FAQs for IGCSE Art and Design (0400 & 0989)


When are the test date windows for IGCSE Art & Design?

You can schedule the test anytime within the test date window. The test date windows are as follows:

  • June series: 1 January to 30 April
  • November series: 1 July to 31 October
  • March series (restricted entry): 1 November to 20 February

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.

How long do students have to prepare?

This will depend on when the question paper is distributed to students and when the centre schedules 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.

Does the examination have to be taken in one sitting?

The examinations for Components 1 and 2 are eight hours each. These examinations should be split over two or more consecutive days and the maximum duration of a session should be no more than three hours.

If you do schedule an exam to be taken all on one day then you must ensure that candidates are provided with supervised rest breaks.

What happens to the test 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 test has started. 

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

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 test?

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 the test?

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

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.

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.

Does Cambridge send us the coursework topics?

No, coursework topics are decided by the candidate with guidance from the teacher.

Is Component 2: Coursework assessed by teachers?

No, from 2020, teachers do not have to assess the coursework component (Component 2).

What is the structure of the new IGCSE Art and Design syllabus?

From 2020 IGCSE 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 for 0400, and here for 0989. 

Can we submit work electronically?

No, work must be submitted on A2 sheets. High quality photographs of work can be mounted on the sheets along with the supporting studies. Work may be presented on both sides or single sides, as long as you do not produce twice as many supporting sheets. 

Can we work on 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.

Can we still submit design for IGCSE?

From 2020; Yes, 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 Component 1 and/or Component 2.

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

No, 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 their supporting studies 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.

When can my students trim and mount their test work?

Trimming and mounted (on paper not board) should be completed as soon as possible after the test and the work must be held securely after the exam (e.g. while it is drying) before being despatched to Cambridge.

Can students 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.

Can candidates use any media?

No. There is a list of inappropriate media in the Guide to Administering Art & Design. If you are in any doubt you should contact customer services.

What are supporting studies?

Supporting studies are the body of work that is produced by the candidate in the time between receiving the question paper and taking the examination. This work should show the development of ideas from an observational starting point and evidence of their research and exploration with materials and media.

What guidance is available for teachers in assessing coursework
The centre marks the coursework component and therefore the teacher must have experience in teaching the subject at this level, preferably with experience of delivering and assessing IGCSE. Teachers should work through the examples and advice in the Coursework Handbook available to download from School Support Hub. Teachers’ coursework marks are moderated by Cambridge.


For more information and materials on the (0400) syllabus, please visit our School Support Hub here. For the (0989) syllabus, visit the School Support Hub here.

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