A Level

Product Design

AQA

Product Design is a proactive and creative course, you will need to enjoy experimenting, testing and modelling with a wide range of materials, machines, tools and CAD software to get the most from this course.

Course Content

Making products involves working with a range of materials. Only by experiencing working with materials first-hand can you start to understand their properties and the ways in which those materials can be used for a variety of purposes. When designing, you will need to understand what the user or client requires, and then go on to provide them with a functional prototype, which can be tested so you and your user or client can judge how successful it is.

During year one you will be taught how to work safely in a manufacturing environment. Our main aim will be to ensure that you are able to use the machines and equipment safely and accurately while becoming more independent. You will spend time testing products, materials and processes including CAD/CAM to increase your confidence in the workshop. You will also use this knowledge to help you analyse why materials and processes have been used to make a range of commercial products. Both of these areas will help you to make decisions in your own personal project (NEA).

Making sustainable choices when choosing materials, and the importance of recycling and designing products that meet current legislation will also be part of the second year of study.

Methods of Teaching

Core activities during year one in Product Design will include designing and making a range of products using different materials and processes. The aim of this will be to equip students with many of the skills they will require to be successful when they work on their own major project during year two. Specific knowledge that has to be learnt to be successful in the written examinations is taught in a formal setting in the Product Design classroom.

Where Could It Take Me?

Our students have gone on to study a wide range of subjects for different career pathways which include, Product Design, Mechanical Engineering, Product Design Engineering, Product Design CAD, Furniture Design, Automotive Design and Architecture for example.

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including Mathematics and English. Although there are no additional entry requirments you will need an interest in designing and making. You do not need to have studied the subject before but the study of a Design and Technology subject or an Art and Design subject would be desirable.

Methods & Patterns of Assessment

The course is divided into two main parts:

  • Core technical principles

  • Core designing and making principles

Both of these parts will be assessed in the final examination. A-Level students will sit two papers, one lasting 2 hours that will cover core technical principles and one lasting 1hour 30 minutes that will cover core designing and making principles. These papers will combine to make up 50 percent of the A Level qualification. The other 50 per cent is for the non-examined assessment (NEA) design and make project you will complete.

Financial Implications

Material costs are covered by a one off payment of £25 which includes a range of materials for research and modelling. Students will need to pay for their final choice of materials that will be used to manufacture their final product in year 2. There are 3 text books that students will be required to purchase.

You will need a digital camera or a smart phone (with USB lead) as photographs will be taken from the start of the course as part of your research. You will need a camera throughout the making stages.

The College has a Student Support Fund for those students who have difficulty meeting these costs.