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Geography (from Greek γεωγραφία - geografia) is the study of the Earth and its lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes (276-194 B.C.). Four historical traditions in geographical research are the spatial analysis of natural and human phenomena (geography as a study of distribution), area studies (places and regions), study of man-land relationship, and research in earth sciences. Nonetheless, modern geography is an all-encompassing discipline that foremost seeks to understand the Earth and all of its human and natural complexities-- not merely where objects are, but how they have changed and come to be. As "the bridge between the human and physical sciences," geography is divided into two main branches - human geography and physical geography.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Leaving Cert Course and Exam

exam centre - leaving cert

Guide to the Revised Leaving Certificate Geography Syllabus (2006)(Ordinary and Higher level)
The New Leaving Certificate Geography Syllabus will be examined for the first time in 2006. The following general guidelines are intended to assist students and teachers. These guidelines will be updated when further information and modifications to the syllabus have been issued from the Department of Education and Science.
According to the Department, a Sample Paper will be available early 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 old syllabus this was optional but in its new format as a ‘Geographical Investigation’ it is now compulsory and must be handed in prior to the written exam. The date for the completion of the Geographical Investigation has yet to be set but it will probably be between January and April of 6th Year.

There will be separate examinations for Higher Level and for Ordinary Level students (same as old syllabus).
The exams will be both of 2 ½ 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.

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 ; 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., Dublin and an area in the West); two contrasting European Regions (e.g., one from Scandinavia and/or one from Western/Central Europe and/or one from the Mediterranean; 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
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. The topics for any particular year will be selected from a list sent to schools. 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. It appears at this stage that the topics acceptable for the investigation will be broadly similar to those acceptable for the Field-Study Option in the old syllabus.

Elective Units
One of the two Elective Units must be taken by both Ordinary and Higher Level students.

Elective Unit 4: Patterns and Processes in Economic Activities. This unit examines patterns in economic development at both national and international levels. The unit has four sub-headings:
Economic Development
The Global Economy
Ireland and the E.U.
The Environmental Impact of Economic Activities

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.

Optional Unit 6: Global Interdependence. This unit looks anew at the traditional view of development studies (i.e. the first-world/ third-world perspective). The unit has close links with Elective Unit 4. Topics include:
How development and underdevelopment are subject to change
The interdependent global economy
Sustainable development
Aid programmes/ the role of NGOs

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

Optional Unit 8: Culture and Identity. This unit examines the often complex relationship between culture, nationality and identity. Topics include:
Culture and identity and their ties to language, religion and nationality
Nationality and the nation state
Identity as a concept which includes nationality, language, race and religion

Optional Unit 9: The atmosphere/ ocean environment. This unit looks at the dynamic relationship between the oceans and atmosphere and how this can influence global climatic patterns. Topic include:
Pressure; temperature; wind; humidity
Geographical distribution of temperature
The hydrological cycle
Distinctive climate environments
The influence of climatic characteristics on economic development

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 ½ hours 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 StructureTime: 2 ½ HOURS

Core12 short answer questions(answer 10) 80 marks, 20%

3 Questions (complete one)combining short answers and multipart questions on Core Unit 1 and skills 80 marks, 20%

3 Questions (complete one)combining short answers and multipart questions on Core Unit 2 and skills 80 marks, 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 marks, 20%

Optional Units
3 essay type questions on each optional unit (students will answer on one option only)
80 marks, 20%

400 marks

Investigation Report


Ordinary Level StructureTime: 2 ½ HOURS

Core12 short answer questions(answer 10) 100 marks, 25%
3 Questions (complete one)combining short answers and multipart questions on Core Unit 1 and skills 100 marks, 25%
3 Questions (complete one)combining short answers and multipart questions on Core Unit 2 and skills 100 marks, 25%

Electives 100 marks, 25%

400 marks

Investigation Report


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