaling factor||Maximum scaled mark|
|Paper 1: Living with the physical environment||88||x1||88|
|Paper 2: Challenges in the human environment||88||x1||88|
|Paper 3: Geographical applications||76||x1||76|
|Total scaled mark:||252|
Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG)
Spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) will be assessed against the following criteria:
|Level||Performance descriptor||Marks awarded|
|No marks awarded||