Study Resources

What does it take to get a H1 in Higher Level Geography?

Keith Longworth, past student from The Institute of Education who achieved a H1 in Leaving Cert higher level geography, explains how he got top marks in the exam.

Use past papers

Design your study around the exam format and you can’t go wrong. In my experience, past papers should be your best friend.

Make an ‘SRP book’

In my experience, making a ‘SRP book’ is a good approach. This is an A4 pad with every SRP topic that you wish to cover inside. Remember, it is essential to keep everything in its correct section, otherwise the information will become muddled and it will be ineffective.

All your relevant information is now in one easy to reach place.  It also means you’re learning the SRP topics in your own words rather than a teacher’s.

You can apply the ‘SRP book’ technique to all essay sections of the exam. Essentially this A4 pad allows you to have every SRP topic you want to cover from Section 1 right through to your option essay titles in section 3.

As you get closer to the exam, having ‘trigger words’ for each SRP allows you to be able to recall an SRP without having to learn a whole sentence.


Always keep timing in mind. The geography exam requires good exam timing. So always be aware of how long you spend on each question.

Reaction to 2023 Geography Exam

Each year, our exceptional teachers give their take on the Leaving Certificate higher level exam papers.

See what Michael Doran, geography teacher at The Institute of Education, had to say about the 2023 higher level paper in this short video.

To view reactions to previous year’s exam papers check out the videos below or visit our YouTube channel.

Sample Notes

Students who attend The Institute of Education are provided with exclusive, exam-focussed study notes to support their home study and revision. Below are a sample of the high-quality geography notes they receive.

“Don’t be limited by the textbook!”

Michael Doran, Geography teacher at The Institute of Education, explains what you can do to maximise your grade in the exam this June.

As Michael explains, Geography is a living subject that is happening all around us. The textbook is a good basis, but that’s all it is. If you want to perform really well in the exam, make sure you can draw on examples and events that have occurred recently in the real world.

Top Tips

Jim Carberry, former geography teacher at The Institute of Education, shares his secrets to exam success.

Plan your study

  • Identify topics to concentrate on.
  • Cover all the major topics – don’t try to predict what will be examined.
  • Don’t neglect Section 1 (short questions). Attempt all the past papers in this section and practice the required skills e.g. map reading, reading weather maps etc.
  • In Section 1, some of the questions will come from Core Unit 1 (Physical Environment) and Core Unit 2 (Regional Geography), so detailed study is required.

Select keywords & phrases

  • When you read your notes on a topic, select key words or phrases which will help you to remember what the topic is about.
  • Make a topic summary by placing the core theme or topic title in the centre then draw lines from the centre and write sub-themes at the end of the lines. Along each line write the key words or phrases linked to the sub-theme.

Practice skills & techniques

  • Practice answering questions from past papers. Time yourself and see if you can write an answer in the required time.
  • The first part of most questions requires the drawing of sketch maps or reading statistics or drawing graphs. These cannot be learned by merely seeing examples or reading about them. It is essential to practice drawing them.

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