Well done, you’re so close to getting your GCSE in Geography! Exams are just around the corner and you may be starting to feel a little overwhelmed by the prospect of sitting all of those assessments and under timed conditions at that. The good news is that there is absolutely no need to panic. We’re here to help you get right on track to ace all of your exams. First and foremost you have to create a revision plan. Once you have a thought out and detailed revision plan then all that’s left to do is follow it diligently. To support you in your preparations for your GCSEs here’s all you have to know about them and how we can be of help.
The content of GCSE exams is usually fairly standardised across examination boards in order to give everyone a level playing field and to make it straightforward for all students to move on to A-Levels afterward. However, it’s important to keep an eye out on small differences between the ways that exam boards assess students as this could be a huge help during the revision season. The AQA exam board is unique in that it focuses more on theory than others. This means that you have to have your definitions and understanding of geographical processes prepared for your exams as you’re likely to be tested on them directly (rather than through context-based questions).
About the Board
To get a sense of where the exam board comes from, the Assessment and Qualification Alliance (AQA) board was created in 2000 following a whole series of mergers of exam boards. Today it is one of the largest exam boards in the UK. In the past, parliament has debated whether GCSE courses ought to be graded as modular or linear subjects. As of today, AQA GCSE Geography is a linear subject, which means that the only way for you to obtain your qualification is to sit all of your exams at the end of the course and pass.
How long will the course take to complete?
The most common amount of time that people take to complete their GCSE Geography course is two years. However, it is also possible to do so in one year, or alternatively to start early and take three years to complete the course.
Is any prior knowledge required?
There is no prior knowledge required by the AQA examination board in order to take the GCSE Geography course. All you need to have is ideally an interest in the subject!
What will I study?
As you may have already seen, geography is a subject that is usually split into two strands: physical geography (which studies natural events and processes) and human geography (which studies manmade events and processes). In the physical geography component of your course, you will learn about the challenge of natural hazards; the living world; and, physical landscapes in the UK. Meanwhile, in the human geography component of your GCSE course, you will cover urban issues and challenges; the changing economic world; and, the challenge of resource management. In addition to learning about physical and human geography, you will also learn about geographical applications and acquire geographical skills.
What is the examination process like?
In order to acquire your GCSE Geography certificate, you will be examined through three assessments. The first is an exam (Living with the Physical Environment) which will last 1 hour and 30 minutes and count for 35% of your GCSE grade. The second is another exam (Challenges in the Human Environment) which also take 1 hour and 30 minutes and count for 35% of your final grade. The third and final paper (Geographical Applications) will assess your evaluation of issues and fieldwork (with a pre-released resource booklet). It will last 1 hour and 15 minutes and count for 30% of your GCSE.
It is advisable for you to revise a few hours a day for your GCSE Geography examinations. Two to three hours each day would be optimal as that would give you enough time to get into each topic in detail without risking burnout. Another good way to optimise your time is to stay away from distractions. Leave the TV and social media for the end of your revision sessions as a reward for your hard work.
Don’t forget – revising is not just about reading your textbook. Geography is a very practical subject with plenty of definitions and processes for you to memorise for your exams. A good way to do that is to spend time making mind maps and flashcards. Not only will those be great tools for revision but the process of making them alone will help you retain information. As time goes on it’s good to start doing timed practice papers by using past examination papers. Once you start doing this, you’ll learn about what to expect on exam day and you’ll also learn how to manage your time and cover all that ground before the clock strikes. All of us at GCSE Geography are rooting for you to succeed. To help you we have plenty of engaging resources like quizzes, mind maps, and past papers waiting. So don’t wait around – let’s begin!