"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." -Dr. Seuss
For many young ones in today's modern world, reading informative textbooks seems like a foreign concept.
Yes there are some good online geography revision resources, but nevertheless, it is important to stress the importance of educational books that provide the learner with a complete understanding of the academic discipline being reviewed.
Purchasing supplementary textbooks or ebooks to review at a later time outside the classroom is an excellent way for GCSE or A-Level students to stay ahead of the game and ace final exams.
Therefore, without further delay, Superprof has found the best books currently available on the market to review physical and human geography. Also, some helpful tips from more experienced learners have been provided; because who doesn't need a little advice once and awhile?
The Benefits Of Geography Tuition
There are many reasons why you'd want to study Geography during your secondary or further education: to better understand the planet we live, stay informed on environmental threats to mankind, keep abreast of how humans can save the environment and to open up opportunities to travel the world.
What's more, Geography is a very broad subject that is seen by universities and employers as a solid, robust academic subject with many transferrable skills. The subject brings together art and science and crosses over with many other subjects on the curriculum too, making it the perfect subject to study with another when applying for a university degree.
You may be surprised by just how many jobs are waiting for you when you finish your Geography course!
So, want to find out what kind of thing you'll be studying if you choose to take a Geography qualification in the UK? The Royal Geography Society has got this sussed for you:
Geography helps you to make sense of the world around you. It is hands on, it is relevant and it is fun. Current GCSE courses are a good mix of topics such as urban issues, world development, extreme environments, rivers and hazards – to name but a few. The course will give you the chance to get to grips with some of the big questions which affect our world, and understand the social, economic and physical forces and processes which shape and change our world.
There are so many ways of learning in geography. It is very practical, with opportunities to learn new skills such as modern computer based mapping (called GIS), map skills, interpreting photographs, fieldwork skills, presenting, role play and debating techniques. You will improve your literacy through your report writing and written work and make practical use of your numeracy skills when you interpret data and construct graphs. Fieldwork, or working outside the classroom, is a really important part of geography. Whether you go locally or get the chance to travel further away, it will be a brilliant opportunity to experience some of the things you have learnt about in class, see things differently and of course have fun.
At A Level
Geography combines well with both arts and science subjects. Geography is highly valued by universities as an A Level choice. The Russell Group report (PDF) published in 2011 names geography as one of the eight facilitating subjects. This is a subject most likely to be required or preferred for entry to degree courses and choosing facilitating subjects will keep more options open to you at university. In 2015 The Guardian identified geography as the 'must-have A Level'.
Your A Level geography course will cover both the physical and human environments and the complex interaction of processes that shape our world. It will also, importantly, show the applied side of the subject - how human intervention affects the environment and how people adapt and mitigate the effects of processes on their environment. This is complex and dynamic and varies from place to place depending on people’s resources, technology and culture. There is plenty of room for discussion and extended research, which will help you become an independent thinker and learner. By the time you get to your exams, you will be able to show your understanding of a range of opinions and be able to illustrate your answers with case studies from local, national and international examples.
You will learn in a wide variety of ways, using maps, GIS skills, data analysis, photos, videos, and podcasts, as well as attending lectures and study days. You will be encouraged to frame your own questions using higher level thinking skills and show your grasp of complex issues through report and essay writing. Fieldwork will be an essential part of your A Level course. You may even get to go on a residential trip to experience a very different environment to the one where you live. For example, you may visit an area famous for its coastal, river or glaciated scenery as well as carrying out enquiries relating to issues in your local environment."
Geography is, as you'd imagine, a great subject to have under your belt if you're concerned with climate change and green issues or want to get involved in sustainability research. What's more, a good understanding of global economics can help you get by in business whilst knowledge of welfare can be a help if you enter the world of law. Finally, the subject can even be on your side if you want to become a doctor, vet or nurse because you will already be familiar with how the environment affects humans' and creatures' health, survival and repopulation.
If you haven't yet read enough to be convinced, then check out just a few more reasons you might want to add Geography to your options list below:
1. There's potential to study abroad
As is the nature of the subject, taking a Geography course can take you places. In fact, Geography students can really benefit from spending time outside of their home country as it will educate them on different climates, ecosystems, cultures and much more. Being able to experience this first-hand with your own eyes is invaluable to a Geography student but taking yourself around the world could become a more regular thing if you wind up in a relevant job or if you simply can't stay still for long!
2. Geography is experiential
What so many people love about Geography as a subject is the fact that the learning style is so varied. It is not a case of sitting down in a classroom each and every lesson, so much of the course is content is hands-on - experiential - in nature. In what is a diverse learning environment, Geography students will often find that many research-based school trips are organised throughout the school year.
Fieldwork is a huge part of progressing in Geography, enabling you to study the earth and many of the things on the planet.
