Design & Technology: Product Design | Surbiton High School
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Design & Technology: Product Design

Examination Board: AQA

The world of product design is very fast-paced, with new technologies and materials being introduced all the time, making it an exciting industry to be a part of. Good design is elegant, simple, effective and beautiful. Bad design can be complex, infuriating and dangerous, and it is the job of the modern designer to combine their technical knowledge with creative flair to design and make products which will meet users’ needs. This requires the designer to clearly identify the needs of the target market with detailed research and analysis before finalising a design brief and specification. They will then produce a wide range of ideas for evaluation before manufacturing a complete working prototype for testing by the target market.

This course will encourage students to research, design, develop and manufacture a range of useful and aesthetically pleasing products in a wide range of materials, and they will be given the opportunity to develop their creative, technical and practical skills through a series of product investigation, design and manufacturing activities. The students will become conversant with industry standard computer-aided design software and it will be integral to their designing activities. They will also be expected to consider sustainability, ethical, cultural and moral issues within their designing and making activities.

The students will learn a wide range of transferable skills as they will need to liaise with clients, show a high level of independent and creative thought, and manage their time efficiently in order to meet their project deadlines. Students who take this course will be well prepared for a wide range of excellent university product design and engineering-based courses.

While it would help if students have studied Design and Technology at GCSE level, this is not a prerequisite to starting the course.


Paper 1: Technical Principles

Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
120 marks
30% of A-level
Mixture of short answer and extended-response questions.

Paper 2: Designing and Making Principles

Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
80 marks
20% of A-level

Mixture of short answer and extended-response questions.
Section A
Product analysis: 30 marks
Up to 6 short answer questions based on visual stimulus of product(s).
Section B
Commercial manufacture: 50 marks
Mixture of short and extended-response questions.

Design and Make Assessed Project (NEA: Non-exam assessment)

Practical application of core technical principles, core designing and making principles, and additional specialist knowledge.
A substantial design and make project.
100 marks
50% of A-level
Written or digital design portfolio and photographic evidence of final prototype.

Former Pupil to Row at Olympics 2024



Lola Anderson