By guest contributor Wang Siqi (23S06A)
“So you’re learning about… rocks?” is the first thing someone says to me upon finding out I take Geography. It seems that Geography has developed a bit of a reputation for being a subject that, well, rocks. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you too will be inspired to jog headfirst into H2 Geog and its many diverse topics.
A-level Geography consists of 4 themes— 1) Tropical Environments, 2) Development, 3) Economy and Environment, and 4) Sustainable Development and Geographical Investigation. These topics can then be classified under Physical and Human Geography.
In Physical Geography, students get to learn about physical processes (in the tropics) as well as issues (in the tropics). You cover topics like tropical climates and flooding, which help you to understand the “natural” aspects of the world. For example, students learn the 5 Koppen Geiger climate classifications for the humid and arid tropics, as well as how to draw the climographs for each classification.
In Human Geography, students learn about the global economy, as well as the environment’s natural resources. You’ll cover topics like managing water scarcity, which facilitates your understanding of the human aspects of the world. Under resource appraisal (one of the sub-topics), a key concept that students learn about is influential geographer David Harvey’s resource theory.
What To Expect
Each Geography class is assigned 1 tutor for Physical Geog and 1 for Human Geog, to help students make synoptic links between different topics and prevent them from “compartmentalising the topics covered” (as our Human Geog tutor says).
Each week consists of two 45-minute lectures—one for Physical Geog and one for Human Geog. Consistency is key when it comes to these lectures: tutorials for a topic are covered the week after it is taught.
Most tutorials consist of Data Response Questions to train you to think on the spot. You’ll also need to be prepared to memorise content—Year 5 notes are over a hundred pages long! But fret not; the Geog tutors provide ample guidance and will readily answer any and all questions that you might have.
One of our lecture slides
In the A levels, students have to power through 2 3-hour papers, including 6 essays and 4 Data Response Questions (DRQs). However, Year 5 students get a discount: the Y5 Promo consists of 1 essay question each for Theme 1 and Theme 2, as well as a DRQ.
Each essay question consists of a 12-mark question and a 20-mark question. As such, time management is one of the crucial skills needed for this subject in order to make it to the finish line of the question paper.
Who Should Take Geog?
Everyone and anyone who is interested in learning about how the world works (how the real world works, unlike other, more theoretical subjects.) There’s no pre-requisite for the subject—most of my classmates take it out of a genuine love for Geog, and even if you didn’t take Geog in secondary school, you’ll still be able to understand the content well.
Furthermore, the concepts taught are interesting and applicable to real life: for example, after studying climate classification, this author now knows that the mean annual temperature of Singapore is 27℃, though this may increase due to climate change (another topic covered in Geography!)
As a last-ditch effort to assuage your fears, you can rest assured that Geography does not restrict your future employment options! It can equip you with data analysis skills and knowledge of urban planning, just to name a few.
So, if you’d like to learn about El Ninõ, how the global economy works, and why some countries are so developed while others aren’t, you can consider taking H2 Geography (please do–our department needs all the funding and new microphones it can get)!