A-Level Geography

AS and A-Level geography will enable you to be inspired by your geographical understanding, to engage critically with real world issues and places, and to apply your geographical knowledge, theory and skills to the world around you.  You will grow as an independent thinker and as an informed and engaged citizen, who understands the role and importance of geography as one of the key disciplines relevant to understanding the world’s changing peoples, places and environments. 

We will be following the OCR Geography AS and A-Level specifications. There are four “core themes” to be studied over the course of the A-Level.

  • Landscape systems (AS and A-Level)
    • What are their characteristics? Where do certain landforms and landscapes occur and why? How are landforms inter-related? How do landscapes evolve over time? How does human activity cause changes to these landscapes?
  • Changing places (AS and A-Level)
    • What factors contribute to the character of places? How do we perceive, connect with, and represent place? How is this different for different groups of people? How do external forces create change?
  • Earth’s life support systems: Water and Carbon (A-Level only)
    • Where is it stored? What drives changes and transfers in them? What processes are involved? How are they distributed? How are the two cycles linked?
  • Global connections (A-Level only)
    • How do global systems shape relationships between individuals, states and environments?  What are the patterns of international trade and what issues are associated with it? What can be done to tackle the problems of inequalities around the world? What are the challenges to sovereignty and territorial integrity?

The remainder of the AS and A-Level courses are drawn from “non-core” content; at St. Olave's we will be studying:

Hazardous Earth (A-Level Only)

  • What is the evidence for theories of continental drift and plate tectonics? What hazards do volcanic eruptions and seismic activity present? What are the impacts on tectonically active locations? How can people learn to cope with living in tectonically active locations?
 Disease Dilemmas (AS and A-Level)
  • What are the global patterns of disease and can factors be identified that determine these? Is there a link between disease and levels of development? How effectively are communicable and non-communicable diseases being dealt with? How far can diseases be predicted and mitigated against? Can diseases ever be fully eradicated?

Geographical skills and investigation remain an important part of both the AS and A-Level courses.  This will include both quantitative and qualitative methods and skills used throughout the course.  The residential fieldtrip will help to prepare students for this as they will identify appropriate questions, collect data, analysing and interpreting it based on wider theory.  They will also critically question data sources, analytical methodologies, data presentation techniques and identify the misuse of data.

We aim to ensure students gain enjoyment, satisfaction and a sense of achievement as they develop their knowledge and understanding of the subject.  Consequently, we will choose the optional topics that best reflects our students’ and teachers’ abilities and interests.


  • The AS level course will be assessed by written examinations, including questions relating to geographical skills and investigation. 
  • The A-Level course will be assessed by written examinations and an Independent Geographical Investigation (of approximately 3-4000 words) worth 20% of the final grade.  Students will be given guidance with this, however it should be noted that this is an independent piece of work which can be related to any area of the specification which interests the student and for which they are able to collect appropriate and meaningful data.

Students will confirm whether they will be sitting AS or continuing to A-Level in the first half of Year 12. Students wishing to study this subject need to have attained at least a Grade 7 in this subject at GCSE.


  • Two day fieldtrip in the Autumn Term of Year 12
  • A voluntary residential fieldtrip to Iceland or Sicily exploring plate tectonics and physical processes
  • Geographical Association lectures on a range of relevant topics
  • School members of the Royal Geographical Society – benefits include online lectures & excellent resources for wider reading
  • St. Olave’s Geographical Society, a lunchtime student group giving interesting presentations on a variety of geographical themes

Associated Careers

  • Accountant
  • Agronomist
  • Cartographer
  • Climate Change Analyst
  • Climatologist
  • Diplomat
  • Environmental Engineer
  • Environmental Management/Consultants
  • Environmental Lawyer
  • Financial Executive
  • Geochemist
  • Geospatial analyst
  • GIS Specialist
  • Hydrologist
  • International aid workers
  • Landscape architect
  • Lawyer
  • Meteorologist
  • Nature Conservation Officer
  • Surveyor
  • Tour Operator
  • Transport Logistics Manager
  • Transportation Planner
  • Urban Planner / Community Development
  • Urban regeneration
  • Water conservation officer / Water quality scientist
  • Writer / Researcher