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Geography KS3 Common Entrance Exam Age 13


Aimed at ages 11- 13.


Atlas skills

Atlas skills should be developed and location knowledge is required


Ordinance Survey map-work skills

4-figure and 6-figure grid references; eastings, northings; spot heights and contours; direction orientation (8 points of the compass); distance; area


follow routes; identify relief and landscape features (slope steepness, plateau, flood plain, valley, headland, bay etc. see glossary); annotate simple sketch sections; use maps in decision-making; understand site, situation and shape of settlements


Fieldwork and enquiry skills

  1. Collection and recording

questionnaires: use and design; sampling; surveys, e.g. shopping, traffic and pedestrian counts; environmental quality surveys; land-use mapping; other mapping skills; field sketches


  1. Presentation

maps: key, scale, direction; shaded (choropleth) maps; annotated sketch maps; flow maps annotated field sketches and photographs; graphs, bar charts, divided bar charts, pie charts, histograms, pictograms; simple annotated cross-sections; sketch sections; tabular presentation of data; land-use maps



Five areas of study: Earthquakes and Volcanoes, Weather and Climate, Rivers and Coasts, Population and Settlement, Transport and Industry.


  1. Earthquakes and Volcanoes (tectonic processes)

Pupils should study:                                                   Candidates should demonstrate an understanding of:



the basic structure of the Earth tectonic plates, constructive and destructive boundaries and what causes them to move the global distribution of earthquakes and volcanoes

an example of either an earthquake or a volcanic eruption to show the nature, causes, environmental and human effects, and human responses



the four layers of the Earth, including the difference between oceanic and continental crust how to annotate a diagram both of a constructive plate boundary (where oceanic plates move apart) and a destructive plate boundary (where oceanic and continental plates meet) one case study of an earthquake or volcanic eruption from a developed country and one case study of an earthquake or volcanic eruption from a developing country




  1. Weather and Climate (meteorological processes)

Pupils should study:                                                   Candidates should demonstrate an understanding of:


(i) the difference between weather and climate



(ii) microclimates

the influence of aspect, shelter, buildings, surface and natural features in relation to microclimates.




(iii) the water cycle

Evaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation, interception, surface runoff, infiltration and throughflow.




(iv) types of rainfall

relief, convectional, frontal; how to draw or annotate a diagram to explain the formation of different types of rainfall




(v) causes of temperature and rainfall variation from place to place in the British Isles



the main temperature and rainfall patterns in the British Isles the influence of latitude, altitude, relief, prevailing winds, distance from coast and the basic impact of the North Atlantic Drift and the Jet Stream




  1. Rivers and Coasts (geomorphological processes)

Pupils should study:                                                   Candidates should demonstrate an understanding of:



(i) processes of weathering

physical (freeze thaw/frostshattering), chemical and biological weathering




(ii) processes of erosion, transportation and deposition in understanding the development of the following landforms: valley, waterfall, gorge,meander, caves, arches, stacks, stumps, beaches, spits


erosion: hydraulic action, abrasion/ corrasion, solution/corrosion, attrition transportation: floating, solution, suspension, traction, saltation, swash, backwash, longshore drift how to draw annotated diagrams to illustrate the formation of each landform (or a sequence of these landforms)




(iii) the causes and effects of and responses to a flood one case study of a flood


(either river or coastal) from anywhere in the world; this should include physical and human causes, the human, economic and environmental impact; reducing the risks




  1. Population and Settlement (demographic processes)

Pupils should study:                                                   Candidates should demonstrate an understanding of:



(i) population numbers and population density for the UK and the world

why some places are crowded and others relatively empty




(ii) the causes of the rise or fall of the population of an individual country

the meaning of birth rate, death rate, natural increase and migration




(iii) the reasons for the site, shape, situation, growth and nature of individual settlements


the factors which early settlers considered when choosing sites for new settlements the reasons why some settlements grew and others did not




(iv) the relationship between the provision of goods and services and settlement size

settlement hierarchies




(v) the management of urban development



a case study of a planned or completed housing/facilities project developed in an environmentally sensitive way, e.g. Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park




  1. Transport and Industry (economic processes)

Pupils should study:                                                   Candidates should demonstrate an understanding of:



