Exam Board Entry Requirements Subject Leader
AQA Grade 6 in GCSE Graphic Products or Technology
Mr I Garrod

A-level Design and Technology: Product Design requires students to engage in both practical and theoretical study. This specification requires students to cover design and technology skills and knowledge as set out below. These have been separated into: 

  • technical principles 
  • designing and making principles.

This creative and thought-provoking qualification also gives students the practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to succeed in a number of careers. Especially those in the creative industries. They will investigate historical, social, cultural, environmental and economic influences on design and technology, whilst enjoying opportunities to put their learning in to practice by producing prototypes of their choice. Students will gain a real understanding of what it means to be a designer, alongside the knowledge and skills sought by higher education and employers. 



This qualification has two main components and is linear. Linear means that students will sit all their exams and submit all their non-exam assessment at the end of the course.  

  • Paper 1: Technical Principles
    Technical principles are a written exam of 2 hours and 30 minutes’ duration. It is worth 120 marks and forms 30% of A level. The questions are a mixture of short answer and extended responses.
  • Paper 2: Designing and Making Principles

    Designing and making principles is a paper of 1 hour and 30 minutes duration and is worth 80 marks, which will form 20% of the A-level. Questions are a mixture of short answer and extended response questions. It is made up of the following elements: 

    • Section A: Product Analysis
      This section is worth 30 marks and covers up to 6 short answer questions based on visual stimulus of product(s).

    • Section B: Commercial Manufacture
      This section is worth 50 marks and is comprised of a mixture of short and extended response questions.
  • Non-Exam Assessment (NEA)
    The NEA is a practical application of technical principles, designing and making principles. It consists of a Substantial design and make project worth 100 marks which forms 50% of the A level and is evidenced in the form of a portfolio and final prototype. 


Skills and commitment

The A level will set out the knowledge, understanding and skills required to undertake the iterative design process of exploring, creating and evaluating. The majority of the specification will be delivered through the practical application of this knowledge and understanding based around themes. Students will be expected to spend some of their study time in the DT department in addition to their timetabled classes.


Progression into Higher Education/Vocational Destinations

The knowledge, understanding and skills gained in a course such as this will be a great benefit to students pursuing further studies, in their personal lives and in the world of work. The course encourages an awareness and understanding of economic, political, social and environmental factors relevant to this subject. Many students have successfully progressed to universities to study Product and Industrial design.

The AS and A2 are designed to offer candidates opportunities to study, propose and realise prototype solutions closely linked to the real world of product and system manufacture. Career prospects are excellent and it has opened doors to computer programming, electrical engineering, product design, industrial design, architecture and Formula 1.