Check out these great notes from Margaret Fitzpatrick, Geography teacher at Midleton CBS and ASTI Geography rep who will be on Drivetime Study Hub tomorrow evening.


Geographical Investigation.

Prior to completing the Leaving Certificate Exam students will have completed their Geographical Investigation which is worth 100 marks. The deadline for completion is the 29th April 2022.

1. An investigation of the impact of geology on shaping the landscape in a local area.

2. Population change in an urban or rural area.

3. Pollution – A local study.

4. A study of local weather patterns.

5. Investigate the impact of land-use on traffic patterns in a local area.

6. Investigate the impact of the geomorphic process(es) of transport and/or deposition on shaping the landscape in a coastal or fluvial or glacial environment.

Students would normally enjoy this section the most and would do very well grade wise, especially if the follow the guidance of teachers. This is where they can apply their practical skills and come to their geographical conclusions.

Structure of the Geographical Investigation.


Aims and Objectives Total - 5 marks

Planning Total – 5 marks

Gathering of Date:

Method One – 18 marks

Method Two – 18 marks Total – 40 marks

Coherence – 4 marks graded (4/2/0)

Results, Conclusions and Evaluation:

Three headings @ 8 marks each. Total – 30 marks

Coherence – 6 marks graded.

Organisation and Presentation of Results

Two different methods of presentations @ 8 marks each

Overall coherence – 4 marks graded Total – 20 marks

Higher Level.

The Geography exam is scheduled for Friday 10th of June at 9:30-12:20 am.

The examination paper in June is comprised of the following:

Part One of the paper consists of Short Answer Questions. There are 12 questions of which candidates will be required to answer 10.

I would strongly recommend that students complete all the short questions. They are worth 80 marks or 25% of the total written examination. Students should allow themselves 35 minutes to complete them.

The short questions are generally based on Physical and Regional Geography. They will examine student's geographical skills for example reading and interpreting information from tables, graphs, diagram's and photographs. Students should be able to recognise landforms for example a meander from a diagram and know the processes that shape them and be able to identify the landforms from an OS map. Students should be able to read grid references, know how to calculate area, distance and be able to work with cross sections. Aerial photographs questions have featured in past papers. Questions like what direction was the photographer facing when he/she took the photo is very common. Students should use the correct notation when locating things on an Aerial photograph e.g. foreground, middle ground and background. Students should be able to read weather maps and be familiar with meteorological terminology e.g. anticyclone, cyclone, high pressure, isobars etc… Lastly students know the different types of regions e.g. cultural, geomorphological, climatic, core or peripheral etc…

I would advise students to start with the short questions. They will help to build their confidence. I would also advise students to practice the short questions from the previous exam papers. It’s the same type of questions that come up every year. Questions especially those from Q9 onwards tend to be very relevant to what is happening today.

Part Two – Structured and Essay Questions – 240 marks.

This section of the paper is broken down into four sections.

Section 1: Physical Geography, Section
2: Regional Geography
Section 3: The Elective Human or Economic
Section 4: The Option – Global Interdependence, Geo-Ecology, Culture and Identity and the Atmosphere and Ocean Environment.

Students have great choices in this section here and it is slightly different from previous years’ papers. Students must attempt a total of three full questions. They can choose a max of two full questions from the same section e.g. Physical Geography and the third question from another section e.g. the Option. This means they can leave out two whole sections of the course. Students could be clever in how they revise. There will be whole chunks of the course they can ignore with the exception of physical geography.

In each of the sections: Physical, Regional, the Elective and the Option there are three questions. Each of the questions in Physical, Regional, the Elective have three parts to them. Whichever question that students they choose they will need to ensure they can complete all parts. They shouldn’t select a question because it appears easy. Each full question is worth 80 marks or 25% of total written examination. The total mark awarded for this part of the exam is 240 marks.

Part A is usually a skills based question. It will be worth 20 marks. It may require a student to draw a sketch map half to scale of the OS Map or the Aerial Photograph, read a table of figures interpret a graph, draw a graph or landform based question. Students should spend 10 mins at this section.

Students should get plenty of practice sketch mapping Ordnance Survey Maps and Aerial Photographs and drawing graphs prior to the examination in June.

Parts C and C are worth 30 marks each. They require an examination of a topic in 15 Significant Relevant Points. Each SRP is worth 2 marks. An SRP is a sentence with a piece of factual information, a geographical term, a process, a statistic that is relevant to the question asked. Labelled diagrams and examples are all worth marks. Students need to watch their time management here. There is no point writing more than 15/16 SRP’s. There is only a max of 30 marks per part. Students should spend 15 mins on each part B and C. The typical length of their written answer for each of these parts would be three quarters of an answer book page. When students are reading the questions they should underline the key words and try and incorporate them into their answer. Remember to answer the question asked.

I am going to focus in particular on physical and regional geography because it is core to all geography students.

My top five tips in Physical Geography.

Students should be write about a fluvial or coastal or glacial landforms of erosion and deposition. Students need to name the landform. Waterfall for fluvial erosion. Delta for fluvial deposition. Give an example, draw a well labelled diagram and explain its formation by referring to the processes. Naming the process 2 +2, Naming the landform 2 marks, Examination 12 SRP’s.

