National 5 Geography
The National 5 Geography Course develops a range of geographical skills and techniques. Learners gain a detailed understanding of the ways in which people and the environment interact in response to physical and human processes at local, national, international and global scales.
Updates and announcements
- October 2016 subject update (265 KB)
- May 2016 subject update (188 KB)
- October 2015 subject update (301 KB)
- August 2015 subject update (92 KB)
- May 2015 subject update (188 KB)
- January 2015 subject update - Advanced Higher (486 KB)
- September 2014 update letter (328 KB)
- Special Edition Update June 2014 (152 KB)
- September 2013 update letter
Changes to assessment in the National 5 course from session 2017-18
Following the Deputy First Minister’s announcement that units and unit assessments will be removed from National 5 to Advanced Higher courses, we are strengthening the course assessment to ensure it covers the full content of the course.
The following summary provides a quick look at what is needed to strengthen the course assessment in your National 5 course. These changes will take effect from session 2017-18 onwards. More detailed information will be provided in the revised Course Specifications, which will be available by the end of April 2017.
There will be no change to the assignment; however the revised Course Specification will provide further clarification on the conditions for assessment.
The assignment will continue to be worth 20 marks and will now be worth 20% of the course assessment.
Changes to exam
The question paper will be extended to include more questions and the number of marks will increase from 60 marks to 80. The duration of the exam will therefore also increase.
Candidates will be asked to answer questions on physical environments (including a choice from two questions relating to the type of landscape studied) and human environments. Candidates will also answer two questions, from a choice of six, on global issues.
The exam will now be worth 80% of the course assessment.
Reasons for these changes
The question paper is being extended to ensure it samples a greater amount of course content, following the removal of units.
The clarification of the conditions of assessment for the assignment, and the adjustment of the component weightings, will enhance the reliability of the course assessment.
This explains the overall structure of the Course, including its purpose and aims and information on the skills, knowledge and understanding that will be developed.
Course Assessment Specification
This explains the structure of the Course assessment; including the type and method of assessment. It also includes information on Course coverage.
- N5 Geography Course Assessment Specification
These provide an outline of what each Unit will cover within the Course and detail the Outcomes and Assessment Standards.
- Geography: Human Environments (National 5) Unit Specification
- Geography: Global Issues (National 5) Unit Specification
- Geography: Physical Environments (National 5) Unit Specification
Advice and guidance
Course and Unit Support Notes
These provide advice and guidance for teachers/lecturers on learning, teaching and assessment within the Course and its Units.
The following document contains the Course Support Notes and the Unit Support Notes for this Course. They can be printed together or separately.
Past Papers and Marking Instructions
Specimen Question Papers and Marking Instructions
These illustrate the standard, structure and requirements of the question papers learners will sit. These also include marking instructions.
- Geography Specimen Question Paper National 5
- Geography Specimen Question Paper National 5 OS Map Item A Dingwall Area
- Geography Specimen Question Paper National 5 OS Map Item B Coventry
- Geography Specimen Question Paper National 5 (Gaelic Medium)
Hodder Education have produced sets of additional model papers that include copies of our Specimen Question Papers, and are available to buy.
The National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS) have also produced National 5 Revision in a Nutshell documents to help learners prepare for National 5 exams.
General assessment information provides instructions for the conduct of coursework, an overview of the assessment task, evidence to be gathered and general marking instructions.
Coursework assessment tasks provide the live assessment task, including marking instructions and instructions for candidates. Teachers/lecturers can access these confidential documents through their SQA Co-ordinator.
- General assessment information for National 5 Geography
Information on the production and submission of SQA-assessed coursework for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher.
Unit Assessment Support
These documents contain details of Unit assessment task(s), show approaches to gathering evidence and how the evidence can be judged against the Outcomes and Assessment Standards. Teachers/lecturers can arrange access to these confidential documents through their SQA Co-ordinator.
Understanding Standards materials
We are publishing examples of candidate evidence with commentaries as part of our Understanding Standards programme. These materials are for teachers and lecturers to help them develop their understanding of the standards required for assessment. As these materials become available, they are being published in the following locations:
- Available from our secure website Materials relating to Unit assessment, internally assessed components of Course assessment, and externally assessed components of Course assessment which are subject to visiting assessment. Teachers and lecturers can arrange access to these materials through their SQA Co-ordinator.
- Available from our Understanding Standards website Materials relating to externally assessed components of Course assessment, with the exception of those subject to visiting assessment.
More information on our Understanding Standards programme, can be found on our Understanding Standards page.
Verification and Course Reports
There was no Round 2 verification activity at this level in 2016.