GCSE Geography

GCSE Geography


Geography is the most popular optional subject at GCSE level.  There is clear progression from what pupils study at Key Stage 3 and the topics that are covered as part of the CCEA GCSE Specification.  As such, pupils should feel confident that they have already acquired some of the GCSE content prior to commencing Geography in Year 11.  This puts them in a strong position to do well.  GCSE Geography is a requirement for pupils to continue with this subject at ‘A’ level. 


GCSE Geography is completed in a modular format at FoyleCollege, and the structure is shown below: 


  • Human Geography – 37.5% of GCSE (exam taken in Year 11)
  • Physical Geography – 37.5% of GCSE (exam taken in Year 12)
  • Controlled Assessment – 25% of GCSE (completed in Year 12)



The advantage of this structure is that you can opt to repeat the Human Geography module, should you be unsatisfied with your mark attained at the end of Year 11.  The modular structure also means that there is less to revise as half the course is examined at the end of Year 11 and the other half at the end of Year 12. 


A more detailed insight into what you will study is shown in the tables below:




Human Geography – Year 11



  • International Migration
  • Factors affecting birth and death rates
  • Shanty towns in LEDC cities
  • Regeneration in MEDC cities
  • Indicators of Development
  • Millennium Development Goals
  • Globalisation
  • The Fair Trade system and its benefits
  • Aid – how it helps and hinders development
  • Carbon footprints
  • Measures to reduce Traffic Congestion
  • Waste management – reduce, reuse, recycle
  • Ecotourism
  • Renewable energy – wind power, solar power, biofuels
  • GIS and Digital mapping






Physical Geography – Year 12



  • River features - waterfalls, meanders, floodplains
  • River flooding – causes, effects and management strategies
  • Coastal features - cliffs, caves, arches, stacks
  • Coastal protection – sea walls, groynes, beach nourishment
  • Weather forecasting
  • Weather systems affecting the British Isles
  • Global Warming and the Greenhouse effect
  • Satellite images
  • Geology
  • Plate tectonics – earthquakes and volcanoes
  • Tsunamis



Through their study of GCSE Geography pupils will become familiar with case studies at a range of scales – local, regional, national.  They will look at examples from their own city, from Northern Irelandand also from across the globe. 


Tasks for Controlled Assessment vary from year to year depending on the options that are provided to us by CCEA.  River and Weather studies are the two that we tend to focus on, with both involving fieldwork.  A significant portion of the Controlled Assessment is completed during class time.     


If you would like further information on GCSE Geography, a copy of the CCEA specification can be downloaded from their website: http://www.ccea.org.uk/geography/