IGCSE Geography: Curriculum Theme, Assessment Objectives & More


Cambridge IGCSE Geography (0460) syllabus are designed to develop an understanding of human environment, natural environment, and economic development. It also enhances lifelong skills, including:

  • An understanding of the processes which affect physical and
  • Human environments
  • An understanding of place on a local, regional and global scale
  • The ability to use and understand geographical data and information
  • The understanding of interaction of the communities and relationships to different environments.



  • The syllabus aims are to encourage learners to develop:
  • A sense of place and an understanding of relative location on a local, regional and global scale;
  • An awareness of the characteristics and distribution of a selection of contrasting physical and human environments;
  • The understanding of interaction of the process in result of affecting the environmental developments
  • An understanding of the spatial effects of the ways in which people interact with each other and with their environments;
  • An understanding of different communities and cultures throughout the world and an awareness of the
  • Contrasting opportunities and constraints presented by different environments.


Curriculum Themes

The syllabus is divided into three themes:

  • Theme 1: Population and settlement
  • Theme 2: The natural environment
  • Theme 3: Economic development


Assessment Overview


Paper 1

  • Geographical Themes 45%
  • 75 marks, weighted to 100 marks
  • Candidates answer three questions, each worth 25 marks. From the aspirants its expected to give answer from each parts of one questions
  • Externally assessed
  • 1 hour 45 minutes


Paper 2

  • Geographical Skills 27.5%
  • 60 marks
  • Candidates answer all the questions. Externally assessed
  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Component 3
  • Coursework 27.5%
  • 60 marks
  • The teacher set upto 2000 words in the center based assignment.
  • Centre-based assessment


Paper 4

  • Alternative to Coursework 27.5%
  • 60 marks
  • The candidates must answer two questions and and completing the written task series. Externally assessed
  • 1 hour 30 minutes

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Assessment Objectives


1. Knowledge with Understanding

  • The extensive range of activities, including human actions, leading to the evolution of

(a) physical, economic, and social contexts, and their effects on the landscape, should be known and understood by candidates.
(b) crucial spatial relationships and patterns in these environments

  • The interactions between environmental change and human activity
  • The value of scale (whether local, regional or global)
  • The alterations that take place through time in locations, landscapes, and spatial distribution.”


2. Skills and Analysis

Candidates should be able to:

  • Interpret and analyse geographical data
  • Apply your geographic knowledge and comprehension to maps and other visual representations such as numbers, diagrams, pictures, and photographs.
  • Recognize patterns in geographic data and use them to infer relationships
  • Choose approaches for observation and data collection and demonstrate understanding of them.
  • Techniques for organising and displaying data should be chosen and used.


3. Judgement and Decision-making

Candidate geographical training should enable them to:

When appropriate, use logic to arrive at judgements and decisions, including assessments and conclusions, that show a respect of other people’s attitudes, values, and beliefs in matters with a geographic component.

(b) An understanding of the various opportunities and limitations faced by people who live in various locations and with various physical and social situations.

(c) A willingness to evaluate one’s own attitudes in light of other people’s perspectives and newly learned information

Make decisions and judgements, and grasp how they are influenced and limited by

(a) the physical and social environments in which they are made

(b) the values and perspectives of other groups or individuals.

(c) The choices at the decision-makers’ disposal

(d) The requirement for sustainability and the great encouragement of global interdependence.



Curriculum Content


Theme 1: Population and settlement

1.1 Population Dynamics

  • Describe and give reasons for the rapid increase in the world’s population
  • Show an understanding of over-population and under-population
  • Understand the main causes of a change in population size
  • Give reasons for contrasting rates of natural population change
  • Describe and evaluate population policies
  • Explain and give reasons for population migration
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the impacts of migration
  • Identify and give reasons for and implications of different types of population structure
  • Describe the factors influencing the density and distribution of population

1.2 Settlement

  • Explain the patterns of settlement
  • Describe and explain the factors which may influence the sites, growth and functions of settlements
  • Give reasons for the hierarchy of settlements and services.
  • Describe and give reasons for the characteristics of, and changes in, land use in urban areas
  • Explain the problems of urban areas, their causes and possible solutions
  • Identify and suggest reasons for rapid urban growth
  • Describe the impacts of urban growth on both rural and urban areas, along with possible solutions to reduce the negative impacts


Theme 2: The Natural Environment

2.1 Earthquakes and Volcanoes

  • Describe the primary types and characteristics of earthquakes and volcanoes.
  • Describe and clarify how earthquakes and volcanoes are distributed.
  • The causes of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, as well as how they affect people and the environment, should be described.
  • Show that you are aware of the dangers and opportunities that volcanoes can create for people.
  • Describe the steps that can be taken to lessen the effects of earthquakes and volcanoes.

