Geography National 5

Course Overview

This topical and challenging course is packed with up-to-date, real-life case studies that motivate and absorb pupils, and use Scottish and wider-world examples throughout. There is an investigative approach to geographical issues and topics which encourages pupils to work independently, in addition, a range of engaging exercises help pupils build vital geographical skills and specific activities develop literacy, numeracy and ICT skills.

Course Content

There are three units within the course and these are outlined below: 

Unit 1: Physical Environment Unit
Pupils will explore the natural events which have shaped the formation of Scottish and UK physical landscapes, the areas studied will vary from coastal features to glaciated landscapes, from limestone scenery to rivers.  They will also examine the pressures on our natural environment, and through case studies look at solutions to managing and sustaining our unique environment. No physical study of the UK would be complete without acknowledging the role that our weather and climate play in influencing our lives, so pupils also look at developing a better understanding of why our weather is so unpredictable.

The landscapes types will be either:
a) Glaciated uplands and coastal landscapes       OR       b) Upland limestone and river landscapes

Personalisation and choice is possible through case studies.

Unit 2: Human Environment Unit
Pupils will study, compare and contrast the countries of our planet. Key themes will include inequality between the rich and poor nations, world population distribution, reasons for the changes in world population growth, global health and disease, case studies looking at changes in urban and rural landscape in the UK and India.
Personalisation and choice is possible through case studies.

Unit 3: Global Issues Unit
Pupils will develop a knowledge and understanding of significant global geographical issues. Topics covered here will be chosen from: climate change and sustainability, natural regions, environmental hazards- earthquakes, volcanoes and tropical storms, trade and globalisation and development & health. They will also explore strategies being adopted to manage these issues.
Personalisation and choice is possible through case studies.

Added Value Unit: Geography: Assignment (National 5)
In this unit pupils will choose a geographical issue and write up a research project based on fieldwork. This will give them the opportunity to demonstrate their geographical skills and the project will be marked by the SQA.


A variety of active learning and teaching strategies will be involved, from teacher led explanation and discussion to individual work; paired work ;group work; fieldwork; researching and presenting information ;interpretation and analysis of various geographical sources of information ; self and peer evaluation of work produced.


Pupils will receive homework on a regular basis, this might involve finishing off class work, revising for assessments or undertaking research into investigation work.

Assessment Approaches

The National 5 course assessment will consist of an exam paper which will account for 80% of your final grade and an Added Value Assignment which will account for 20% of your final grade. The course assessment is graded A-D.

Further Information

This course is offered to pupils who did not continue with Geography in S3/4, however it is expected that they will have successfully passed one of the other Social Subjects at N5 level. It is also open to pupils who managed to achieve a N4 Geography pass in S4 but who would now like to aim for the N5 exam.