General CCEA GCSE Geography Information

On Monday 4th April I attended a GCSE Geography support event for the CCEA Geography specification at William Parker School Daventry. This is the first of three posts on my notes from the event.

General Information

  • The speficication has six geogrpahical themes which are set out as content and learning outcomes; there is a list of key geographical terms in each section, these freequently turn up as ‘state the meaning questions’; typically 6 out of 100 marks on the exam will be on knowledge of key terms. In the foundation tier some of the questions will be match the word and the definition.
  • The controlled assessment titles will be set by the exam board and released  in June two years before submission.


  • The complete GCSE is split into three units (Unit 1 – Physical Geography, Unit 2 – Human Geography, and Unit 3 – Controlled Assessment); Unit 1 and Unit 2 are examined.
  • Students must sit all units before the qualification is ‘cashed-in’, students must be entered for the cash-in separately.
  • The qualification is offered at two tiers; Higher (grades A-D), and Foundation (grades C-G).
  • Students can re-sit at a different tier to the initial exam (however only one re-sit is allowed per unit).
  • 40% of the assessment must be taken in the final examination series in which the qualification is certified. The problem comes when a student wants to re-sit after having achieved a grade; they would have to re-sit two units to meet the terminal rule.
  • The final grade will include the assessment results, which satisfy the terminal requirement; even if it is not the candidate’s best grade.
  • The above requirements are important as they are different to the effect of unitisation at A ‘Level.
  • Uniform Mark Scales (UMS) are used to aggregate marks from individual assessment units. Raw to UMS conversion is different each examination based to keep the standard the same.
  • The number of uniform marks for each unit depends on its weighting; Units 1 and 2; 150 uniform marks, Unit 3; 100 uniform marks. The total GCSE is worth 400 uniform marks.
  • In foundation tier the top mark is 104, equivalent to a top Grade C.

Uniform Mark Boundaries

  • The Uniform Mark boundaries will stay the same for each examination session.










  • There is a variety of information on the CCEA website to support the teaching of the specification.
  • The support includes: specimen assessment materials, scheme of work, controlled assessment guidance, past examination papers.
  • It was also mentioned that some of the materials on the website to support the legacy specification may be of use, particularly past examination papers.


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