Examine with reference to an example or examples that you have studied how human activities impacted on either river, coastal or mass movement processes. This is a very common question and students should be well prepared for this topic. The question asked may reflect natural evets occurring during the year e.g. coastal erosion and rover flooding. Identify the human activity – 2 marks, identify the impact 2 marks, Name an example – 2 marks, Discussion 12 SRPs.

Students could be asked to describe the formation of a named rock group. This would be a very common question. For example, if it was the Sedimentary rock group, students need to focus on Limestone and Sandstone. Some students will write about rock salt and gypsum. Name locations where each rock can be found. Thereafter they need write 11 SRPs.

A twist which was introduced by the SEC of late is to ask students to write a sedimentary/igneous rock and how it changed into a metamorphic rock. It is important that students know to all rock groups in detail.

Describe how people interact with the rock cycle. The will provide another of possible case studies, for example mining, extracting building materials, oil and gas exploitation and geothermal energy. Students need to keep referring to the key words in the question. 15 SRPs x 2.

The impact of Isostatic change on a fluvial/coastal landscape. There students will need to explain what is meant by 'isostatic change’. If the question is based on fluvial landscape they will need to describe the river landforms, e.g. knickpoints, paired terraces and incised meanders.If the question is on coastal landscape, students will to write about raised cliffs and wave cut platforms and raised beaches. Give examples and draw diagrams.Identify adjustment – 2 marks, Name an Irish example – 2 marks, Explanation 13 x SRPs.

My five top tips for Regional Geography.

In Regional Geography students should be able to sketch map their Irish and European core and peripheral regions as-well as their chosen Continental and Sub Continental Region. Always name the items required in the key. Be able to include an urban area, a drainage feature, a physical feature and a routeway. The secret to doing well in sketch map questions is practice.

Discuss the factors that influence the development of one tertiary economic activity in an Irish Region that you studied. Students need to examine this question under two headings or factors e.g. Physical factors such as relief and Human factors such as population, infrastructure and government incentives. 2 marks +2 marks, Name the tertiary activity e,g. tourism 2 marks. Discussion 12 SRPs.

Account for the development of manufacturing in a European Region (non-Irish) that you studied. The phrases examine the development or describe and example mean the same thing. Even if it doesn’t state always focus on two factors. Physical factors: climate, relief and soils. Human factors: Transport infrastructure, labour force, market, population and government policy. Each factor 6/7 SRPs.

Manufacturing in the Paris Basin. Relief and Drainage and Population.

Account for the development of manufacturing in a Continental/Sub Continental region (not Europe) that you studied.

Examine the causes and impacts of Industrial decline with reference to any region(s) that you studied. Cause identified 2 marks, Impact identified 2 marks, Examination 13 x SRPs

Section 4: The Option – Global Interdependence, Geo-ecology, Culture and Identity and the Atmosphere and the Ocean Environment.

Teachers will have decided to over one option from four, for example Atmosphere and Ocean Environment. It’s important that students choose their question from the covered option. Each option will have three questions and students will need to answer one question. The option question is worth 80 marks and should be written in essay format. Students should aim to write 24 SRPs and give examples where ever possible. It is best to examine three or four aspects of the theme in detail, rather than giving a broad sweep of all facts. Students need to ensure that their answer is well structured and focused. No waffle.There ae 20 marks for overall coherence.

The geography paper can be a long and demanding. Students still need to be conscious of their time management. Based on last year’s observations, the geography paper was the same length as this year and most students were writing until the very end.

If a question is not answered fully in the time allowed leave a space and move on. The geography paper doesn’t normally contain booby traps. It is very straight forward and student friendly. The more familiar students are with the layout of the exam paper, the faster they can move through it on the day. The examiners are screaming to give the students marks where possible. I would encourage students not to be afraid to put pen to paper. To all the Leaving Certificate students the very very best of luck in June.

Timings of each of the sections

Students should spend 10 minutes reading the paper.

Part One – The Short Question Section 35

Part Two – The Structured and Essay Questions

Physical Geography, Regional, The Elective - Human and Economic, The Options – Global Interdependence, Geo Ecology, Culture and Identity and the Atmosphere and Ocean Environment.

Answer three questions in full 10+15+15=40x3=120

Students should spend the remaining 5 minutes reading through their answers, completing unfinished answers and tidying up their paper.

What is an SRP?

An SRP is a comprehensive statement.

A geographical term

A statistic

A couple of relevant sentences making a relevant point

A relevant chart, map or chart

Extra annotation on a diagram referring to information that is not in the body of your answer

Ordinary Level

In Part One, candidates are required to answer short answer questions. In 2022, as in previous years, there are 12 questions of which candidates are required answer 10. 100 marks

In Part Two candidates were usually required to answer three questions, choosing one question from each of the three sections, Physical, Regional, and Electives. In 2022, candidates will be required to answer a total of two questions. Each question must be from a different section. All questions will carry equal marks, 100 marks each.

The total mark allocation for the paper is 300 marks, instead of the usual 400 marks.

50 minute a section.