Geology (OCR)

Geology is the study of the Earth and all of its processes. It will allow you to understand the structure of the planet, the hazards caused by our dynamic planet, the rocks and minerals that compose it, the history of life and how to harness the natural resources it provides. Geology is a field science and there is a strong focus on the application of field skills throughout the course. As a result there is a minimum requirement of four days fieldwork to be carried out to help develop the skills and techniques common in a geological setting.

The course is designed to assume no prior background geological knowledge and develops on concepts and ideas from GCSE Science, making it appealing to those with an interest in the Sciences or Physical Geography. Geology has many transferrable skills and has good links with A Level Biology, Chemistry, Physics and aspects of Geography. Historically many students that have taken Geology at A Level have gone on to either study it further as part of a Geology or Geoscience degree, or chosen to study degrees in the Sciences or Engineering.

geology a level

This is a unique opportunity to study a truly fascinating subject as there are very few centres that can offer to run the course.

A Level

The course is composed of 7 modules:

Module 1 – Development of practical skills in Geology

Module 2 – Foundations in Geology

Module 3 – Global tectonics

Module 4 – Interpreting the past

Module 5 – Petrology and economic geology

Module 6 – Geohazards

Module 7 – Basin analysis


All papers cover content from modules 1-7:

  • Paper 1: Fundamentals of Geology, 2 hours 15 minutes, 41% of A Level
  • Paper 2: Scientific literacy in Geology, 2 hours 15 minutes, 37% of A Level
  • Paper 3: Practical skills in Geology, 1 hour 30 minutes, 22% of A Level

Practical endorsement: non-exam assessment that is reported separately to the A Level grade, as either pass or fail. It consists of 12 practical activity groups that are completed during the course in line with taught content.


As Geology is a field science it is important to get experience of the techniques used in the field. The course requires a minimum of 4 days field experience as the practical skills used will be indirectly assessed in the exams (with a 15% weighting) and many of the skills are required for parts of the practical endorsement.

To meet this requirement we spend a week in Pembrokeshire at the end of year 12 looking at the geological structures, features and rock types found there, to help us build up geological histories of the places we have visited. You will carry out fieldwork tasks which will contribute towards your practical activity groups, including fossil identification, geochronology (working out the sequence of events that took place millions of years ago), graphic logging, rock identification, taking geological measurements and mapping.

Minimum Entry Requirements:  Five GCSEs at Grade 5 or above, including Grade 5/5 in Double Science or a Grade 5 in either Chemistry or Physics as a separate science. As 10% of the course marks will require the knowledge of a minimum of a Level 2 mathematical skills, we also require a Mathematics GCSE Grade 5.

Updated September 2023