Cambridge IGCSE Subject Briefs: Geography

Timothy Hoffmann

Cambridge IGCSE Subject Briefs: Geography. This subject brief covers the Geography syllabus.

This Cambridge IGCSE curriculum aims to help students develop a ‘sense of place’ through looking at the world around them at multiple lenses of analysis, and from local to global scale. The key aim of the course is to help students develop an understanding of relative location, the factors affecting different physical and human environments, the interaction between these environments and their populations, and the impact of these processes on opportunities and constraints provided by the environments. Students are encouraged to develop an appreciation and concern for the environment and the earth, including its people, places, landscapes, processes and phenomena.

Topics covered:

The syllabus covers 3 key themes:

Theme Overview
Population and Settlement Migration; Urbanisation; Settlements
The Natural Environment Earthquakes and Volcanoes; Rivers; Coasts; Weather & Climate
Economic Development Development; Food, Industry & Tourism; Energy, Water and Environmental Risks


For more information on each topic area, check out the Cambridge syllabus for your relevant examination year.

In addition to this, the Geography course covers a geographical skills module (students learn map skills, interpretation of data and graphs) and a data presentation and research focused strand of learning which feeds into the coursework or alternative to coursework (see below).

Assessment and Grading:


Depending on the curriculum your school chooses to follow you will sit three of the following four exam papers; papers 1 and 2 and either papers 3 or 4.  The main structure of each exam is as follows below:

Paper 1: Geographical Themes
Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Number of marks 100
Percentage of total grade 45%
Type of questions Resource based written responses


Paper 2: Geographical Skills
Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Number of marks 60
Percentage of total grade 27.5%
Type of questions Questions based on a number of texts and mapwork


Paper 3: Coursework
Time Completed within the 2 years, normally at the end of the first year
Number of marks 60
Percentage of total grade 27.5%
Type of questions Assignment of up to 2000 words


Paper 4: Alternative to Coursework
Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Number of marks 60
Percentage of total grade 27.5
Type of questions 2 questions, written tasks