February 9, 2018


GCSE Design and Technology: Product Design enables students to design and make products with creativity and orginality, using a range of materials and techniques. Packaging, labelling and instructions are encouraged as part of the complete design proposal and advertising, points of sale can be used to supplement the making experience and help create products which can be evaluated for their commercial viability. This course has 60 per cent controlled assessment in order to recognise the importance of practical work within this subject.

Student Experience


What do you enjoy about the subject?

Claire: It’s creative and free so you don’t have to follow a specific model of what you want to do.

Jeslyn: I think the part that I like the most about DT is that you get to learn new skills, like you get to become more fluent with photoshop and CAD (Computer Aided Design) and things like that.


What is the most challenging thing about the subject?

Jeslyn: You have to keep to deadlines, they are very important. If you don’t keep to deadlines, that’s when our coursework grade starts to decrease. But what about you?

Claire: Time management, because if you get a load of homework from DT, you might need to go to the workshop during lunchtimes and then you have homework from other subjects so- time.

Jeslyn: Also keeping track of the process is a very important aspect of your coursework because if you don’t keep track of the process- even if you have a process- if it’s not in your coursework, you will never get a grade for it. So that’s very important.


Why did you choose this subject?

Jeslyn: I chose this subject because the science and technology industry- like the STEM industry (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths)- that we have right now is really expanding, that’s why I think it’s very beneficial to take a subject like this. But when I was in year 9 I really enjoyed the subject so I took it.


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

Jeslyn: Definitely more workload, more stress. You require a higher level of critical thinking which also ties into your process, but I think like that comes with age.

Claire: Also you get to do more practicals as opposed to just theory and homework so that’s good.


What do lessons look like?

Jeslyn: For writing, as in the theory paper, it’s very much like answering structured questions so again your critical thinking comes into play, as well as a bit of your grammar skill. As for independent work, for like DT, you do a lot of independent work like about studying as well as your own process, practicals and your coursework. And mostly collaborating with yourself and the teacher, that’s about it.

Claire: In the workshop it’s nicer to just work with a few friends you know.


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

Jeslyn: I’d say about, if you wanted to keep yourself on track, consistently three to four hours a week of both coursework and a bit of theory.


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

Jeslyn: A lot of CAD (Computer Aided Design) is required; you will naturally have to use illustrator because of the laser cutter in our school; you will have to learn how to use photoshop; you will pick up a lot of researching skills and again your thinking skills.

Claire: You learn how the stuff is made and you gain some design skills so that’s nice to have in case you’re ever going into design and architecture.

Jeslyn: And DT is a lot about making the product for the customer, and even though you may not be in a manufacturing line or anything, that skill is required in every industry for every person so it’s very useful to have.


Do you have any tips for new Design Technology students?

Jeslyn: You have to be dedicated, be committed, you can’t cut corners.

Claire: Try not to procrastinate, do your homework- meet your deadlines, double check your work- including measurements.

Jeslyn: Your teacher will be your best advice that you can get, so if you are stuck, go to your teacher, that’ll be the best thing you will ever do.


How do you study for the subject?

Jeslyn: The textbook is so-so, I do more on research online- like the internet is very useful. I use flashcards and I tend to do this thing where I do a write up of all the processes in manufacturing that you need to know for theory and I make sure I understand them as opposed to memorising them because for DT it’s very hard for you to memorise something that is very foreign to you so it’s better to understand.

Claire: I mostly just take notes and if there’s something I don’t understand- the internet, there are revision guides in the DT labs, and the teacher is always a good help.


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

Claire: Physics is actually more of a support, like it’s good to know, and also maybe bio and chem- but taking all three sciences might be a bit much, so take whatever science you want.

Jeslyn: For me, DT overlaps with everything because you’re dealing with the materials- science, your customers- which link to like business and economics, and your aesthetic which links to like art.

DT is very logical so if you do something with a process and a method, everything will turn out okay.

Overview by Miss Booth


Describe your subject in three words

It’s creative, it’s hard work, and it’s a lot of time management.


What are the top 3 skills needed to successful in your subject?

I think to be successful in this: you need to be able to manage your time; you need to be able to solve problems fairly independently; and you need to be able to think really critically about your own work and the work of others.


How does your subject promote personal development?

Personally, I think the skills that you will develop through this course would be: critical thinking; you would be able to think about the design- being able to solve problems as well, (so if you’re not good at that to start with- this is something that would really help you); and personally, you will be able to work in teams and you will be able to work independently as well.


How does your subject promote professional development?

The careers that this course could kind of carry you in would be anything design based. So that could be from architecture, to interior design, to product design, all the way through to engineering- electrical engineering. You could do almost anything, really, if you’re thinking about design-based careers, this is a great standing point for you.


What’s the best thing about your subject?

I think that it’s really fun. I think it’s a great chance for you to work with your hands- to be really hands-on- to really experiment, and be really creative. And you have fifty percent of your course done before you walk into that exam.

Papers in (I)GCSE DT Product Design


Component 1: Written Paper

2 hours

40% of total marks

120 marks

Candidates answer all questions in two sections

Pre-Release material issued 


Component 2: Design and Making Practice

Approximately 45 hours

60% of total marks

90 marks

Consists of a single design and make activity selected from a range of board set tasks

For assessments and subject awards after June 2013 there is a requirement that 100% of the assessment is terminal.


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