Cambridge Pre-U Geography offers opportunities to explore a range of geographical environments, issues, themes and hazards. The course allows for genuine interest in and enjoyment of the subject by building on KS4 courses of study, increasing interest but also avoiding repetition. Cambridge Pre-U Geography emphasises breadth as well as depth of teaching and learning. The syllabus combines a good grounding in physical processes with challenging and contemporary themes in human geography which provide the depth and rigour required for a university degree course. The syllabus encourages the acquisition of specific geographical skills and abilities, in particular the skills of independent research, fieldwork, analysis and effective communication.
Further to this it encourages independent learning, wider reading and understanding of current issues to support the development of well-informed and independent-minded individuals capable of applying their skills to meet the demands of the world as they will find it. The linear assessment structure means that learners are tested at the end of the two-year course. This allows learners to approach the examination in a mature and confident way with time to formulate their viewpoints and develop their knowledge, understanding and skills. Students complete 4 written papers, paper 1 20%, paper 2 20%, paper 3 40% and paper 4 20%.
Students begin by completing content on paper 3 ‘Geographical Issues’, under 2 main themes titled ‘spatial inequality and poverty issues’ and ‘tectonic hazards’. Students then move on to complete two more themes from paper 3 titled ‘hydrological hazards’ and ‘crime issues’. In semester 5 and 6 students have the opportunity to begin studying for paper 1 and 2 on ‘coastal environments’ and ‘energy and mineral resources’. Students will gain key exam skills in answering synoptic essay questions as well as developing critical thinking skills surrounding key geographical issues.
In year 13 students complete work begun in year 12 on paper 1 and paper 2. They then go on to complete paper 4. Paper 4 requires students to complete a research investigation involving fieldwork. This is based on themes which change for each cohort. This is assessed through an exam where students are expected to draw on their fieldwork as well as a series of text books, journals and wider reading. Once this is completed students use the remainder of their time to consolidate previous learning and develop their exam skills with particular focus on synoptic essay questions in paper 3.