A-Level Art and Design

A-Level Art and Design

If you choose to study A-Level Art and Design then you will be developing a range of lifelong skills, including the ability and confidence to experiment and be innovative. You will also develop research, evaluation and communication skills.

You will also have a number of practical skills including the language and technicalities of art and design and be able to solve practical design problems.

A-Level Art and Design

A specific arrangement of units is required for certification, made up of AS-Level units and A2-level units. You will study four set units. The assessment for A-Level Art and Design is by portfolio, pieces, and written communications. Some of these assessments will be under timed conditions. The A-Level Art and Design Awards also allow you to focus on a specialism within Art and Design.

Over the course, you will undergo at least 360 guided learning hours over a two-year period. These guided learning hours are levels set by the government on how much time the tutor at your sixth form or college has to be present to give guidance (such as lectures, tutorials etc.) towards your award.

AS-Level Art and Design

  • Edexcel AS-Level Art and Design

The Edexcel AS-Level offers a variety of specialist awards, including:

  • Fine Art
  • Three-dimensional design
  • Textile design
  • Photography — lens and light-based media
  • Graphic Communication
  • Critical and Contextual Studies

The AS units of Art and Design Coursework and Art and Design Externally Set Assignment are available towards a final award of Art and Design, or with one of the specialisms listed above.

  • AQA AS-Level Art and Design

In the first unit, Coursework Portfolio and the second unit, Externally Set Assignment you will choose a specialism for study throughout the AS-Level:

  • Art, Craft and Design
  • Fine Art
  • Graphic Communication
  • Textile Design
  • Three-Dimensional Design
  • Photography: lens-based and light-based media
  • OCR AS-Level Art and Design

You can choose to study for one of the following awards:

  • Art and Design
  • Art and Design: Fine Art
  • Art and Design: Graphic Communication
  • Art and Design: Photography – lens and light-based media
  • Art and Design: Textile Design
  • Art and Design: Three-Dimensional Design
  • Art and Design: Critical and Contextual Studies

For the Coursework Portfolio, you will produce a portfolio of work from a specific topic, theme or starting point. In the Controlled Assignment, you have five hours to develop a plan into an outcome.

  • CCEA AS-Level Art and Design

You will produce a Coursework Portfolio and undertake an Externally Set Assignment.

  • WJEC AS-Level Art and Design

You will produce a Portfolio and Controlled Assignment in your chosen area or specialism, which may include:

  • Art, Craft & Design
  • Fine Art
  • Critical & Contextual Studies
  • Textile Design
  • Graphic Communication
  • 3D Design
  • Photography Lens and Light based media
  • University of Cambridge International Examinations AS-Level Art and Design

You are able to specialise in one of the following areas, or even other areas in negotiation with your lecturer.

  • Painting and Related Media
  • Textiles
  • Ceramics
  • Sculpture
  • Graphic Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Printmaking
  • Photography, Digital and Lens Media

In the Controlled Test, you choose one question from the exam paper that will allow you to produce a study in any suitable media or technique. For the Coursework component, you will focus on research, development and in-depth realisation.

A2-Level Art and Design

The A2 Art and Design is the equivalent of the second year of study of A-Level Art and Design. This is not a separate award. The A2 –Level Art and Design with the AS-Level Art and Design makes up the A-Level Art and Design.  A2-Level Art and Design will further develop your skills and knowledge from AS-Level Art and Design.

Most A2 Awards will expect you continue to work in the same specialism that you focused on in your AS-Level Art and Design.

  • Edexcel AS-Level Art and Design

Like the AS-Level Award, students can continue their specialism at A2. The A2 units are A2 Art and Design Coursework and A2 Art and Design Externally Set Assignment. Both of these are available towards a final award of Art and Design, or with a specialism.

  • AQA A2 Art and Design

In the Personal Investigation unit, you will develop an investigation that will include written work and will allow you to develop a finished piece or pieces. In the A2 Externally Set Assignment, you will be assessed on your ability to work within a supervised time window.

  • OCR A2 Art and Design

In the Personal Investigation, you will submit a major project with personal significance and complete a Controlled Assignment.

  • CCEA A2 Art and Design

In the Personal Investigation, you have the opportunity to investigate a topic of interest and produce written work and finished pieces. In the A2 Externally Set Assignment, assessment is of your ability to work within a supervised time window.

  • WJEC A2 Art and Design

You will produce a Controlled Assignment in the specialism that you studied for your AS-Level award. You will also undertake a Personal Investigation that will allow you to communicate your understanding though images and texts.

  • University of Cambridge International Examinations A2 Art and Design

Like the A2, there is a Coursework component and a Personal Study. This will be a critical and visual appraisal or theoretical study presented in a practical or written format.

A-Level Art and Design Exam Board Information

  • The specification for the OCR AS and A-Level Art and Design is available here.
  • The specification for WJEC A-Level Art and Design is available here.
  • The specification for CCEA A-Level Art and Design is available on their website.
  • The relevant year syllabus for Cambridge International AS and A-Level Art and Design is available here.

Career Opportunities

Most people study A-Level Art and Design so that they can study Art and Design-based subjects at university. These may include Art and Design, Fine Art, Textile design, Fashion Design, Contemporary Surface Design, Graphic Media Communication, 3D Design, Interior Design, Animation, Illustration, Ceramics or Photography. Some students may also choose subjects such as Art History, or Fine Art Conservation and Restoration

Career options can include working as an artist or designer in the specialist field, working in galleries and some students may also wish to teach Art and continue to study for a PGCE after completing their degree.

Other Useful Information

  • There are past papers available on the Edexcel website.
  • There are a number of past question papers available for the University of Cambridge International Examinations AS-Level Art and Design.