Manor Academy

Achievement, Engagement and Enjoyment.

KS4 Geography

Weblink to exam specification


In this subject, students experience, through engaging and topical content, a stimulating blend of traditional and contemporary Geography to suit all abilities. Students study physical and human Geography in discrete, self-contained topic areas that focus on physical processes and factors that produce diverse and dynamic landscapes over time.

Studying this course will give students of all backgrounds the opportunity to develop communication skills, graphical and cartographical skills and technological skills including ICT and GIS. Students will also practice interpersonal skills through debate and discussion.

A heavy emphasis on literacy, numeracy skills and problem-solving skills will help pupils to develop entrepreneurial skills and awareness of career possibilities.

Units studied and a brief description of their content

Students study the following three physical geography topics:

Unit 1: The Physical Environment (Year 10)

Section A: The Challenge of Natural Hazards

This section explores a range of natural hazards such as earthquakes, tropical storms and floods. The causes, effects and responses are discussed using case studies from around the world.

Section B: The Living World

This section observes the climates, adaptations and human uses of a range of ecosystems such as tropical rainforests and hot deserts.

Section C: Physical Landscapes in the UK

Section C examines the processes that contribute towards the formation of coastal and river landforms in the UK.

Unit 2: The Human Environment (Year 11)

Section A: Urban Issues and Challenges

This section is about global patterns of urban change; contrasting urban change in the UK with an urban area in newly emerging economy and issues surrounding urban sustainability.

Section B: The Changing Economic World

This section includes is about human processes and systems and how they change both spatially and temporally. Specific areas of study include the development gap, rapid economic development in Nigeria and the changing UK economy.

Section C: The Challenge of Resource Management

Section C explores spatial and temporal changes at a variety of scales regarding the management of food and energy resources.

Unit 3: Geographical Applications

This section is about identifying, understanding and appreciating the interrelationships between the different aspects of the Units 1 and 2.

Section A: Issue Evaluation

The issue evaluation consists of a critical thinking and problem-solving task based on a current issue.

Section B: Fieldwork

Students will undertake two contrasting enquiries to help develop a deeper understanding of each stage of the enquiry process in a fieldwork context.


Units 1 , 2 and 3 are assessed through end-of-course external examinations which are set and marked by AQA.

  • Unit 1 and Unit 2 examinations are both 90 minutes long.
  • Unit 3 examination is 75 minutes long.
  • The Unit 1 paper is worth 35% of the final GCSE grade.
  • The Unit 2 paper is worth 35% of the final GCSE grade.
  • The Unit 3 paper is worth 30% of the final GCSE grade.

Other useful information

The GCSE in Geography counts as one of the humanities components of the E Bacc qualification and is the best progression route to study geography at A Level.