2.2 Rivers

  • Describe the primary hydrological features and processes that affect rivers and drainage basins.
  • Show that you understand how a river works to move, deposit, and erode material.
  • Describe and explain how the landforms that result from these processes are formed.
  • Show that you are aware of the risks and opportunities that rivers present.
    Describe the steps that can be taken to manage the effects of river flooding.

2.3 Coasts

  • Describe and explain the processes that led to the creation of the linked landforms.
  • Describe the circumstances necessary for the formation of coral reefs and mangrove swamps.
  • Show that you are aware of the dangers and opportunities that coasts present.
    What steps can be taken to mitigate the effects of coastal erosion?

2.4 Weather

  • Describe the process for gathering weather data.
  • Calculations should be made using data from weather instruments.
  • Utilize and understand graphs and other diagrams displaying data on the weather and climate.

2.5 Climate and Natural Vegetation

  • Describe and explain the characteristics of two climates:

(a) equatorial

(b) hot desert

  • Describe and explain the characteristics of tropical rainforest and hot desert ecosystems
  • Describe the causes and effects of deforestation of tropical rainforest


Theme 3: Economic Development and the Use of Resources

3.1 Development

  • Use a variety of indicators to assess the level of development of a country Identify and explain inequalities between and within countries
  • Describe and explain how the proportions employed in each sector change depending on the level of development by classifying production into distinct sectors and providing examples of each.
  • Describe and explain the globalisation process and its effects.

3.2 Food Production

  • Identify and describe the key components of an agricultural system: inputs, operations, and results
  • Identify the causes and effects of food shortages, as well as any potential solutions.

3.3 Industry

  • Demonstrate an understanding of an industrial system: inputs, processes and outputs (products and waste)
  • Describe and explain the factors influencing the distribution and location of factories and industrial zones

3.4 Tourism

  • Describe and explain the relationship between the primary draws of the natural and human landscape and the expansion of tourism.
  • Consider the pros and drawbacks of tourism to receiving areas.
  • Show that you are aware that tourism needs to be managed carefully in order to be sustainable.

3.5 Energy

  • Describe the importance of non-renewable fossil fuels, renewable energy supplies, nuclear power and fuelwood; globally and in different countries at different levels of development
  • Evaluate the benefits and disadvantages of nuclear power and renewable energy sources

3.6 Water

  •  Describe the sources of water and the amounts used for domestic, industrial, and agricultural uses in nations at various stages of economic development.
  • Explain the causes of some communities’ water shortages and show why careful management is needed to assure future supplies

3.7 Environmental Risks of Economic Development

  • Describe how economic activities may pose threats to the natural environment and people, locally and globally
  • Demonstrate the need for sustainable development and management
  • Understand the importance of resource conservation

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Can IGCSE students use a calculator in the IGCSE Geography 0460 Exam?

Yes, The IGCSE students can use a calculator in the IGCSE Geography Exam as per the CIE admin Guide in the 0460 and 0976 examinations.

What are the subject groups in IGCSE?

In IGCSE, there are five Subject Groups with a wide range of subjects to choose from:
Group 1: Languages (First Language, Second Language, Foreign Language, etc)
Group 2: Humanities and Social Sciences (Geography, English Literature, History, etc)
Group 3: Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc)
Group 4: Mathematics (Mathematics, Additional Mathematics, etc)
Group 5: Creative, Technical and Vocational (Accounting, Business Studies, Computer Studies, Music, etc)

How can I take the IGCSE course online?

IGCSE courses can be taken online by registering with any online tutoring education company. Classes can either be as groups or as 1 on 1 session. In an online classroom setup, the class may comprise 35 students who are given access to the course content through an online learning platform. The content may be broken down into weekly lessons and each week objectives will be introduced to help students stay on track. These online tutoring programs help students to gain practical experience of digital technologies and also have the flexibility to take up an online course between their other commitments. 

The other mode of delivery would be individual 1 on 1 tutoring where the students get personalized attention from a tutor for the subject chosen. This helps the tutor identify the specific needs of the child, his learning abilities and skills as well. The child is able to overcome the challenges he or she would probably encounter in a classroom set up. The helps build confidence in the child and makes learning enjoyable.

How long will it take to complete an IGCSE course?

Cambridge IGCSE course takes two years to complete and assessments are taken at the end of each year. IGCSE exams are held in June and in November every year and the results are published in August and January respectively.

How much does IGCSE tutoring cost?

The pricing for IGCSE tutoring would depend on a lot of factors. Where you live can greatly change how much the tutor would charge. There could be different tutors offering private tutoring and there could be self-taught tutors to professionally trained tutors with a lifetime of experience.  The qualification and experience of tutors will affect the price you would have to pay. Depending on the subject or the specialization, supply and demand can have a huge bearing on the price. Core subjects may cost higher when compared to arts and music or it could be vice versa. The level of a student is also an important factor to determine the price. Tutoring jobs are generally paid more if there is more work to be done by the trainer.

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