Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment
CCEA Curriculum Monitoring Programme 2018-19

Frequently Asked Questions

Do students need any prior experience in geography to be able to take this course?

We prefer students taking this specification to have followed a geography course at Key Stage 3. However, it is not a requirement.

What grades can students be awarded for this specification?

We award GCSE qualifications on an eight grade scale from A*–G, with A* being the highest. If students fail to attain a grade G, we report their results as unclassified (U).

Students entered for the Foundation Tier are eligible for grades C–G. Students entered for the Higher Tier are eligible for grades A*–D. We provide an allowed grade E as a ‘safety net’ for Higher Tier students just failing to secure a grade D.

Are there any prohibited combinations for this award?

Students cannot take examinations on this specification in any one series of examinations if they are also entered for other GCSE examinations in Geography.

Are students assessed on the quality of their written communication?

Yes, in GCSE Geography students must demonstrate their quality of written communication. In particular, they must:

  • ensure that text is legible and that spelling, punctuation and grammar are accurate so that meaning is clear;
  • select and use a form and style of writing appropriate to their purpose and to
    complex subject matter; and
  • organise information clearly and coherently, using specialist vocabulary where appropriate.

Examiners assess the quality of students’ written communication in questions or tasks that require extended writing. The examiners assess the quality of written communication in all assessment objectives and examination components in this specification.

What Key Skills can students gain from taking this course?

This specification gives students the chance to develop the following Key Skills:

  • Application of Number;
  • Communication;
  • Improving Own Learning and Performance;
  • Information and Communications Technology;
  • Problem-Solving; and
  • Working with Others.

Is this specification unitised?

Yes, one of the key features of the revised GCSE specification is its unitised structure. This means that students can be prepared for a unit in Year 11, taking the assessment unit in the summer series.

What is the availability of individual assessment units?

Unit 1: Understanding Our Natural World and Unit 2: Living in Our World are both available in summer.  Unit 3: Controlled Assessment is a terminal unit and must be taken at the end of the course.