• Radley College, Abingdon, Oxfordshire, OX14 2HR
  • Telephone: 01235 543000, Fax: 01235 543106





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A-level Geology is an exciting and relevant subject which studies the way the Earth works, both on the surface and in the interior.

It gives students an understanding of related topics which feature in the news so frequently, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, the supply of natural resources, climate change, dinosaurs, and the evolution of life on Earth. For information about the latest activities and Geology events at Radley follow us on Twitter.

The OCR exam specification (outlined below) consists of four written exam papers (two at AS, two at A2) which require candidates to write accurately but not extensively: it is not an ‘essay’ subject. It is, however, a practical subject, and Geology at Radley is taught using a great variety of rock, mineral, and fossil samples to bring the theoretical concepts to life, while one-day fieldwork outings allow students to see things that they have been studying in the classroom.


Global tectonics

This module looks at the structure of the Earth, and makes comparisons with other planets in the solar system before moving on to examine the theories of continental drift and plate tectonics. The causes and effects of earthquakes and the rapidly developing science of earthquake prediction are studied, as well as the effects of Earth forces on folding and faulting of rocks.

Rocks – processes and products

Students will learn about the ways that different rock types are formed so that interpretations can be made about the ancient environments that rocks were formed in and how they relate to plate tectonics.


Environmental geology

This module will give students an idea about the main ways that geologists make money, and an appreciation of issues that are crucial in the world today and that will remain so in the future: water supply, energy sources, and metal deposits.

Evolution of life, Earth, and climate

Students will learn how fossils evolved and adapted through geological time, and the current theories behind mass extinction events. The new syllabus also includes for the first time a detailed study of dinosaurs in this module.

After A level

Various Earth-science courses are available at University, from the traditional Geology to more career-related degrees such as Environmental Geoscience and Mining Geology. However, the majority of boys who study Geology A-level have no intention of continuing with the subject after Radley, but value it for the interest that it provides and the significant contribution that it makes towards the grades required for University entrance.

Geology at Radley is offered at A-level andis taught by Dr Chris Bedford (Head of Department) and Mr Richard Hughes. It combines successfully with a variety of 6th-form subjects. For boys taking predominantly arts / humanities it provides an accessible and interesting way of continuing with some science, while for the scientists it shows how their knowledge and understanding can be applied to solving real life problems on a large scale.

Every year several leavers continue with related courses at University; these include the increasingly popular Environmental Science, as well as straight Geology / Geoscience. Normally two subjects are required from a list of science / maths A-levels which includes Geology.

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