Art & Design

The most important thing to remember about GCSE Art, Craft and Design is that EVERY piece of artwork that you do, whether it’s drawing, sculpture, photography, annotation or something different, counts towards your final mark.

Revision Advice

Artwork produced in sketchbooks, on boards or separate sheets of paper, at home or in school, is equally valuable and equally key to your success in both the Portfolio and Externally Set Assignment components of the GCSE course.

You will receive your Externally Set Assignment in January of Year 11 and you will immediately begin your period of preparatory study.  ALL of the artwork produced during this time effectively becomes your ‘revision’ as this is where you showcase your skills and abilities.  Replace the word ‘revise’ with PRACTISE or CREATE and this will help you to understand more clearly.

To be successful during the preparatory period you need to show your ability to work independently, within specific time constraints and using all four of the assessment objectives.


  • Don’t be a sheep and follow the flock! Come up with your OWN ideas, designs and artwork that are UNIQUE and PERSONAL to you.
  • Don’t wait to be ‘told’ what to do next. Take the initiative and TRY something for yourself. If it works – brilliant!  If it doesn’t –move on and try something else.  It’s all evidence of experimentation and refinement for AO2.
  • Do produce work outside of school. This will help to increase the volume of work produced but it’ll also encourage your work to be different.
  • Do take the initiative to visit places and collect resources/take photographs that you can work from. This could be galleries, workplaces, museums or locations that feature in your artwork. This adds to your contextual understanding for AO1 and recording for AO3.


  • Do produce something new EVERY WEEK. You have a large workload during the preparatory period. Pace yourself, and make the most of your time as you go along.
  • Do attend the additional after school and lunchtime sessions available to you. This will not only help you to keep up with work, but will also allow you the opportunity to use art equipment that you may not have access to outside of school.
  • Don’t leave it all until the last minute! The closer to the exam you get, the more pressure you’ll be under to juggle artwork with your other studies.


Make sure to equally address all four of the Assessment Objectives in your artwork:

AO1 – Contextual Understanding – This includes:  Artist research, visits to galleries and museums, annotation including your own opinions, your copies of their work or your own artwork in response to theirs.

AO2 – Creative Making – This includes:  Experiments using a range of art materials, techniques and styles, obvious improvement and refinement of designs or ideas.

AO3 – Reflective Recording – This includes:  Detailed drawings and artwork, your own photographs and annotations that explain your ideas.

AO4 – Personal Presentation – This is your FINAL PIECE and will be the culmination of ALL of the work produced.

Useful Websites

Exam Specification and Past Exam papers

For more information, please read the exam specification and practice using past exam papers.