Why should I study this subject?

Geology, the science of the earth, is an interesting and challenging subject that helps understand the physical world in which we live. The subject covers a range of geological processes that operate at, or below, the earth’s surface.

The Year 12 course covers three main areas of Geology and is ideal for a one-year course. It is suitable if you are looking for a broad base in science at A-Level and supports subjects such as Geography – the ideas extend beyond GCSE Science and are complementary to A-Level Geography.

What will I study ?

Year 12 Units

GL1: Foundation Geology

  • Matter
  • Energy
  • Time and change

This represents 35% of the total Year 12 Level.

GL2a: Investigative Geology

  • Rocks
  • Minerals
  • Fossils
  • Geological structures
  • Geological map work

This represents 30% of the total Year 12 Level marks.

GL3: Human environment

  • Earthquake hazards
  • Volcanic hazards
  • Tsunami hazards
  • Mass movement hazards
  • Waste disposal hazards
  • Groundwater hazards
  • Mining hazards
  • Engineering geology

This represents 35% of the total Year 12 Level marks.

Year 13 Units

GL4: Interpreting the geological record

  • Rock forming processes
  • Rock deformation
  • Past life and past climates
  • Geological map interpretation

This represents 35% of the total Year 13 Level.

GL5: Geological Themes

  • Geology of the lithosphere
  • Geological evolution of Britain

This represents 35% of the total Year 13 Level.

GL6: Geological Investigation

Two pieces of coursework need to be submitted.

This represents 30% of the total Year 13 Level.

What are the entry requirements?

Please check this subject table for full details of our A Level entry requirements.

What skills do I need?

  • Observational skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Essay Writing skills
  • Map work skills
  • Organisational skills
  • Enquiry skills Literacy skills
  • Independent learning skills
  • Basic mathematical skills


How will I be taught?

A variety of methods are employed – discussions, videos, practical work, individual research, ICT, problem-solving exercises, and fieldwork.

How will I be assessed?

GL1: One hour written exam.

GL2a: One hour and 30 minutes practical exam.

GL3: One hour 15 minutes essay paper.

What will the course prepare me for?

These are diverse and provide opportunities for work indoors or out in the field. They include;

  • Engineering,
  • Environmental work,
  • Geochemistry,
  • Geophysics,
  • Government
  • Agencies,
  • Mining,
  • Quarrying,
  • Natural Hazard
  • Agencies
  • Oil Industry,
  • Scientific Research,
  • Water Industry (hydrogeology)
  • Waste Disposal.

How much private study should I expect to do?

As an approximate guideline Year 12 subjects require three to four hours of independent study each; Year 13 subjects four to five hours each.

What materials will I need to purchase?

Departmental textbook.

What is the exam board?


This subject is for you if
you like to understand how the earth works and you are hardworking, can problem solve, as well as write essays.

This subject is not for you if
you dislike science, are not very good at map work or writing essays.