Art & Design


The GCSE Art ‘Exam’ is very different to other subjects. The final two-day (10-hour) exam is the conclusion of 10 weeks of preparation work, developing from and responding to a chosen title. The aim of this preparation is to show the student’s development of ideas, research and understanding of artists and concepts, experimentation with media, techniques and processes, and their ability to make a personal and informed response that effectively and creatively conveys their ideas.




You should discuss your ideas with your teacher before deciding on your starting point.
You should make sure that any materials or equipment which you might need are available before you start your exam. You should take all your preparatory work into the examination sessions.

You should look at examples of the work of other artists, craftspeople and/or designers as part of your research.

You may work on further supporting studies until you have completed your final piece(s). You may use any appropriate medium, method(s) and materials, unless the question states otherwise.

Art Exam Prep = Homework & Classwork:

Your prep work should take the viewer on your creative journey from initial ideas to finished piece(s) via experimentation, drawing, research and analysis.

We would expect at least five full (carefully presented) A1 design boards, or 10 A2 boards or a full A3 sketchbook by the time you reach the exam (Yes, a lot of work!).

Come to every lesson prepared with everything you need in order to work effectively during class time (images printed out etc.).

Weeks One/two

  • Decide on your title, discuss your ideas with you teacher and create a detailed mind map exploring all possibilities (creative connections, not just the obvious).
  • Research two or more relevant artists; gather contextual information and secondary source images.
  • Start taking your own photographs and sketching ideas and observations (primary sources).
  • Create a rough statement of intent (i.e. what are you intending to do in this project). This may change over the weeks and you will need to reflect on these changes.
  • Start to show how your ideas are developing.

(PLAN YOUR TIME –don’t waste time and space on a huge, beautiful title – hardly any marks)

Weeks Three & four

  • Show further development of ideas, and more primary source images (e.g. photos printed out, large sketches, models etc.). These should be neatly presented and annotated.
  • Show experiments with a range of appropriate media, scale and techniques. Remember all the techniques you have learnt already – practice and refine these – and show the process and your refinement.
  • Demonstrate in-depth visual and written analysis of your own and your artists’ work and make personal connections between them (see annotation & critical writing guide).
  • Write up contextual research in your own words (remember to acknowledge all sources used, include the name of the artist, date and title of any work reproduced).

Weeks five to nine

  • Develop alternative composition and design ideas. Try these in different medias. Ensure that you have experimented thoroughly with the media that you intend to use for your final exam piece.
  • You must showplan for your final piece – show how you have modified and refined your ideas – create a full sized sketch or model that includes colour and tone (if relevant).
  • Before the exam you may prepare an undercoat (if you are working on board or canvas etc.) but leave the drawing until the exam itself. Discuss 3D work with your teacher.
  • Your work should be personal and original but informed by the work of the artists that you have researched. Do not copy their work in your final piece.




Extra art classes available Thursdays from 3.15 – 4.30

Coursework and Exam work are marked according to the same assessment objectives:

  • AO1 Develop your ideas through investigations informed by contextual and other sources demonstrating analytical and cultural understanding.
  • AO2Refine your ideas through experimenting and selecting appropriate resources, media, materials, techniques and processes.
  • AO3Record ideas, observations and insights relevant to your intentions in visual and/or other forms.
  • AO4 Present a personal, informed and meaningful response demonstrating analytical and critical understanding, realising intentions and making appropriate connections to artists’ work and relevant research.

Coursework = 60% of total marks

Your coursework units are Landscape and the Environment (including Y10 mock exam and close to home project), Natural Forms (mini shells project), and Messages (Y11 mock exam/ coursework). Response to all assessment objectives required in coursework as a whole.

Controlled Test (exam project) = 40% of total marks

Your exam paper will contain seven titles. You will choose one of these.

Preparatory period: nine weeks (not including Easter holidays)

Exam papers given 2 February. Your Exam board is AQA.

Exam dates w/c 2 May 2017 - two days (10 hours) to produce final outcome.

Your work must fulfil all four of the assessment objectives above.

During your preparatory period you will research, investigate and develop your ideas. Your work during this period could be in sketchbooks, journals, design sheets, or any other appropriate form of preparation (e.g. 3D work, video work etc). We recommend working on A1 or A2 design boards, as they display well and allow you to present your work in a way that shows connection between your ideas. These will, however, have to be at your own expense (Black A1 mount board £1.20 from art dpt.). It may be best for you to work in a sketchbook and assemble on the mount board at a later stage. A3 or A2 sketchbooks are a good portable alternative (best to work on one side of page only).

The work submitted for this examination must be your own unaided work.
You must hand in your final piece(s) and all the preparatory work at the end of the examination.
All your work, including the work done during the preparatory period, will be marked out of 80.


School Resources

The PowerPoint containing possible artists and approaches relating to each title on the question paper is available for you to download on the Shared area.

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