Course specification: OCR Spec A Geographical Themes J383

This course develops students’ knowledge and understanding by building on the Key Stage 3 curriculum. Most material is very topical and the news remains a ready source of information. Students work from a range of sources including online computer sources, PowerPoint presentations, maps, books and magazines.

The course has a good balance of physical and human topics, with UK and global examples. Physical topics include rivers, coasts, ecosystems and environmental threats such as extreme weather, whilst human topics include populations, urban environments and development issues. There is a close focus on the UK and case studies are drawn from the UK where possible e.g. large cities, river basins and coastal environments.

The combination of topics and skills provide students with a very good foundation from which to tackle A Level Geography. Geographical skills are taught and students learn to present and interpret material in a variety of ways, including using ICT. Geography is not in itself a difficult subject but students need to be hard-working and enthusiastic.

Examination papers (60%)

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


Wales Field Trip 2016Fieldwork opportunities for both physical and human topics allow students to collect primary data, and learn appropriate techniques of data presentation, interpretation*, and to draw relevant geographical conclusions.

The students also evaluate their fieldwork techniques, the strengths and weaknesses of the presentation and analytical techniques used and the validity of their findings. There is a list of skills and techniques which overlaps significantly with those taught in the new GCSE Mathematics specification, enabling students to reinforce their skills and understand real-life applications.

*Attendance on a 4 day fieldwork course is a compulsory element of the GCSE and questions will be asked in Unit 3 about students fieldwork experiences.

Mandatory trip: Geography Field trip to Wales. Year 10, 4 days. Approximate cost: £280.

View Wales Field Trip photo gallery