Geography GCSE

Geography GCSE

Discover more about our awe-inspiring world, from rainforest destruction and extreme weather, to the impact of man-made developments such as Eko Atlantic. Closer to home, a fieldwork trip to Snowdonia National Park will develop your data collection and presentations skills – all part of the diverse geographer’s skill-set.

Why St Mary's

Supported by dedicated teachers, you will study a fascinating selection of topics, 50% focused on the UK and 50% on global issues.

You will develop a broad range of skills, from data presentations skills to interpretation and analysis skills through the exploration of topical news and articles. Covering both human and physical geography topics, from rivers, coasts, ecosystems and extreme weather to populations, urbanisation and development issues - you will unlock a deeper understanding of our world and the impact we have on it.

Our enriched learning opportunities can include:

  • 4-day compulsory residential field trip to Snowdonia National Park
  • Lunchtime teacher surgeries

Field Trip photo gallery


Course overview

This course includes three components:

Unit 1: Living in the UK today

Study the dynamic and diverse geography of the UK, exploring the distinctive physical and human environments, the processes which drive them and the challenges they create.

Unit 2: The world around us

Explore the complexities of the planet and its interconnections. Examine the changing, dynamic nature of physical and human environments, the role of decision-makers and the sustainable nature and management of these environments.

Unit 3: Geographical skills and fieldwork assessment

Geographical skills are integrated into all aspects of the subject. You will learn these skills in Components 1 and 2, as you begin to ‘think geographically’ and apply skills in a range of contexts.

Geographical skills:

  • Cartographic
  • Graphical
  • Numerical
  • Statistical


Fieldwork opportunities for both physical and human topics will allow you to collect primary data, and learn appropriate techniques of data presentation, interpretation and to draw relevant geographical conclusions.

You will also evaluate your fieldwork techniques, the strengths and weaknesses of the presentation and analytical techniques used and the validity of your findings. The skills and techniques overlap significantly with those taught in GCSE Mathematics, providing an opportunity to reinforce your skills and understand real-life applications.


Examination papers (60%)

Unit 1: Living in the UK today – 1 hour written paper (30%)
Unit 2: The World around us – 1 hour written paper (30%)

Geographical skills (40%)

Unit 3: Geographical skills and fieldwork assessment – 1 hour and 30 minutes (40%)

Students answer all questions in Unit 1 and Unit 2. Examination questions include short answers, structured answers and those requiring longer continuous prose, usually with reference to a case study. Marks for spelling, punctuation and grammar are included in all examination units.


At a glance
  • Syllabus: OCR
  • Living in the UK today (30% of total mark)
  • The world around us (30% of total mark)
  • Geographical skills assessment (40% of total mark)
  • Fieldwork trip to Snowdonia
You will enjoy this course if you ...
  • Are hard-working and enthusiastic
  • Have a keen interest in the environment
  • Are engaged in topical issues
  • Enjoy developing practical fieldwork skills

What our teachers say...

“Geography is so topical and always changing. The planet is ours to look after and more than ever we need to understand how it works in order to use it better and live sustainably.

We also need to make our development goals global ... Earth is a shared resource!”

“Where we come from, what we do, what we eat, how we move about and how we shape our future are all directly the province of the geographer. More than ever we need the geographer’s skill and foresight to help us learn about the planet – how we use it and how we abuse it.” Michael Palin

Michael Palin, famous world-traveller and actor neatly captures the vital role geographers will play in coming years, as we rise to the challenge of shaping a better, more sustainable planet. The world needs to change and with geography, you can become a global ambassador to the future of our planet!

GCSE Geography provides a strong foundation for A Level study. Many of our A Level Geography students go on to study this popular subject at degree level, at leading UK universities. Often they combine their studies with a particular area of interest, such as international studies or environmental studies.

Geography excels in developing a broad, transferable skill-set – ideally suited to the future direction of working life. Employers value the strong communication, ICT, research and team work skills that geographers bring to the work place.

Geography degree students report some of the highest levels of satisfaction with their course (Royal Geography Society). Their employment rates out-perform many other subjects including politics, physics and history (Institute of Fiscal Studies) and Geography graduates earn more than graduates in other subjects such as biosciences, technology and history (Institute of Fiscal Studies).

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Beyond St Mary's

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