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GCSE Design and Technology

Examination Details AQA 8552

Course Specification available here

Assessment Details

1 controlled assignment (50%)
1 written examination (50%): 2 hours

All pupils are entered for the same tier.

Course Information

Year 10

Pupils will learn about the wide variety of theory based topics around the subject of Resistant Materials, Textiles, Systems and Control, Electronics and Graphics, as well as including elements of applied Science and Mathematics.  This will be delivered through a range of short practical based tasks and the completion of the homework booklet.  This booklet covers all of the elements within the subject area and comprises of separate homework tasks which will be put together to form a concise revision guide in the lead up to their examinations. 

Pupils will start their controlled assessment in the second half of the summer term, when the examination board releases the Non-Exam Assessment topics. 

Year 11

Pupils will complete their controlled assessment during the course of the two terms.  This will involve completing an 18 page A3 booklet covering all elements of the Design Process including a final practical product. Pupils can access a variety of guidance sheets through the Student Shared Area, which provides examples of how the work could be produced.  As the new course is following an iterative approach pupils are encouraged to follow their own design process.

Pupils will also complete a set of practice exam questions using the New Grade 9-1 GCSE Design & Technology AQA Exam Practice Workbook during their single period lessons, which will prepare them for their summer exams. (These books are available for purchase from Resources)

Examination - All questions must be answered

Section ACore technical principles (20 marks)

A mixture of multiple choice and short answer questions assessing a breadth of technical knowledge and understanding.

Section BSpecialist technical principles (30 marks)

Several short answer questions (2–5 marks) and one extended response to assess a more in depth knowledge of technical principles.

Section CDesigning and making principles (50 marks)

A mixture of short answer and extended response questions

Controlled Assessment (Coursework) Information

  • One piece of controlled assessment which will involve the design and manufacture of a product using a range of materials and a coursework folder (50% of final examination mark).
  • Space limitation of 20 sheets A3 paper (it is essential pupils are concise).
  • Emphasis on use of iterative design, ICT and drawing skills. Pupils must photograph their finished outcome and all stages of development and making
  • Tasks are completed under direct supervision
  • Pupils should try to be creative with designs & materials being used.

Assessment criteria:

  • Identifying and investigating design possibilities
  • Producing a design brief and specification
  • Generating design ideas
  • Developing design ideas
  • Realising design ideas
  • Analysing & evaluating

Additional Requirements:

  • All pupils will need an A3 folder to bring design work into each lesson, coloured pencils, rulers, fine fibre tip pens, 2H, HB, 2B pencils, etc.
  • Download free program ‘Google Sketch’ – use it to develop CAD drawing techniques

Steps to Success in GCSE D&T: Resistant Materials

  1. Ask another member of your family to proofread your work to check for mistakes.
  2. Meet all deadlines and ensure you act on teacher feedback to improve your work.
  3. Be concise.  Use a small font and only write relevant information.  DO NOT copy chunks of information from textbooks, or stick sheets in from the Internet – you must use your own words to show your understanding of the information.
  4. Attend GCSE clubs and ICT sessions for one-to-one support and advice.
  5. Use a variety of presentation techniques within your project (including ICT).
  6. Use the preparation sheet to help you fully prepare for the exam.  Study the contents and pictures carefully (these are usually an excellent indication of what may appear in the exam).
  7. Read the whole paper first (one question usually leads on to the next).
  8. Read each question carefully and then underline key points.  Never leave spaces (always make a guess at the answer).
  9. Check how many marks are available for each question and make sure you have given one fact for every mark.
  10. Remember to bring a pencil, ruler, rubber, calculator, pair of compasses and colouring pencils.

Useful Resources:

New Grade 9-1 GCSE Design & Technology AQA Revision Guide - CGP Books ISBN: 9781782947523

New Grade 9-1 GCSE Design & Technology AQA Exam Practice Workbook - CGP Books ISBN: 9781782947523

AQA GCSE (9-1) Design and Technology – M.J.Ross - PG Online ISBN: 978-1-910523-10-0

AQA GCSE (9-1) Design and Technology: All Material Categories and Systems - Bryan Williams, Louise Attwood, Pauline Treuherz, Dave Larby, Ian Fawcett, Dan Hughes – Hodder Education ISBN: 9781510401082