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Design & Technology

Exam Board: Pearson Edexcel

The A level Design & Technology syllabus reflects the demands of a modern and evolving society. Pupils undertake a large Design and Make project and a written examination over the duration of this course.


The A level is assessed in two ways: 

Component 1 is a written examination and Component 2 is a Design and Make project and portfolio.


Component 1: Principles of Design and Technology

Written examination:

2 hours 30 minutes 

50% of the qualification

120 marks

Content overview

Topic 1: Materials

Topic 2: Performance characteristics of materials

Topic 3: Processes and techniques

Topic 4: Digital technologies

Topic 5: Factors influencing the development of products

Topic 6: Effects of technological developments

Topic 7: Potential hazards and risk assessment

Topic 8: Features of manufacturing industries

Topic 9: Designing for maintenance and the cleaner environment

Topic 10: Current legislation

Topic 11: Information handling, Modelling, and forward planning

Topic 12: Further processes and techniques.

Component 2: Independent Design and Make Project

Non-examined assessment

50% of the qualification

120 marks


Content overview

  • Pupils individually and/or in consultation with a client/end user identify a problem and design context.

  • Pupils develop a range of potential solutions which include the use of computer aided design and evidence of modelling.

  • Pupils are expected to make decisions about the designing and development of the prototype in conjunction with the opinions of the client/end user.

  • Pupils realise one potential solution through practical making activities with evidence of project management and plan for production.

  • Pupils incorporate issues related to sustainability and the impact their prototype may have on the environment

  • Pupils are expected to analyse and evaluate design decisions and outcomes for prototypes/products made by themselves and others

  • Pupils are expected to analyse and evaluate wider issues in design technology, including social, moral, ethical and environmental impacts.


Design and Technology is well-suited for pupils who possess inquisitive minds, are inclined towards creative thinking, and demonstrate a certain level of self-management. These skills are nurtured throughout the study of Design and Technology, alongside the development of reflective learning, teamwork, and effective communication. The study of Design and Technology encompasses various skills, including active listening, reading comprehension, note-taking, active participation in class discussions, technical drawing, mathematical proficiency, model-making, computer-aided design (CAD), manual and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), photography and videography, and the creation of digital portfolios. At the A level, pupils are expected to take ownership of their work, thereby emphasising the importance of independence, maturity, and discipline.


Ideally, pupils are recommended to have pursued Design and Technology at IGCSE level and achieved a minimum grade of 5.


In exceptional cases, pupils who haven't previously studied Design and Technology may express an interest in pursuing it at A level. In such situations, it is typically advisable to arrange an informal interview with the school staff. This interview serves to establish clear expectations, facilitate effective communication, and assess the candidate's suitability for the course.

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