Geographical Skills


These skills are essential to the study of geography and reflect the subject’s distinctive methodology and approach. Teaching the skills enriches the students’ understanding of geography, and enables them to apply the techniques of geography and to use appropriate terminology. It is essential that the skills are covered throughout the whole syllabus, and that they are introduced and integrated where appropriate, depending on the context, in the different themes and the higher level extension. It is essential that the skills are all taught at some stage of the course and are not treated in isolation.
Those skills indicated below in italics are not assessed in the external assessment examination papers.

It is recognized that the ability to use Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is a valuable geographic tool that transcends many of the skills listed below. Where GIS is accessible and practical, its use is encouraged. The syllabus does not require GIS and it will not be used in the assessment.

Locate and differentiate elements of the Earth’s surface, using direction, latitude and longitude, grid and area references, scale, political units


Interpret, analyse, and when appropriate, construct tables, graphs, diagrams, cartographic material and images
Ÿ All kinds of maps, including:
isoline and isopleth maps
choropleth maps
topological maps
dot maps
flow maps
thematic maps (inc mental maps)
topographic maps
Ÿ proportional symbols
Ÿ aerial photographs
Ÿ ground-level photographs
Ÿ satellite images
Ÿ graphs, including scatter, line, bar, compound, triangular, logarithmic, bi-polar graphs
Ÿ pie charts
Ÿ flow diagrams/charts
Ÿ population pyramids
Ÿ Lorenz curves
Ÿ cross-profiles (sections)
Ÿ rose diagrams
Ÿ development diamonds
Undertake statistical calculations to show patterns and summarize information
Ÿ totals
Ÿ averages (means, medians, modes)
Ÿ frequencies
Ÿ ranges of data (differences between maximum and minimum)
Ÿ densities
Ÿ percentages
Ÿ ratios

Research, process and interpret data and information
Types of data and information
Ÿ measures of correlation (including Spearman rank and Chi-square)
Ÿ measures of concentration and dispersion (including nearest neighbour and location quotients)
Ÿ measures of spatial interactions
Ÿ measures of diversity
Ÿ indices and ratios (including Gini coefficient, ecological footprint, HDI, dependency ratio)
Ÿ textual information
Ÿ observations
Ÿ opinions, values and perceptions
Processing and interpreting
Ÿ classify data and information
Ÿ analyse data and information
Ÿ describe patterns, trends and relationships
Ÿ make generalizations and identify anomalies
Ÿ make inferences and predictions
Ÿ make and justify decisions
Ÿ draw conclusions
Ÿ evaluate methodology
Collect and select relevant geographic information
Ÿ make observations
Ÿ conduct interviews
· make images
· take measurements
Evaluate sources of geographic information in terms of reliability, bias, relevance and accuracy
Produce written material (including essays, reports and investigations)

Ÿ synthesize information
Ÿ present material in a clear and well-structured way
Ÿ respond appropriately to command terms