Design Technology

Exam Board: AQA
Syllabus Number: 8552

What will I be studying?

During this practical and creative course, students will have the opportunity to explore a range of materials using both technological and traditional manufacturing methods. The use of computer aided design and computer aided manufacture will be incorporated using the full range of modern facilities available in the Design and Technology Faculty.

Pupils will gain a base knowledge of a wide range of material areas including papers and boards, metal based materials, textile based materials, and electronic and mechanical systems. There will be two material areas which students will specialise in, gaining more in depth knowledge those are wood based materials and polymer based materials.

How will I be assessed?

The assessment pattern incorporates the following in a 50% – 50% split between written examination and internally assessed project work (NEA, non-exam assessment).

Written examination

What’s assessed?

  • Core technical principles
  • Specialist technical principles
  • Designing and making principles

How it’s assessed

  • Written exam: 2 hours
  • 100 marks
  • 50% of GCSE


Section A – Core technical principles (20 marks). A mixture of multiple choice and short answer questions assessing a breadth of technical knowledge and understanding.

Section B – Specialist 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 C – Designing and making principles (50 marks).

A mixture of short answer and extended response questions including a 12-mark design question.

Non-Exam Assessment (NEA)

What’s assessed?

Substantial design and make task. Assessment criteria: Investigating, Designing, Making. Analysing and Evaluating. Students will produce a working prototype and a portfolio of evidence (max 20 pages).

How it’s assessed

Non-exam assessment (NEA): 30–35 hours approx.
100 marks. 50% of GCSE.

Is there anything else I need to know about this subject course?

This course will appeal to those students who have an interest in any of the following: design, engineering, creativity, problem solving and working practically in a range of materials.