FAQs for IGCSE Drama (0411)

We would like to introduce this syllabus, what needs to be in place in the school?

There are no special technical requirements but the school must have an adequate performing space. As the coursework is assessed purely by video/DVD there must be arrangements for a good quality recording of selected work to take place. These arrangements must be available during the course, not just at the end. The recording will have to be of sufficient standard to show the performances clearly and in detail. If the video/DVD is of poor quality it may affect the moderation of the school’s marks.

When will I receive the pre-release material?

The pre-release material is despatched to centres in the December preceding the Written examination. Only centres that have submitted their estimated entry information to Cambridge will be eligible to receive the pre-release material early.

What guidance is available for teachers in assessing IGCSE Drama coursework?

The centre marks the compulsory coursework component and therefore the teacher must have experience in teaching Drama 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, using the sample recordings to familiarise themselves with the Cambridge standard. Teachers’ coursework marks are moderated by Cambridge.

If a performance is too short or too long how will this affect the marks?

The individual piece should be between 3 and 5 minutes in length. Slight under or overruns should not be penalised, but a performance that is significantly short would not normally be able to access the highest mark bands. Moderators may stop watching if the piece is significantly too long.

Group pieces should last no more than 15 minutes and allow each candidate broadly equal exposure. Smaller groups should expect to work for less than 15 minutes but not less than 10 minutes.

How important is it to stay within the stated group size?

The prescribed group size is between two and six candidates. Groups of seven or more are not allowed as each candidate would not have enough exposure and it makes the task of the moderator very difficult.

What file format should I use for the recordings?

We accept DVD recordings in either MPEG (.mpg) or QuickTime movie (.mov) formats. If you wish to submit work as mp4 or on USB please check with Cambridge first. Further details are available in the syllabus.

Can I use two cameras or a mobile camera for the recording?

No, recordings should be a single unedited take from a static camera. The intention is not to produce a film of the performance but an accurate record from the perspective of the audience. Care should be taken to ensure the sound recording is adequate, particularly if the camera is positioned at the back of a hall some distance from the performers. Further details are available in the syllabus.

Should I supply recorded evidence of rehearsal and the devising process?

No, only the final performance of each piece is required.

Are written evaluations of the practical coursework required?

No, these are not required.

What rules apply to the selection of repertoire?

We require repertoire to be taken from full length published plays intended for stage performance only. This could include published one-act plays but we advise centres not to use plays freely available on the internet, mini-plays or monologues written for classroom use, screenplays or material taken directly from novels.

Plays in translation are acceptable but the language of performance must be English. If you are using a play text that is unlikely to be available in the UK you should include a copy of the script with the DVD.

We do not provide a list of repertoire but the Principal Moderator’s Report each year includes a selection of the repertoire that was chosen by candidates.

Is it acceptable for candidates to play across gender roles?

Yes, it is acceptable to play across gender as long as the message of the drama is not affected. In the text-based work, candidates will be assessed on their understanding and performance of the character so they will need to be convincing in whatever role they take on.

Should the Individual Piece be played straight to camera?

The piece should appear as a natural live theatre performance. There is no need to aim for a ‘talking heads’ approach.

Should an audience be present during the recording?

It is generally good to have an audience to perform to and it can help the moderator to gain a sense of how well the piece was received, but any audience present should not be noisy or distract from the performance itself.

Can non-assessed actors be in a group piece?

In general this should be avoided, but it would be acceptable where it would not otherwise be possible to submit group work. Non-assessed actors should not outnumber those being assessed and should play minor or supporting roles. It is not acceptable to submit a recording of a school production of a play in which the candidates took part. The piece must be performed specifically for the purpose of IGCSE Drama coursework.

What are the expectations for costume and set?

There are no specific requirements to use costume or set for the Individual or Group pieces, but centres are advised that costume or set which distracts from the intention or effective performance of the piece should be avoided, for example a candidate wearing a T-shirt which starkly contrasts with the character or style of the piece, or excessive use of tables and chairs which impede actors’ movement.

Can an extract from musical theatre be used for the group repertoire piece?

Yes, but music and songs should not dominate the piece to the extent that it is impossible to assess each candidate on their acting as opposed to musical skills.

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


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