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GCSE Geography Case Studies

1F (foundation) and 3H (higher)

These papers will consist of four compulsory questions, one on each of the core units. The style
of the paper will be structured data-response questions, with an emphasis on the testing of skills
and understanding. There will be some opportunities for extended writing and a limited
requirement for recall of specified case study material. A variety of resources will be made
available in the examination. A 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey map extract will be used, and other
resources may include maps at other scales, graphs, diagrams, newspaper articles and

Four compulsory Questions

The Physical World:

• River processes produce distinctive landforms in their valleys
• The characteristics of valleys can be changed by glaciation
• Coastal processes produce distinctive landforms which are subject to change

It would be good to use located examples here to link your knowledge to real examples but no
specific case studies are required

The Human World:

• Rates of population change vary from place to place and over time
• Population structure and characteristics vary from place to place
• People live in a variety of settlements of different sizes. These settlements are often
made up of distinct zones

Brazil is a good example to use for varying population distribution

Turks into Germany
Push factors - Overpopulation, poor pay and poor living conditions. Pull factors - available jobs in agriculture
and factories, (Dirty, unsociable and dangerous) jobs required limited skills. Germans did more skilled jobs.
Focus on advantages and disadvantages to both Turkey and Germany.

Germany Turkey
advantages disadvantages advantages disadvantages
• Increased labour • Shortage of • Reduces pressure • Loses people of
market unskilled work on jobs and working age (active
• Increased low for native resources population)
cost/unskilled labour population • Loses people of • Loses most
• Dirty dangerous • Racial prejudice child bearing age educated and
unsociable jobs • A lot of income hence reduces skilled
• Increased natural was sent back to birth rate • Many males leave
increase due larger Turkey • Migrants develop causing a division
family size • Increased costs new skills and in families
• Larger tax revenues – in social benefits may bring them • Leaves an elderly
economic growth • Lack of back to Turkey population and high
integration • Money made in death rate
Germany can be
sent back

Mexicans into California

Both illegal and legal jobs 1-2 million Mexicans attempt each year to cross into US. The jobs are harder,
dirtier, unsociable and less skilled jobs. Large number employed seasonally in the agricultural estates; many
other jobs in construction, hotels and restaurants. Illegal immigrants are forced to work for low and are easily
exploited in the informal sector. Low pay has led to established ghettos with associated social problems
The Economic World:
• People work in different economic systems. These vary spatially and over time
• Farming systems show different characteristics. All farming systems have been
experiencing change
• The location of industry changes over time

There are a good number of case studies for this question for both farming and industry


1. Philippines (LEDC) - The Flora Community and Maximo Casiendo Farm

This farm explores intensive farming and use of green revolution techniques including High Yield Varieties,

2. UK (MEDC) – Bradley Farm, Northumbria

You should be able describe and explain changes over time with this farm. Changes have largely been
brought about through the Common Agricultural Reforms (CAP). Specific examples of diversification and
farming inputs are required


3. Declining heavy (sunset industries) industry in South Wales

You need to be aware of location al factors that attracted heavy industry to South Wales in the first place and
then explain how these factors became less important over time with improved transport and reduce
transport cost as well cheaper higher grade raw materials being imported from abroad.

4. High Tech companies along the M4 corridor- Bracknell as well as the Cambridge
Science Park
You must be able to define high tech companies with specific examples to your case study. You need to
explain the factors that attract high tech companies to the M4 corridor and Cambridge Science park. These
factors include the proximity to major markets, transport infrastructure and airports. Established links to
universities for research and development, an attractive physical environment with a diverse range of leisure
opportunities that may include national parks. It must be noted that stating the reasons like I have here
does not explain why high tech firms are attracted. You must ‘explink’ in your responses

5. TNC – Fiat in Brazil

This case study is set in the context of Newly Industrialised Countries (NICs) these countries have certain
competitive advantages over more established developed countries. Namely rapidly emerging markets,
low cost labour and a productive labour market willing to work long hours with weal trade union
You should be able to describe and explain the factors that attracted Fiat to Brazil, on top of the points above
you should be able to use specific examples of government intervention.

The Natural World:

• Air masses lead to changes in the UK weather
• Average long term weather patterns lead to distinct climatic types
• Distinct forest Communities develop in particular conditions. Forests are sensitive and
their balance is easily upset by human interference

It would be good to use located examples here to link your knowledge to real examples.

Tropical rainforest management – Honduras

You need to have case study knowledge of a TRF system to show understanding of the concepts of
conservation, exploitation and sustainable development and the roles of different interest groups and
conflicts. You should be able to explain the role of the following groups in Honduras: Rainforest Alliance
(NGO), Government, Gibson Guitars, Cattle Ranchers, Subsistence farmers, Local villages
vulnerable to flooding increased by deforestation, illegal loggers