A-Level Geology

‘The Present is Key to the Past’

 

What does the course aim to do?

  • develop and appreciation of Earth processes to allow the study of the Earth, its structures, its evolution and dynamics.
  • builds an appreciation of the different strands of professional geology such as civil engineering, engineering geology, hydrology as well as links forming links between other scientific disciplines;
  • develops the ability to think in terms of geological timescales;
  • provides an understanding of the importance of Geology to humanity in the interpretation of the history of the Earth and in the use and conservation of resources.
  • builds scientific enquiry skills such as quantitative and qualitative approaches developed from practical work and fieldwork opportunities.
  • develops and appreciation of how society makes decisions on geological issues and how geology contributes to the success of the economy and wider society.

 

What will I be studying?

We follow the educas Geology linear specification which covers five strands within the 2 year programme:

  • geological map applications
  • geology
  • evolution of Britain
  • of the lithosphere

 

 

What topics can I expect to cover?

Mineralogy, and igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary petrology as well as their processes and geological principles form the core rock forming knowledge. Geological structures and tectonics, palaeontology and geological map work and interpretation. Past climate and reconstruction as well as earth materials and resources will be covered. There is a comprehensive geohazards section in which earthquakes and mass movements and engineering solutions will be studied. There is also a new fascinating element of planetary scale geology. All in all a full and action packed course!

What are the Class Work / Fieldwork/Laboratory Work expectations?

You will be taught through a series of practical, theoretical and fieldwork classes, in which you will work on practical skills, have access to a well-resourced set of specimens and geological maps. There is no coursework but you will be accredited with a practical endorsement for twenty different field and lab skills you develop throughout the course and record through the production of a portfolio.

How will I be assessed?

100 % linear course assed by educas in three examinations at the end of Year 13, plus a skills portfolio built over two years for the Practical Endorsement:

Unit 1 – Geological Investigations:

A written paper of 2hrs 15 mins with stimulus response questions and a simplified geological map. 35% of the qualification.

Unit 2 – Geological Principles and Processes:

A written examination 1h 45 min with six stimulus data response questions and extended questions. 30% of the qualification.

Unit 3 Geological Applications:

A written 2 hour examination with two stimulus response short answer questions in section a; a real geological map (BGS Type) in section b consisting of short, structured and extended questions; as well as a section c with a choice of questions on 3 topics, from which short, structured and extended questions will be asked.

Am I suited to this subject?

You should have an interest in Science together with a basic interest in the environment and an awareness of human influence upon it. People often choose to study Geology as it counts as a Science when applying for university and it is a facilitating subject. Geology compliments a programme of science A-levels as well as humanities such as geography. You DO NOT NEED to have studied GEOLOGY at GCSE as you will be taught the A-level in manageable steps from scratch!

Where will it lead in the future?

Geology can be continued to degree level itself or in the form of Geophysics, Geochemistry, Mining, Engineering Geology, and may lead to careers in oil and gas exploration, surveying, contaminated land, hydrology, oceanography, planetary science, museum work, palaeontology, teaching, seismology, laboratory research – and many more. Other past students have used it as a route into Natural Sciences. For non-specialists it may remain an absorbing leisure interest as once you are hooked Geology is hard to put down!

What are my Prospects?

The A-level equips students with highly transferable skills e.g. statistics, team working, problem solving, critical evaluation, report writing and cartographic skills 3D thinking which improve your employability prospects. Prospects remain high among geology graduates, with many finding work within the sector that is often well remunerated. Average pay for graduates starts at £23,000, whereas the average is £39,654 with those with more experience earning in the region of £71,000 (2012 figures). Imperial College London boasted in 2016 that their graduates earn £73,267 after leaving university in the first six months as they entered the oil and nuclear sectors, a figure much higher than the other rival professions.

How will I study?

Instructional lessons are interspersed with practical sessions and group work. The department has its own Study Guides and Textbooks written in-house and digital materials are made available on the departments own website www.geologyrocks.org. Lessons are active and the pace is brisk, there is excellent access to one to one support as class sizes are reasonably small. All A-level lessons are taught by a professionally trained geologist in a newly refurbished room!

What will I need to do myself?

The Geology department has excellent study materials written to support the course along with the website for you to use during your private study. A considerable amount of background reading is required as a supplement to class learning activities and to support your class notes. Throughout the course you are expected to show initiative in making your own field and laboratory observations. Fieldwork and written assignments are integral components for this course.

Why should I come to Canon Slade to study Geology?

The Geology course at Canon Slade is one of the few ‘A’ level courses in the area. Geology is well established and it is taught by an experienced, specialist teacher. Results are consistently ‘outstanding’ and in 2016 the A level pass rate was 100% A* – E and 89% of students gained A* to B grades! Another reason to come and study the subject is that students often find geology becomes their favourite subject and rightly so many go on to study Earth Science related subjects at University! Both day trips and a residential field trip are an important part of the course and are a valuable way to learn practically outside of the classroom costs over the two years for the trips are usually in the region of no more than £200 in total.

Notice for Prospective Students:

Geology is a science discipline and it is highly desirable if students have achieved B grades in either double or triple award science. As there is a numerical element to the assessment and its content has increased significantly for the linear course (first teaching September 2017), therefore maths at a 6 (old grade B) is also highly desirable. However, the course has changed in 2017 to remove some of the longer extended essay writing – a bonus for the scientifically minded!

Additional information from Mr J. L. Foulger

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