(i) the value of transport routes for people and industry how transport routes link settlements and industries, and can affect quality of life




(ii) the principal modes of transport today – road, rail, sea and air – together with their impact on the environment



the advantages and disadvantages of transporting people and goods by road, rail, sea and air a case study of a planned or completed transport project, e.g. HS2 or Heathrow expansion, where economic costs/benefits are weighed against environmental costs/benefits




(iii) the different types (sectors) of economic activity


primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary the relationship between the level of economic development and the percentage of people working in each sector




(iv) how economic activities operate in contrasting locations








a case study of any multinational company operating both in a developed and developing country/countries or any economic activity in a developed country (or local area) compared to a case study of the same (or similar) economic activity in a developing country reasons for their locations (e.g. natural resources/raw materials, site, labour, power source, market, transport), their inputs, throughputs, outputs and linkages




(v) how economic development can be made sustainable



the benefits and problems (including environmental) which economic activities bring to areas the following terms: living standards, exploit, protect, conserve, manage, stewardship, sustainable development




It is expected that those in bold italics will be known at age 11+.                                       




Continents: Europe

Major physical features :


Mountain ranges                                                                      Alps, Pyrenees


Oceans                                                                                        Atlantic, Arctic


Seas                                                                                             Mediterranean


Rivers                                                                                          Rhine

Other features                                                                          Arctic Circle, North Pole, Prime Meridian



British Isles:                                                                               England, Wales,  Scotland,Northern Ireland,

 Rep. of Ireland

Sea areas                                                                                    English Channel, Irish Sea, North Sea

Rivers                                                                                          Severn, Thames, Trent, Clyde, Shannon, Mersey

, Tyne

Upland areas                                                                             Grampians, Lake District, Pennines, Snowdonia Islands                                                                                           Anglesey, Jersey, Guernsey, Isle of Man,

Orkneys, Shetlands, Isle of Wight

Major cities                                                                                Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Dublin,

 Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, London,

Manchester, Newcastle, Plymouth,



Countries and their capitals: Europe                                     Belgium (Brussels), Denmark

                                                                                                     (Copenhagen), France (Paris), Germany

 (Berlin), Greece (Athens), Iceland (Reykjavik),

Italy (Rome), Netherlands (Amsterdam),

 Norway (Oslo), Poland (Warsaw), Portugal

(Lisbon), Russia (Moscow), Spain (Madrid)

, Switzerland (Bern)


It is expected that those in bold italics will be known at age 11+.






Africa, Asia, North America, South America , Oceania, Antarctica





Major physical features


Mountain ranges                                                                     Andes, Himalayas, Rockies


Deserts                                                                                       Sahara


Oceans/seas                                                                              Atlantic, Arctic, Indian, Pacific, Southern

 Oceans, Red Sea


Rivers                                                                                          Amazon, Mississippi, Nile, Yangtze (Chang

Jiang), Ganges



Other features



Arctic Circle, Antarctic Circle, Equator, International Dateline, North Pole, South Pole, Prime Meridian, Tropic of Cancer, Tropic of Capricorn



Countries and their capitals




Egypt (Cairo)Ethiopia (Addis Ababa),Ghana (Accra), Kenya (Nairobi), Nigeria (Abuja), South Africa (Pretoria)




North America

Canada (Ottawa), Mexico (Mexico City), USA (Washington DC)




South America

Argentina (Buenos Aires), Brazil (Brazilia), Chile (Santiago), Colombia (Bogota), Peru (Lima)










Afghanistan (Kabul), Bangladesh (Dhaka/Dacca), China (Beijing), India (New Delhi), Indonesia (Jakarta), Iran (Tehran), Iraq (Baghdad), Israel (Jerusalem), Japan (Tokyo), Pakistan (Islamabad), Russia (see Europe), Saudi Arabia (Riyadh), South Korea (Seoul), Thailand (Bangkok), Turkey (Ankara) (also in Europe)





Australia (Canberra), New Zealand (Wellington) , Papua New Guinea (Port Moresby)




Other major cities and city states:





Dubai, Kolkata, Los Angeles, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Sydney, Vancouver