This article examines the impact of applied metacognition on the development of geographical causal structures by students in the geography classroom. For that, three different metacognitive strategies were designed: a. action plan, activating meta-knowledge prior to problem-solving and simultaneously visualizing action steps for dealing with the task (A); b. circular thinking (C), a loop-like, question-guided procedure applied during the problem-solving process that supports and controls content-related and linguistic cognition processes; c. reflexion (R), aiming at evaluating the effectivity and efficiency of applied problem-solving heuristics after the problem-solving process and developing strategies for dealing with future tasks. These strategies were statistically tested and assessed as to their effectiveness on the development of complex geographical causal structures via a quasi-experimental pre-posttest design. It can be shown that metacognitive strategies strongly affect students’ creation of causal structures, which depict a multitude of elements and relations at a high degree of interconnectedness, thus enabling a contentually and linguistically coherent representation of system-specific properties of the human–environment system. On the basis of the discussion of the results, it will be demonstrated that metacognitive strategies can provide a significant contribution to initiating systemic thinking-competences and what the implications might be on planning and teaching geography lessons.