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Considering Design Technology GCSE or A level? Read our FAQ here watch

    • TSR Support Team
    • Thread Starter

    TSR Support Team
    Are you considering taking any Design Technology course as a GCSE or A level option? Read below for more information to help educate your decision!

    What skills are useful for design technology courses?
    Design Technology courses use a multitude of skills from practical skills to logic, to written skills. Any of these skills are a useful prequisite, although they will also be developed throughout the course.

    What is the workload like?
    Due to the larger non exam assessment element in almost all design technology courses than most other GCSE courses, the workload during the course may be higher than most, however this usually results in a reduced workload during exam season as a larger percentage is already completed through your non exam assessment.

    What sort of topics will be studied?
    This varies significantly depending on if you're taking a specialised course, or a general course with a specialised element.
    Topics that are very likely on any course to be studied include:
    Materials and their properties/uses
    Manufacturing-methods, advantages, disadvantages etc.
    Energy/Power- types, best usage
    Commonly used parts
    Sustainability-environment, people, culture etc.
    Industry as a whole
    Modern Technologies

    How will it be assessed?
    Most of the design technology courses have around 40-50% non-exam assessment. This is where you will plan, make and write about a product to meet a brief set by the exam board.
    The remaining 50-60% will be written assessment. On product design based courses it will be partly the core knowledge, and partly your specialism. For other courses, such as engineering courses it will be entirely based on this! You will be expected to answer many different types of questions from short answer questions, to product design based on a brief.

    What is it useful for post-GCSE?
    Naturally, these types of courses are good for progression into similar courses at A level. They also allow you to show that you have a variety of skills, since they require skills which few other GCSE courses will use.

    A level (new specification)
    What are common requirements for Design Technology Courses
    Common requirements for A level include:
    3/4 in GCSE Mathematics
    3/4 in GCSE English Language
    6 in Art/Design subject if taken
    For electronics/engineering routes a higher maths grade is likely to be required, along with a 6/7 in physics.
    Requirements are different depending on the school/college, so check with your chosen sixth form if you are unsure what the requirements are

    How is A level different to GCSE?
    A level will continue to develop any skills used in the equivalent GCSE course. You will learn about the topics in more depth, including new methods and usually more focus on the industry. In the non exam assessment you will be expected to work more independently to plan, design, make and evaluate your product.

    What sort of topics will be studied?
    Generally, you will study the same topics as at GCSE, but in more depth. However there are also some additional topics. This means you will usually study these topics, plus some specialist extras if applicable:
    Materials, their uses and properties
    Manufacturing methods-where, why and how they are used
    Energy/Power- types, best usage
    Analysis of existing products
    Sustainability-environment, people, culture etc.
    Health and Safety
    Industry as a whole
    Design processes
    Modern Technologies

    What is the workload like?
    Similar to GCSE, the workload to these type subjects are usually quite different to most other A levels. While you will probably commit the same time throughout the course, it will be much time consuming around the time of any non exam assessment you do rather than exams.

    How will it be assessed?
    Most courses are 50% non exam assessment and 50% exam.
    Within the non exam assessment, you will be expected to make and document the plan, design, development, making and evaluation of a product which meets the brief the exam board provides.
    For the exam, you will be expected to be able to apply your knowledge both from your theory lessons and from making products to answer short, extended and product design questions.

    What is it useful for post-A Level?
    This totally depends on which strand you take! If you take something like graphics, it can be used to go into graphic design, media, advertising or many other areas.
    Similarly, if you take something like systems/electronics/engineering then it can be used to go into these types of areas.
    Textiles can be used to go into anything fashion related such as costume design or many other areas.

    If you have any more questions, you can ask in the thread below and we'll try and help
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