The Cambridge IGCSE Art & Design syllabus aims to encourage a personal response by stimulating imagination, sensitivity, conceptual thinking, powers of observation and analytical ability. Learners gain confidence and enthusiasm as they develop technical skills in two and three dimensional form and composition, and are able to identify and solve problems in visual and tactile forms. They also learn how to develop ideas from initial attempts to final solutions. An ideal foundation for further study, Cambridge IGCSE Art & Design also develops a greater awareness of the role played by the visual arts in society and in history, broadening cultural horizons and individual experience. 

Student experience


What do you enjoy about the subject?

Aina: What I enjoy most about art is that it’s really chill because first of all, the teachers are really chill and secondly, art itself is really chill if you’re good at it and you have a passion for it. So you don’t have to stress out about what you have to do and how long it’s going to take to do it and stuff like that.

Pei Yin: What I enjoy the most about the subject is [that] I don’t have to study for it. For physics- those science subjects and those business subjects- you have to study and revise for it but for art you only need the passion and the skills.

Reena: For art for year 10, it’s less of a rushed thing compared to biology and chemistry where you have to learn it unit by unit so it’s a lot more chill and relaxed as well.


What is the most challenging about the subject?

Aina: I think the most challenging things are definitely the deadlines and the pace at which you go. Art by itself is a very relaxing subject so you may find yourself not quick enough to do the work and then at the last minute you’ll realise you have 2 or 3 sheets left to do. This has happened to me before but yeah, that’s the most challenging thing- time.

Pei Yin: For year 11 the most challenging thing is again, the deadlines and time and also writing up evaluations. The amount of evaluations must be more than 100 and less than 1000 so it’s kind of hard for us to manage that.

Reena: For year 10 I don’t find anything challenging yet. We’re just testing out all the techniques and whatnot.

Aina: Let’s emphasise on ‘yet’

Pei Yin: They’re still young.


Why did you choose this subject?

All: We love art!


Was there anything in the subject that was different from your initial expectations? What were the main changes from year 9?

Aina: Not really.

Pei Yin: Nope.

Reena: Nah.

Pei Yin: It’s just the time management.

Aina: Yeah, that part you don’t really see coming because like I said earlier, it’s a very relaxing subject but i think the teachers did a really good job of explaining what is going to be in the syllabus and what was expected of us during the career talks and stuff from earlier. Yeah.

Pei Yin and Reena: Yeah.


What do lessons look like in terms of writing, independent study, collaboration, assessment etc?

Pei Yin: For writing, as I said you need to write evaluations for every single [piece of] artwork that you do. Evaluation, evaluation, evaluation- it’s always evaluation.

Reena: In terms of independent study, I don’t think you really do any independent studying. It’s more in class. You just do it.

Aina: As for collaboration I’d say that art classes have the best collaboration because your grades will not depend on how others act like how drama is. It’s more of discussion and people telling their opinions on your artwork and your opinions and stuff like that. As for assessment I will say this though, it’s very subjective I would say. The best thing you can do is tick off all the checklists that are in the syllabus that is required of you. But ultimately art is very subjective in itself


How much homework or independent study will I be doing a week in this subject?

Aina: It really depends on the speed at which you work in class because most of the time the homework will just be finishing what you haven’t finished or evaluating what you haven’t evaluated or maybe finding new artists which inspire you but these are usually one of the easy [pieces of] homework. You can just go on instagram and find stuff on the explore page.

Pei Yin: For year 11 the homework that we get is to do research on the topic that you want to do for your coursework or starting your introduction and just finishing unfinished work.

Reena: For year 10 the teachers will give you a certain to research about so you just research about that topic for homework.


What are the skills or knowledge you can develop in this subject and why are they useful?

Aina: Well the first very obvious one is that you develop your art skills. If you start in IGs and end in A-Levels you really get to see the progress that you make not only with what you’re actually drawing but also your evaluations etc. You also learn time management (supposedly). I’ve done 4 years of art and I still have terrible time management. Am I supposed to say that?

Reena: Yeah, it’s fine.

Pei Yin: You get to improve your art skills and one specific type of skill you can use. If you are good in pen and do more work in pen, then your pen skills will improve.

Reena: ‘Pen skills’


Any tips for the newly entering students?

Reena: For year 10 I would say to get on the good side of your teachers. If we have due dates, then they might give us that bit of extra time. You don’t get (? 5:10) though.

Pei Yin: Just have fun and enjoy your ‘free time’

Aina: On the more technical side, I’d like to say take this time to explore new stuff that you haven’t been familiar with before. The art classrooms have so many resources that are so expensive and you won’t be able to get these easily, like oil paint or copic markers and stuff.


How do you study for the subject?

Pei Yin: Find inspiration.

Aina: Just do your art. Just draw.

Reena: You don’t really have independent study. Just do it!

Pei Yin: Just draw.

Aina: Just draw.


Will taking any other subject help me to be successful in this one?

Pei Yin: Taking DT helps you in art because in DT you also learn art stuff like drawing, line perspective, circles and more and you don’t learn that in art. So yeah, DT. Don’t take it.

Aina: However I would advise that DT may help art but it is very very stressful to do both because they both have a lot of coursework to do.

Pei Yin: The coursework is A LOT. A lot of coursework.

Overview by Ms. Hasan


Art & Design at IGCSE is really fun, it’s really challenging and it’s a really good way to express yourself. You basically need to have an interest in art. You should be passionate about the subject. You need a lot of dedication to develop your ideas and to basically take initial ideas and then develop them into a final outcome. You get to experiment with lots of media, lots of techniques and take a lot of creative risks. IGCSE allows you to work from things you see. It allows you to work from things are close to you, that you are passionate about and it creates visual awareness and critical understanding of the subject. It also gives you the ability to identify problems and to problem solve.


There are lots of careers that you can go into after IGCSE art. There’s architecture, there are a lot of design fields, there’s animation. You can work for art galleries, you can be professional artists, you can go into teaching. I think the best thing about the Art & Design course is that it allows you a lot of choice so you get to choose topics that you are interested in and you get to work very very creatively and uniquely.


Papers in IGCSE Art & Design


Component 4: Coursework

50% of total mark

Students choose their own topic. They start by observing and creating observation drawings, experimenting with different media and researching other artists for inspiration. From this, they plan and complete a final piece of artwork.


Component 1: Broad-based assignment

50% of total mark

Same format as coursework project, but smaller in size. Students receive starting points from CIE to choose from. Students create their own work based one one of the stimuli to prepare for their 8 hour exam where they will do their final painting.


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