This NEW course will demonstrate how to guide your best students to achieve Grades A/A* in future AQA A-Level Geography examinations. Using feedback from 2018’s first year of examinations on the new specifications, the course will outline what is expected of high ability students and explore ways to build your teaching practice around this. Looking closely at AQA feedback and assessments, Sally will explore how to embed key learning and skills into your students and ensure that they are ready for the specific challenges of the AQA examinations, allowing students to take the exams with confidence.


  • Focused on identifying the demands of Grades A/A* and providing new approaches to help teachers prepare students effectively
  • Improve student performance on the 20 mark question
  • Mark schemes will be analysed to identify and clarify the requirements of the highest levels
  • Sample answers at Grades A/A* will be analysed and marked
  • Practical solutions to inspiring high quality fieldwork and the demands of the NEA
COURSE DATE London | Monday 22 November 2021

London | Monday 17 January 2022

  • Heads of Department (Geography)
  • Lead Geography Teachers
  • Teachers leading trips for the first time
  • NQT’s
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance
  • Two course restaurant lunch
  • Refreshments throughout the day
  • Guaranteed high quality venues


10.00 – 11.00am
Grades A/A*: what do they involve?

  • Structure of the AQA A-Level Geography specification and exams and what they require of the best students
  • Feedback from the 2018 papers and what this tells us about the standards which top students are expected to meet
  • Analysis of mark schemes – what are the examiners looking for?
  • Key attributes of Grade A/A* students in the classroom
  • Avoiding potential hazards: what can cost a top student their A grade?

11.00 – 11.20am: Discussion

11.20 – 12.10pm
Teaching Physical Geography to ensure A/A* results

  • Different approaches to discussing and writing about Physical Geography
  • Tackling the toughest topics: developing the skills needed to unpick complex Physical Geography
  • New approaches to the Carbon and Water cycles to boost your A* students
  • Teaching case studies on the hardest topics – what helps differentiate the best answers from the rest

12.10 – 12.50pm
Every mark matters – how to be successful across the different styles of questions

  • Understanding the Assessment Objectives to guarantee high quality exam performance
  • High Achieving candidates can needlessly miss marks – how to effectively deal with multiple choice and point marked answers
  • Revision tips to ensure top level students succeed in the exams
  • Preparation techniques and practical methods to ensure Grades A/A* students don’t slip at the last moment

12.50 – 1.50pm: Lunch

1.50 – 2.40pm
Analysing Human Geography: where is an A/A* achieved or lost?

  • Deep examination of context – using who?/what?/when?/why? questions to push students
  • Stretching top students with your choice of Places and Environments
  • Approaches for the Human Geography paper: preparing for question styles
  • How to successfully navigate resource based questions: building this into your teaching to ensure students are fully prepared
  • Effective structuring of answers to 6 and 9 mark questions – how detailed is detailed?

2.40 – 3.20pm
Dealing with extended writing: the 20 mark question

  • The importance of structure – planning and writing effective extended responses
  • Developing a sense of Place – how to make the best use of case studies and examples
  • Dealing with tricky command words and concepts
  • Making synoptic links throughout the specification
  • Moving on from GCSE approaches – how to make able students into independent readers and thinkers
  • How to mark confidently and provide meaningful feedback

3.20 – 3.45pm
The challenge of the NEA and independent critical thinking

  • How to inspire high quality fieldwork investigations
  • The importance of building independent learners
  • Thinking critically and developing robust analysis skills
  • Confident standardisation to ensure accuracy – analyse examples of A/A* work to see what gets students into the top mark bands

Plenary and depart

James Foster

James has been Head of Geography at Xaverian Sixth Form, Manchester College for over nine years. He has been a senior examiner since 2010 and worked on both the 2008 and the 2016 specifications, specifically the human and physical papers and AS Physical paper. He has been a Chartered Geographer since 2012 in recognition of his work and has written extensively for both Edexcel and GeoFactfsheet. Additionally, he is a reviewer on Routesjounal.org, an online journal which aims to showcase the best abilities of A-level and undergraduate students.