3. It offers you transferrable skills
With the mixture of teaching and learning methods, Geography is a subject that naturally encourages a range of skills that can be useful in various situations in life, not to mention in other subjects. For instance, Geography lends itself to good communication skills, great teamwork ethics, enhanced attention to detail and the ability to analyse data effectively.
4. Geography opens up many professional pathways
Geography graduates really can have their pick when they complete their degree level course. As we've already discovered, Geography students usually acquire a huge range of skills that employers will be desperate to make use of. However, to further enhance your employability after education and maybe study a useful subject like computer studies alongside Geography to gain some additional sought after skills.
5. Cultural awareness
It may not seem like it, but Geography can truly open your eyes up to the world and make you more culturally enriched (particularly if you travel far for your degree). What you study in Geography topics is often influenced by human behaviour, meaning that you must understand why people act in certain ways, what traditions people maintain (for example in farming and architecture cultures). This all means that you will be better at understanding people of all backgrounds.
Best Books to Review Physical Geography
Physical geography is one of the two significant geography subdisciplines that involves the geographical study of processes and patterns in the natural environment such as the atmosphere, the hydrosphere, the biosphere, and the geosphere.
Therefore, to encourage GCSE and A-Level students to focus on reviewing geography without the help of private tutors, the experts at Superprof have done their research to find the best books currently available that cover the topic of physical geography.
McKnight's Physical Geography
A classic best-seller that has been revised by many geography students to ensure exam success. The textbook provides readers with a solid understanding of geographic information and physical geography.
The writing style is easy to read, the descriptions are appealing, and the illustrations are well-done.
Many students consider this textbook to be one of the best in comparison to other books online when considering geography and they all admit that they learnt a lot. Below is an overview of the paperback provided by Pearson.com.
"Explore the changing global environment with real-world examples and mobile field trips
Continuing Tom L. McKnight's well-known thematic focus on landscape appreciation, Darrel Hess offers a broad survey of all of the physical processes and spatial patterns that create Earth’s physical landscape. McKnight’s Physical Geography: A Landscape Appreciation provides a clear writing style, superior art program, and abundant pedagogy to appeal to a wide variety of students.
The 12th Edition offers a truly meaningful integration of visualization, technology, and the latest applied science, providing essential opportunities to teach and engage students in these processes and patterns. Topics that are tied to students’ real-world concerns such as global environmental change, along with new videos, photography, online lab resources, and updated interactive tools, make it the most effective learning program for physical geography.
Personalize learning with Mastering Geography
Mastering™ Geography is an online homework, tutorial, and assessment product proven to improve results by helping students quickly master physical geography concepts. Students benefit from self-paced coaching activities that feature personalized wrong-answer feedback and hints that emulate the office-hour experience and help keep students on track. With a wide range of interactive, engaging, and assignable activities, students are encouraged to actively learn and retain challenging course concepts."
An Introduction to Physical Geography and the Environment
The 2o12 paperback edition is currently available on Amazon starting at only £11, this textbook is extraordinarily informative and considered by many as a necessary resource to better understand the subtopics of physical geography.
An Introduction to Physical Geography and the Environment focuses on the inter-linkages between natural processes, places and the environment; beautiful illustrations are featured to help students better understand how the physical environment works.
The textbook is intended for undergraduate and postgraduate university students; however, that does not mean that GCSE level or A-Level students cannot review this book to further their understanding of physical geography. A challenge is always a great idea to see how much is genuinely comprehended.
Also, an extensive range of electronic support resources includes updated weblinks that are relevant for each chapter and keep learning interesting. Also published by Pearson Education, below is a synopsis by Blacwells.co.uk:
"This highly respected and best-selling textbook provides an engaging and comprehensive introduction to the major topics within physical geography. It focuses on understanding the inter-linkages between processes, places and environments and is fully illustrated to demonstrate how the physical environment works. An Introduction to Physical Geography and the Environment is accompanied by a rich and extensive range of electronic support resources including updated weblinks relevant for each chapter, multiple choice questions, fieldwork exercises, interactive models and video clips.The text is suitable for both undergraduate and postgraduate study in the field of physical geography."
Geosystems: An Introduction to Physical Geography
Written by Robert W. Christopherson, this textbook boasts excellent reviews from past readers who enjoyed the exciting and engaging approach of the author to explain modern physical geography.
Geosystems has even gained the approval of students who strongly dislike reading textbooks since it has striking images and explains the subject matter in a fascinating way that proves to be useful even outside the classroom.
When deciding upon a textbook to examine physical geography, it is essential to take your time and choose one that will fit your unique learning style; the three previously mentioned options are not new textbooks yet they are highly recommended and should be seriously considered when reviewing geography and would most likely be approved by a professional educator.
Best Books to Revise Human Geography
Human geography is one of the two significant geography subdisciplines that can be reviewed by interested ones. Branches of human geography include cultural geography, economic geography, and political geography.
Without further ado, we will consider some of the best books on the market to review all the necessary aspects of human geography effectively.
