FAQs for IGCSE Art and Design (0400)

When are the examinations taken?

Information about when the examinations can be taken can be found in the syllabus, which you can download from School Support Hub or our public website.

Examination dates are listed in the exam timetable which you can download from our public website here, or speak to the Examinations Officer at your centre.

What resources are available to support Cambridge syllabuses?

Teaching resources can be found on the School Support Hub page for your syllabus.
For syllabuses, specimen papers, past papers, mark schemes and examiner reports look under the Syllabus Materials tab.

For support materials, including the Coursework Handbook, Guide to Administering Art & Design, Schemes of Work and Example Candidate Responses, look under the Teaching Materials tab.

The Resource List tab directs you to endorsed and suggested resources including textbooks and websites. You can also access these from the Support material section of the subject's page on our public website.

For more details about the support types available, and how to use them for planning, preparing, teaching, assessing and revision, see our guide Cambridge teacher support, which can be downloaded from the School Support Hub homepage.

You can also visit our Discussion Forums, where teachers discuss resources and teaching methods, and you can ask questions and receive a response from our subject expert moderator or from other Cambridge teachers in our Community.

What textbooks are available for my subject?

From the Resource List tab on the School Support Hub page for your syllabus you can search for textbooks for your subject. No particular book is necessary for a course and teachers are advised to choose the textbook that best suits their needs. Many of our syllabuses are supported by a range of different endorsed textbooks to ensure that schools have choice. There is information on the back of endorsed textbooks about which examination series it was first produced for.

Endorsed resources go through a rigorous quality-assurance process to make sure they closely reflect the syllabus and are appropriate for Cambridge schools worldwide. Resources may be ‘endorsed for full syllabus coverage’ or endorsed to cover specific sections, topics or approaches. Look for the specific ‘endorsed for…’ logo on the resource.

What training and professional development is available for my subject?

Cambridge online and face-to-face training courses are designed to support you by providing you with the knowledge and skills required to deliver our syllabuses. These can be booked through the Events and training calendar on our public website.

How can I find out about any changes to the syllabus?

This information can be found Changes to this syllabus section of the syllabus, which can be downloaded from School Support Hub or the subject's page on our public website. Changes are described in detail within this section. Throughout the syllabus, any significant changes are indicated by black vertical lines either side of the text.

If a syllabus update document is listed next to a syllabus this is notification that the syllabus has been updated to reflect a change. The changes that have been made will be clearly indicated in the syllabus update.

Where do I find the question papers?

The question papers are available to download from School Support Hub before the start of the test date window and can be distributed to candidates from that date. The dates of the test date window are in the timetable available here.

Does Cambridge send us the coursework topics, and do teachers have to assess the coursework?

No, coursework topics are decided by the candidate with guidance from the teacher. Teachers do not have to assess the coursework.

Does the examination have to be taken in one sitting?

The examination does not have to be held in one sitting. It can be held over several days, ideally consecutive days (excluding weekends). A maximum of four within a three week period.

What happens with the work overnight?

The examination room must be locked securely overnight and after each timed session. Candidates are not permitted to take any supporting work home with them and must not bring more preparatory work in once the exam has started.

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 in the examination if they then decide to return later.

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

Art 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 students use iPods/MP3 players during Art exams?

Please refer to the 0400 Admin Guide which is available on our website, where you will find on page 4 that ‘Mp3 players, personal radios or mobile/cell phones are not permitted.’

What is the structure of the new (from 2020) IGCSE Art and Design syllabus 0400?

Following consultation with teachers we have revised the Assessment Objectives for IGCSE. The revised Assessment Objectives provide a better framework for teachers and they relate to each other.

From 2020 IGCSE 0400 Art and Design is assessed against four new Assessment Objectives, there are fewer components. This syllabus is not available to private candidates. There is an option to carry forward over the coursework. To view the syllabus, please click here

How many areas of study must a student work in?

Students are expected to work in one area of study. 

Can we submit work electronically?

You cannot submit work electronically. Work must be submitted on A2 sheets. High quality photographs of work can be mounted on the sheets along with the supporting studies. Candidates may present work on both sides or single sides, as long as you do not produce twice as many supporting sheets. 

Why can’t we work a larger size than A2?

You can work in any size and format but you must select work and present it on A2 sheets. You can photograph work and print the photographs and submit them along with your other two-dimensional work.

Why has the design paper for IGCSE gone?

Students can produce design work for either of the components.  The design paper as a separate component has been removed but design skills can be taught as part of the course and students can produce design work for their coursework component or produce a design response for their externally set assignment.

Where can I get the Question paper from?

The Question Paper will be available from the School Support Hub and, if you have made an estimated entry, the DFD (Digital File Despatch).

When can I get the Question paper?

The QP 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.

How long do students have to prepare?

This will depend on when the centre hands out the QP to students and when the centre schedule the test.

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

Yes, 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?

There is no set length as it depends when the centre passes the Question paper to students and when the centre sets the date for the test.

What are the test date windows for IGCSE 0400/2 Art & Design?

You can schedule the test any time after the paper is released as long as the work is produced during the test window.

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

Can students carry on working on their supporting studies after the preparatory period?

Students cannot carry on working on the supporting studies once the timed test has started.
Students should have submitted their supporting studies ahead of the timed test and it must be available to them during the timed test. All work, including the supporting work must be kept securely during the test. Centres must ensure that no additional work is brought into the test once the test has started and all work must remain in the test room at the end of session. Students are not permitted access to the work during the timed test and the centre must ensure that the room where the test is taking place is secure in order to prevent any loss or damage to the work or misconduct. Students cannot add to their work or amend it after the test has finished.

Do students have to draw?

Drawing is part of communicating ideas, which is an essential skill in art and design. Students can use drawing at whatever level they are able to as a means of recording ideas and observations, developing ideas and communicating meaning and visual language.

Do students have to write anything?

It is not necessary to write anything, but students need to be able to record their ideas and observations. The creative work should explain the journey and the decisions the student has made without unnecessary annotations. Annotations can be useful to support visual evidence to explain what things have changed or what the student has been thinking and can be included where relevant.

The syllabus says trimming and mounting of work do not have to be part of the exam, but that we have to send the work to Cambridge after the exam. When can my students trim and mount their photographs?

We do not require work to be mounted and pieces should not be framed. Any trimming and mounted (on paper not board) should be completed as soon as possible after the exam and the work must be held securely after the exam (e.g. while it is drying) before being despatched to Cambridge.

Can candidates bring their own objects into the examination room?

Yes, they can use the preparatory period to select relevant objects and make initial studies and plans of compositions and layout in their supporting studies.

Can candidates use drawing software from tablets, laptops and mobile devices?

We recommend that for all students using drawing software, they include screenshots showing the layers, tools or filters they have used when putting together their supporting studies. All sources should be referenced such as websites and images.
Before candidates start the timed test, all devices must be checked to make sure that the work has not been produced ahead of the examination and that it is the students own work. At the end of each session (half day, full day) the device must be retained at the Centre under secure conditions.

Where do we get the themes for coursework from?

The teacher, in consultation with the student, will set appropriate themes. Teachers may want to look at past papers for possible themes – sample briefs and themes are available to download.

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

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