Look at you, you’ve almost got your GCSE Geography certificate! Well done, you’re so close. As exam season gets closer, you’re likely to be feeling a bit overwhelmed by how many exams you have to sit in such a short period of time. How are you supposed to regurgitate all that information so quickly? Worry not, help is here! Here is all you need to know about preparing for your Edexcel GCSE Geography exams and how we can help you.
You may have heard that there are many different examination boards – some of your friends might be taking the very same GCSEs but with different exams. The secret is that although there are so many exam boards, the content across them is fairly standardised. After all, a volcano is still a volcano whether you take AQA or Edexcel Geography! However, there are some small differences in the ways that exam boards assess your knowledge and knowing them can go a long way in helping you prepare. The Edexcel exam board particularly emphasises multiple-choice questions as a means of assessment. You should definitely take this into account when writing your revision plan – try and incorporate as many practice quizzes as you can!
About the Board
What does Edexcel stand for and where does it come from? Edexcel is actually a play on the beginnings of two words: education and excellence. In 2003 it became the first privately owned examination board in the UK after an agreement between the Edexcel Foundation and Pearson Plc. Both of the Edexcel GCSE Geography courses are linear subjects, so you will only acquire your grade if you take all of your examinations and pass which happens at the end of the course (not throughout it).
How long will the course take to complete?
Edexcel GCSE Geography usually takes two academic years to complete. However, some have managed to complete the course in one year and others have been known to start studying early and take three years.
Is any prior knowledge required?
Edexcel specifies that you are not required to have any prior qualifications in geography in order to take this course. However, they also do state that the subject course has been designed to follow the National Curriculum and that it does assume that basic geographical knowledge has been developed throughout earlier stages which prepares all students for the GCSE.
What will I study?
Edexcel is unique in that it offers two different types of GCSE Geography courses. There is GCSE Geography A which takes a thematic approach and breaks down concepts into human and physical geography (like most other exam boards). But there is also GCSE Geography B which takes an issues-based approach with specification content arranged around the UK vs global geography. It is up to you or your educational institution what version of Edexcel GCSE Geography you take. The subjects you will study do differ.
If you took GCSE Geography A then for physical geography you will study the changing landscapes of the UK; weather hazards and climate change; and ecosystems, biodiversity and management. Meanwhile, for human geography, you will study changing cities; global development; and, resource management. Within resource management, you’ll choose between two sub-topics: energy resource management or water resource management.
However, if you took GCSE Geography B then for global topics you will study hazardous Earth; development dynamics; and, challenges of an urbanising world. Whereas for UK topics you will cover the UK’s evolving physical landscape (inc. subtopics: coastal change and conflict, and, river processes and pressures); the UK’s evolving human landscape (including a case study on UK cities); and, geographical investigations (including one human and one physical fieldwork investigation).
What is the examination process like?
The examinations themselves will also depend on whether you elected to take GCSE Geography A or B. If you took GCSE Geography A, then you will take three exams in total. The first two (The Physical Environment and The Human Environment) will be worth 37.5% each and last 1 hour and 30 minutes each. The third assessment (Geographical Investigations: Fieldwork and UK Challenges) will also last 1 hour and 30 minutes but be worth 25% of your final grade.
If you elected to take GCSE Geography B, the structure of your exams will remain largely similar, but the content will of course differ. Similarly, the first two papers (Global Geographical Issues and UK Geographical Issues) will be worth 37.5% each and last 1 hour and 30 minutes each. The second assessment will also cover one physical and one human fieldwork investigation that you are required to complete. Meanwhile, the third assessment (People and Environment Issues – Making Geographical Decisions) will be worth 25% of your GCSE and also last 1 hour and 30 minutes.
To achieve the best possible results, you should revise for your GCSE Geography exams a few hours each day – ideally two to three. Make sure to balance your revision sessions with a healthy lifestyle. Both eating well (vegetables and fruits) and exercising regularly (get out into fresh air!) will help keep you fresh and motivated during the exam season. Meanwhile, if you want to keep revision sessions dynamic and most effective then start engaging with your content actively. Don’t just read for 2-3 hours per day. Instead, take notes, write up some flashcards and draw some mind maps. Not only will you have more fun doing this, but your brain is also more likely to retain the information that way.
As your revision progresses, start working on your time management skills by doing timed practice papers. You can usually use past exam papers for this exercise – it’ll also be useful as you’ll learn about how GCSE Geography exam questions are phrased. At GCSE Geography, we are devoted to helping you succeed in your exams. To do so we’ve got plenty of engaging resources waiting for you, so let’s begin!