Madras College

Geography - National 4 and 5

Welcome to the National Geography Class. In the department you have 3 dedicated geographers who have a passion for their subject and who look forward to delivering geography at the senior level.

Mrs Barbour
Ms Norrie
Mr Clark


We look forward to helping you explore the exciting geographical elements of the National course and supporting you in preparing for your course assignment and your final exam.


It is a rewarding course and embraces all that is good about geography - making connections with the wider world, understanding your place within it and keeping up to date with an ever changing and complex world! This page aims to give you a very brief overview of the course structure and includes some useful links to support material.


Study support classes are always available - arrange with you teacher. This is open to all Senior Geography classes.

N5 Course Structure

  • Physical Environments
  • Human Environments
  • Global Issues
  • Course Assignment (assessed by the SQA)
  • Final Exam (assessed by the SQA)

Course Detail

The course is split into 3 units; Physical Environments, Human Environments and Global Issues. Pupils will learn a wide range of geographical skills which will be applied throughout all 3 units. All three areas look at up-to-date case studies making the content studied topical and relevant to today's world.

Physical Environments (includes developing OS Mapping skills for all areas):

  • River Landscapes
  • Limestone Landscapes
  • Land use Conflict and Management (for both River and Limestone landscapes)
  • UK Weather - characteristics and causes of the key weather systems affecting the UK

Human Environments:
  • Population - Distribution and characteristics of both developed and developing countries
  • Urban - Developed (Glasgow) vs Developing (Mumbai))
  • Rural - Developed (UK Farming or USA Great Plains) vs Developing (Kerela, India)

Global Issues:
  • Health (Distribution of world diseases, HIV/AIDS in developed and developing countries, focus on heart disease (developed countries) and malaria (developing countires).
  • Climate Change (Features, Physical and Human Causes, Local and Global Effects, Management strategies to minimise impact/effects)


  • End of Unit Assessment (each of the units outlined above has one assessment)
  • N5 Course Assignment 1 hour write up, under exam conditions (20 marks - 20% of final grade)
  • N5 Geography Exam 2 hours, 20 minutes (80 marks - 80% of final grade)
  • If pupils sitting N4, there is no exam, but 3 unit assessments and an Added Value Unit have to be completed.

Geographical Skills

The following skills are assessed in contexts drawn from across the course:

Mapping Skills related to Ordnance Survey Maps

  • grid references (4 and 6 figure)
  • identifying and locating physical and human features and patterns
  • measuring distance using scale
  • interpreting relief and contour patterns
  • using maps in association with photographs, field sketches, cross sections/transects

Extracting, interpreting and presenting numerical and graphical information which may be:

  • graphs
  • tables
  • diagrams
  • maps


Research skills including fieldwork skills in:

  • gathering
  • processing
  • interpreting


We endeavour to take our pupils out of the classroom and experience fieldwork. Given the current climate, we are unsure about the logistics. Last year, pupils spent a day collecting data on the River Devon for their course assignment.

Useful Resources

  • SQA Course specification with detail on each unit area and assessment details

  • SQA National 5 page

  • Microsoft TEAMS - All pupils have been added to the N5 Geography TEAM
    (all pupils have access to the MS suite when logging on via GLOW, word, OneDrive, PowerPoint, excel etc)


  • Higher Geography (then Advanced Higher Geography)

  • Higher Environmental Science