A – Level Product Design

As Level Product Design helps students take a broad view of design and technology, develop their capacity to design and make products and appreciate the complex relations between design, materials, manufacture and marketing. 

AQA have refreshed and enhanced the content of the new AS and A-level courses, while retaining what you like about the outgoing specifications. They are modern and relevant, so students can learn about contemporary technologies, materials and processes, as well as established practices.  

The new qualifications place greater emphasis on understanding and applying iterative design processes. Students will use their creativity and imagination to design and make prototypes that solve real and relevant problems, considering their own and others needs, wants and values.

How Long is the Course and When Will it Start?

AS 1 year

A level 2 years

Entry Requirements

Grade 5 and above in Art/Graphics or Design Technology GCSE

What will I study?

You will build on your existing knowledge from GCSE Product Design / Design Technology by applying the key principles to the AS or A level course such as your understanding of materials (woods, metals and plastics), Adhesives, design principles, processes and designers and art movements who influenced the design world as a whole. Computer based skills such as CAD.

In addition, there needs to be a clear understanding of marketing and the concept of global marketing. Product development and improvement. Enterprise and marketing in the development of products alongside art and design. Design communication and Design theory will need to be researched and evidenced. 

You must also demonstrate maths and science skills due to the technical demands of designing and making both porotypes and final products.

You will need to be an independent learner who is capable of making decisions and working in a timely fashion.  You will choose from a number of set tasks given by AQA at the start of the academic year, which will be your own project that is facilitated by your teacher.  This will form half of your overall grade.  The second half will be from an externally set exam set by AQA towards the end of the academic year.

How will I be taught and assessed? 

You will be taught by a practitioner who has industry experience and has taught for over a number of years.

Paper 1 
What’s assessedTechnical principlesDesigning and making principles
How it’s assessedWritten exam: 1 hour 30 minutes80 marks50% of AS 
QuestionsShort answer and extended response.
Non-Exam Assessment (NEA)
What’s assessedPractical application of technical principles and designing and making principles.
How it’s assessedSingle design and make project. Context set by AQA.80 marks50% of AS
EvidenceWritten or digital design portfolio and photographic evidence of final prototype. Recommended 35 pages.

Progression and Career Opportunities

On successful completion of this course you will have the opportunity to further enhance your skills and knowledge by progressing on to either a foundation course, which awards you a BTEC National Diploma and prepares you for university.  Or you may wish to apply straight to university to study an undergraduate degree, which will be dependent on a portfolio and interview but also the entry requirements of the university.

You can also progress to a Higher Apprenticeship as a product designer: