Specifications that use this resource:

Comparing GCSE Design and Technology and GCSE Art and Design

To save you time and help you compare our GCSE Design and Technology with our GCSE Art and Design, we’ve created some comparison tables.

These tables highlight the content and requirements side by side, so you can make the right choice for your students.

Let us know you’d like to hear from us, we’ll send you everything you need to get started.

For further information and resources, head to the subject pages of our new GCSE Design and Technology and Art and Design specifications

Assessment comparison

Component one

GCSE Design and Technology

GCSE Art and Design

Paper 1

Component 1

Written exam


Two hours

No time limit

100 marks (50% of GCSE)

96 marks (60% of GCSE)

Section A – core technical principles (20 marks)

A mixture of multiple choice and short answer questions assessing a breadth of technical knowledge and understanding. Questions will require some knowledge of all material areas.

Section B – specialist technical principles (30 marks)

Several short answer questions (2-5 marks) and one extended response to assess a more in-depth knowledge of technical principles. Questions can be answered using knowledge of just one chosen material area.

Section C – designing and making principles (50 marks)

A mixture of short answer and extended response questions. Questions can be answered using knowledge from just one chosen material area.

Component 1 – portfolio

A portfolio that, in total, shows explicit coverage of the four assessment objectives. It must include a sustained project evidencing the journey from initial engagement to the realisation of intentions and a selection of further work undertaken during the student’s course of study.

(Non-exam assessment set and marked by the school/college and moderated by AQA during a visit. Moderation will normally take place in June).

Component two

GCSE Design and TechnologyGCSE Art and Design
Non-exam assessment (NEA)                                                                 Component 2  
30 to 35 hours (approx)Externally set assignment
100 marks (50% of GCSE)Preparatory period followed by 10 hours of supervised time
The NEA can be completed using just one chosen material area96 marks (40% of GCSE)


  • Substantial design and make task
  • Assessment criteria:
    • identifying and investigating design possibilities
    • producing a design brief and specification
    • generating design ideas
    • developing design ideas
    • realising design ideas
    • analysing and evaluating.
  • In the spirit of the iterative design process, the above should be awarded holistically where they take place and not in a linear manner
  • Contextual challenges to be released annually by AQA on 1 June in year prior to submission   of the NEA
  • Students will produce a prototype and a portfolio of evidence
  • Work will be marked by teachers and moderated by AQA.
Students respond to their chosen starting point from an externally set assignment paper relating to their subject title, evidencing coverage of all four assessment objectives.

NEA is set by us, marked by the school or college, and moderated by us during a visit.

Subject content comparison

GCSE Design and TechnologyGCSE Art and Design

3.1 Core technical principles

  • 3.1.1 New and emerging technologies
  • 3.1.2 Energy generation and storage
  • 3.1.3 Developments in new materials
  • 3.1.4 Systems approach to design
  • 3.1.5 Mechanical devices
  • 3.1.6 Materials and their working properties
    • Materials categories
    • Material properties
3.1 Knowledge and understanding

3.2 Specialist technical principles

  • 3.2.1 Selection of materials or components
  • 3.2.2 Forces and stresses
  • 3.2.3 Ecology and social footprint
  • 3.2.4 Sources and origins
  • 3.2.5 Using and working with materials
  • 3.2.6 Stock forms, types and sizes
  • 3.2.7 Scales of production
  • 3.2.8 Specialist techniques and processes
  • 3.2.9 Surface treatments and finishes

3.2 Skills

  • drawing
  • written annotation

3.3 Designing and making principles

  • 3.3.1 Investigation, primary and secondary data
  • 3.3.2 Environmental, social and economic challenge
  • 3.3.3 The works of others
  • 3.3.4 Design strategies
  • 3.3.5 Communication of design ideas
  • 3.3.6 Prototype development
  • 3.3.7 Selection of materials and components
  • 3.3.8 Tolerances
  • 3.3.9 Material management
  • 3.3.10 Specialist tools and equipment
  • 3.3.11 Specialist techniques and processes.

3.3 Titles

  • Students must develop and apply the knowledge, understanding and skills in the subject content in ways appropriate to their chosen title.
  • art, craft and design
  • fine art
  • graphic communication
  • textile design
  • three-dimensional design
  • photography
 3.4 Art, craft and design
 3.5 Fine art
 3.6 Graphic communication
 3.7 Textile design
 3.8 Three-dimensional design
 3.9 Photography

Art and Design progression

There are no prior learning requirements for GCSE Art and Design. The specification allows for progression from KS3 whilst providing a strong foundation for further study at AS and A-level, as well as vocational pathways. To support this progression, the assessment objectives, structure and titles are very similar to those detailed in the AS and A- level Art and Design specification.