The scope of Geography is as vast as its subject matter. Your course will cover geographical phenomena. A random sample includes urbanization, migration, soils, ecosystems, air quality and the causes of floods. The list goes on and on. Geography is also about the here and now, the world in which we live. Its study underpins governmental and extra-governmental policy, where we build, where our food comes from and, often, why wars are fought and what they are fought over.
For our purposes here, we will not be focusing in on the specifics of the geographical syllabus, more developing an overview of what examiners are looking for in general terms of the ideal candidate. For that reason, it would be wise to look over the syllabus you will be covering, what your exam board has flagged up as the core requirements/expectations of candidates and past question papers/marking schemes for you particular course. What follows should provide a précis of the demands of most exam boards, but you are always advised to investigate the requirements of your own examining body.
Geography at A/AS Level is about the interaction of humans and their environments. Examples and case studies are vital portals through which the theoretics of geography can be investigated, applied, explicated and presented. Such case studies can be small, such as a single river, or large, such as global migration patterns. It is a paradox of geography that the science is in the concepts; the art is the manner in which those concepts are applied.
Although by no means a complete list, your examiners will in general be looking for the following:
A solid understanding of the ways in which humans interact with their environments.
Thorough understanding of key geographical issues.
An ability to identify issues.
An appreciation of the ways in which geography – and the human interactions with space and place – transforms over time.
A thorough grasp of evidential limitations and the various ways in geographical phenomena can be studied, analysed and results presented.
Sound knowledge of geographical terms, concepts and phenomena.
The ability to apply that knowledge and understanding.
Sophisticated handling of geographical source material.
A sophisticated appreciation of difference in terms of both people, environments and the relationships between these two.
The ability to discuss poignantly geographical issues, develop strong arguments using sophisticated theory and/or relevant case studies.
Solid fieldwork knowledge and practice.
A confident and purposeful approach to exam questions backed up by a solid and clear use of language and data to develop a convincing response.