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FAQs for AS and A Level Digital Media and Design (9481)


What is the structure of the new AS/A Level Digital Media and Design 9481?

  • Component 1 Portfolio
  • Component 2 Externally Set Assignment
  • Component 3 Personal Investigation (A Level only)

This syllabus covers photography, film, animation, moving image and design for multimedia.

This syllabus is not available to private candidates.

Can candidates submit work electronically?

For AS and A Level Digital Media and Design (9481), all work should be submitted electronically via Secure Exchange.

Where do we get the themes for coursework from?

For component 1, Portfolio, the themes are listed in the syllabus. Candidates should choose a theme and develop a project based on the theme and the suggestions in the syllabus. The coursework can be submitted during the test window, but can be completed at any time before this.

When and where can I get the question paper from?

The question paper for component Externally Set Assignment will be available from the School Support Hub and, if you have made a final entry, the DFD (Digital File Despatch).

The question paper will only be available in an electronic form and will be available to download from the School Support Hub on 1 January for the May/June series, 1 July for the October/November series.

Can we send the question paper to students in an email?

Once the paper is available for you to download, you can distribute it how you prefer. However, students must have a copy of the complete question paper.

How long is the preparatory period for component 2?

The preparatory period for component 2 Externally Set Assignment is at least 4 weeks.

What are the test date windows for AS/A Level Digital Media and Design 9481?

You can schedule the test any time after the paper is released as long as the work is produced during the test window and that students have at least four weeks preparatory period.

  • June series: 1 January to 30 April
  • November series: 1 July to 31 October

Does the 10 hour test have to be completed on the same day?

The 10 hour test can be held over several days, ideally consecutive days (excluding weekends).

What happens if a candidate finishes before the end of the examination?

If a candidate has finished before the full examination time, they may leave the examination without disturbing the other candidates. However, they will not be allowed back into the examination if they then decide to return later.

Do candidates have to be accompanied to the toilet during the examination?

Digital Media and Design examinations are taken under examination conditions and standard invigilation requirements apply. Arrangements should be in place for supervised rest breaks, please refer to the Cambridge Handbook here for more information.

Can we submit via share point, or can we send the work on a USB or DVD?

Digital submissions must be made via our Secure Exchange platform. See the guide to submitting work for 9481 available on the public website.

Can we send our supporting studies as design sheets and post them to Cambridge?

There is not an option for hard copy despatch for this syllabus.

Can we do component 1 and 2 for AS and A Level Art and Design (9479) and then component 3 digitally for AS and A Level Digital Media and Design (9481).

Each syllabus is separate and candidates must not switch between the two. They can do both Art and Design and Digital Media and Design as two qualifications, but the work produced for each syllabus must be separate.

Can my students do component 1 as photography and component 2 as animation?

Yes, candidates can specialise or move between specialisms depending on the resources available at your centre and the type of work they are interested in.

My student is writing a blog for their supporting studies, can we send you the URL?

The work produced for this component should be submitted via our Secure Exchange. A blog is a good way of recording progress though and could be used for teaching and learning. Please see the guide to submitting work for 9481 for clearer guidance about the file formats that are acceptable.

Can my student use a laptop in their exam?

For component 2 candidates can use a laptop to produce their work. It should be checked before the test starts to ensure that the supporting studies are complete and that there is no finished work for the exam that has been pre-prepared and stored. At the end of the test, candidates must be able to save their work in a format that is suitable for submission to Cambridge.

Are candidates allowed access to the internet during the test?

Yes, candidates can have access to the internet during the timed test where they are using software that requires internet access.

My student is completing their component 2 work on their laptop, the exam is split over two days but they want to take their laptop home with them overnight, is this ok?

All exam work should be held securely overnight where the exam is split over two or more sessions. The supporting studies should not be worked on once the exam has started. Candidates should be aware of this before using their own laptops or computers. They will need to leave their laptop or computer at the centre overnight.

For more information and materials on this syllabus, please visit our School Support Hub here.

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