Geography L.C.

Guide to the Leaving Certificate Geography Syllabus as offered by the CBS


(Ordinary and Higher level)
The New Leaving Certificate Geography Syllabus was examined for the first time in 2006.


Key Points

  • The syllabus for Ordinary Level is presented in the form of Core and Elective units (see below).
  • The syllabus for Higher Level is presented in the form of Core, Elective and Optional units (see below).
  • The ‘Field – Study’ question is now called the ‘Geographical Investigation’. Under the new syllabus this ‘Geographical Investigation’ is now compulsory and must be handed in prior to the written exam. The date for the completion of the Geographical Investigation is usually the last week in April of Sixth Year.
  • There will be separate examinations for Higher Level and for Ordinary Level students .
  • Both exams will be both of 2  hours and fifty minutes duration
  • Higher Level students will answer 5 questions; Ordinary Level students will answer 4 (see below).


Syllabus Structure

The revised Geography syllabus has core, elective and optional (higher level only) units.

There are only 3 Core units which all must study:

  • Core Unit One – Patterns and Processes in the Physical Environment.
  • Core Unit Two – Regional Geography.
  • Core Unit Three – Geographical Investigation and Skills.

There are 2 Elective Units and all students are required to study one of these:

  • Elective Unit 4 – Patterns and Processes in Economic Activities; or
  • Elective Unit 5 – Patterns and Processes in the Human Environment.       (this is the one chosen in the CBS)

There are also 4 Optional Units which are for Higher Level Students only.

Students must select one of these options:

  • Optional Unit 6 – Global Interdependence ; or
  • Optional Unit 7 – Geoecology (This is the option studied in the CBS); or
  • Optional Unit 8 – Culture and Identity ; or
  • Optional Unit 9 – The Atmosphere/ Ocean Environment


Core Units

Core Unit One: Patterns and Processes in the Physical Environment
This unit aims to help students understand and interpret the physical landscape. The key topics are:

  • The Tectonic Cycle (e.g. plate tectonics, the geography of volcanoes and earthquakes).
  • The Rock Cycle (e.g. igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks; physical and chemical weathering; mass wasting).
  • Landform Development (e.g. landform associated with particular rock types; fluvial, coastal and glacial processes and their associated landforms).
  • Human Interaction (e.g. how human activities can impact on the operation of surface processes).

Core Unit Two: Regional Geography
This unit examines regions at a range of scales and is not based on the study of a list of countries. The key topics are:

  • The Concept of a Region e.g., climatic, cultural, socio-economic regions.
  • The Dynamics of Regions – students should study two contrasting Irish Regions (e.g.,the Greater  Dublin area and the Border Midlands West (BMW) two contrasting European Regions (e.g.the Paris Basin and the Mezzogiorno) one continental or sub continental region (e.g., South East Asia).
  • The Complexity of Regions – e.g., E.U. development and expansion; urban growth and the expansion of city regions.

Core Unit Three: Geographical Investigation and Skills

This is the field trip question and is pre submitted before the exam.

  • It is expected that students will gain proficiency in a number of geographical skills which will be examined in the context of the terminal written exam and the Geographical Investigation. These skills include Interpretation of Map and Aerial Photo, Interpretation of Figures, graphs and tables. Interpretation of census material and population statistics.
  • The Geographical Investigation is the key area of study in Core Unit 3 and is compulsory for all students. In the CBS we usually choose a coastal field trip.. It is expected that the main work of the investigation will take place in the first term of 6th Year. The investigation will be written up in a standardised reporting booklet provided by the State Examinations Commission.
  • The investigation must be completed by the 2nd term of 6th Year.
Here are photos of our 6th yrs 2012/2013 on their field trip. 

  

 

  

 

 

 

  • Elective Units

One of the two Elective Units must be taken by both Ordinary and Higher Level students. In the CBS we study Elective Unit 5: Patterns and Processes in the Human Environment

Elective Unit 5: Patterns and Processes in the Human Environment
This unit examines population and settlement patterns over space and time. Other topics include the impact of human migration on both donor and receiver regions and a comprehensive analysis of settlement patterns. The unit has two sub-headings:

  • The Dynamics of Population
  • The Dynamics of Settlement
  • Optional Units

N.B. Optional Units are studied by Higher Level students only.

Only one of the four optional units should be studied. In the CBS we study optional unit 7 Geoecology. This is examined in essay format.

Optional unit 7: Geoecology
This unit examines the relationship between soils, climate, plants and animals. This relationship is examined at a global level. The unit also focuses on how humans have exchanged existing natural environments. This unit has close links with Core Unit 1. Topics include:

  • Development of soils
  • Distinctive biomes created by the pattern of world climates


The Structure of the Examination Paper

  • There will be separate exam papers for Higher Level and for Ordinary Level students.
  • Each paper will be of 2 hours and 50 minutes duration.
  • The examination will have an assessment weighting of 80%.
  • It will consist of questions requiring short answers and multi-part questions requiring more detailed answers.
  • Longer essay-style discursive answers will be required only in the optional units (Higher Level only).
  • The Geographical Investigation will have an assessment weighting of 20%. It will be assessed separately.

 

 

 

Higher Level Structure
Time: 2  HOURS And 50 Minutes
Marks Weighting
Core12 short answer questions
(answer 10)3 Questions (complete one)
combining short answers and multipart questions on Core Unit 1 and skills

3 Questions (complete one)
combining short answers and multipart questions on Core Unit 2 and skills

80
80
80
20%
20%
20%
Electives3 questions (complete one) combining short answers and multipart questions on Elective 4 or 5 and skills (students answer on only one elective) 80 20%
Optional Units3 essay type questions on each optional unit (students will answer on one option only) 80 20%
Total 400 100%
Investigation Report 100
Total 500

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ordinary Level Structure
Time: 2 HOURS an 50 minutes

Marks Weighting
Core12 short answer questions
(answer 10)3 Questions (complete one)
combining short answers and multipart questions on Core Unit 1 and skills

3 Questions (complete one)
combining short answers and multipart questions on Core Unit 2 and skills

100
100
100
25%
25%
25%
Electives 100 25%
Total 400 100%
Investigation Report 100
Total 500

 

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