Gun, Germs, and Steel
While not a textbook, this non-fiction novel written by Jared Diamond is a fantastic resource that includes much information about human geography.
Winning the Pulitzer Prize in non-fiction in 1998 and being adapted into a documentary feature produced by the National Geographic Society, this book has captured the attention of intellectuals all over the world for its arguments about how geography shaped human migration.
A brief description of this pageturner doesn't do it justice; go out and buy the book to analyse its themes of human geography thoroughly! In the meantime, here's that synopsis (taken from Waterstones):
"Why has human history unfolded so differently across the globe? In his Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Jared Diamond puts the case that geography and biogeography, not race, moulded the contrasting fates of Europeans, Asians, Native Americans, sub-Saharan Africans, and aboriginal Australians. An ambitious synthesis of history, biology, ecology and linguistics, Guns, Germs and Steel remains a ground-breaking and humane work of popular science."
The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography
Currently, in its 11th edition, this book comes highly recommended for students who want to have a more thorough knowledge of human geography.
Admired by many for its timeliness and language that is easy to read, The Cultural Landscape is an introductory textbook that emphasises the relevance of geography to human problems that are faced all over the world.
The 11th edition is different from past ones since it focuses on inequality and negative trends such as depleting resources, and human-caused climate changes. Nevertheless, things considered are not all negative; Rubenstein mentions many positive changes that have been implemented such as technology and regime change.
The Cultural Landscape is a book worthy of reading that can be rented out at public libraries and bought at a local bookstore or online at well-known sites such as Amazon.
The World is Flat
Another book that deserves sufficient credit for successfully discussing human geography is titled, The World is Flat; written by Thomas L. Friedman, this book analyses globalisation in the early years of the 21st century.
Readers loved Friedman's book because it is honest and mentions truthful situations the world is going through without sugar coating.
Not only focused on themes of geography, The World is Flat book mentions topics of foreign policy and economics merely to have all readers understand what is being mentioned.
It is important to state that there are other useful geography revision resources to help you and which complement books such as The World is Flat.
Most Helpful Tips to Prepare for a Geography Exam
Are you a GCSE level or A-Level student afraid of the next geography exam? Assessments are not easy; they cause anxiety and stress in even the most academically successful student.
The pressure to receive their secondary school diploma and get accepted into the country's best universities forces many students to further their understanding of subjects that are not considered in the syllabus.
Therefore, what to do to control the stress and ensure success during examination periods?
To help future geographers remain calm and continue to enjoy geography, Superprof has sought the advice of experts to find the following most helpful tips to ace geography exams at a GCSE level or A-Level:
- Study Geography Every Single Day: it has been proven that a little bit of review every day is more effective than intense review sessions every couple of weeks. Therefore, to ace the impending exam it is essential to include a little bit of geographic information from recommended texts every day into your schedule. Start by reviewing world capitals or famous landmarks and then work your way into more complex topics such as climatology and medical geography.
- Stay Organised: having well-written and organised class notes are of the utmost importance to stay on track while studying. If you've missed a class, copy the notes of a classmate; failure to have the correct notes could result in losing essential marks. After reviewing your geography notes, highlight the critical sessions that may be questioned on the exam.
- Find a Quiet Place to Study: do you prefer to study in a crowded classroom with rowdy students or in a quiet office with no distractions? The answer is obvious. While some prefer to study in a room with background noise, the vast majority of people find that reviewing required coursework in a quiet room saves time; this cannot be stressed enough since it helps you concentrate, allows you to retain more information, and produces higher quality work.
- Break Up Study Topics Into Sections: do you get discouraged and procrastinate just by looking at the sheer amount of study material you need to review? You are not alone! However, an instructor would suggest that to ensure quality study sessions, breaking up topics into smaller sections is a smart decision; especially because geography is a layered subject with a lot to analyse. But how? For example, when reviewing human geography cut it down into subsections; first population geography, then economic geography, and so forth; this will help avoid discouragement and stimulate productivity.
By effectively applying the previously mentioned tips, students are preparing themselves for successful test scores.
Pathways After Studying Geography
Last, but not least, we've mentioned throughout this blog how employable you will be as a Geography postgrad, but what jobs can you expect to be suitable for in the future?
Prospects.ac.uk is a fantastic resource for students of all ages, explaining what they can expect during and after their education. Primarily focused on job prospects, it states that job options for Geography directly linked to a degree in the subject are:
- Commercial/residential surveyor
- Environmental consultant
- Geographical information systems officer
- Planning and development surveyor
- Secondary school teacher
- Town planner
That said, a skilled geographer can also benefit from having a skillset that will fit into most organisations and businesses, and a combined degree will boost this set of skills further.
In conclusion, it is important to remember the importance of revising for exams in order to achieve a certain level of excellence. There are a number of great geography revision websites which can be of use to you, and the books covered in this blog are also an excellent resource to help you prepare for any upcoming human and physical geography exams.