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FAQs for IGCSE Information and Communication Technology (0417 & 0983)

Content:

General:

Practical papers:

 

General:

Do candidates take all three papers on a computer?

No, only Papers 2 and 3 are taken on a computer as these are practical tests.

Can brand names be given in answers about types of software?

No. Where a question requires a type of software to be named candidates must use the generic term such as word processing, spreadsheet, database management systems, etc. They must not use terms such as Microsoft Word, Excel, etc.

Do candidates need to know HTML?

Yes, a working knowledge of HTML is important. In the practical tests, candidates are able to use a WYSIWYG editor but they must be able to edit HTML manually and have a limited understanding of HTML.

Is it useful to study RGB colours for the website authoring?

RGB colour codes may appear in either of the practical papers so candidates need to have an understanding of common component colours and their hexadecimal format.

In my country, decimal point settings are commas and thousand separators are full stops. Can I amend the CSV source files to give semicolon separators?

Yes, you can convert the csv file to your regional settings environment.

Why are there multiple options for practical components?

There are two versions of each Practical Test in June, each is available for a different one day period. We have implemented this change to give schools more flexibility when scheduling ICT practical exams. Candidates are required to sit one version of each Practical Test. Schools should refer to the final timetable for details of the available dates. For more information, please refer to the syllabus and Guide to Making Entries.

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

 

Practical:

The data file downloaded from DFD seems to contain temporary files?

Please note that the source files folder and SRF are created as a compressed (zip) file, to reduce their size to allow for quicker downloads by centres.
Therefore, it is important that once you have downloaded the compressed (zip) data file, that you un compress (extract) the contents of the file, rather than copying the files out of the compressed (zip) file, uncompressing (extracting) will remove any temporary files that are created during the compression process.
Then you can pass the source files folder to your technicians to prepare for the test, the SRF can be passed to the supervisor who will need to be present throughout the test, supervising candidates.

There doesn’t seem to be an evidence file in the source files downloaded from DFD?

Please note that the source files have been checked, to ensure they are ready for the test.  Not all tests include a provided evidence source file, the candidates will understand more when they complete the test.

What is an SRF and where do I get one from?

The Supervisor's Report Form (SRF) is a form that the supervisor completed (logging software used, any issues experience and how these were resolved – please see the ‘Conducting Cambridge IGCSE ICT (0417) practical tests’ document if you experience technical issues during the test). The SRF is submitted along with the attendance register and the ARFs from the candidates. The SRF can either be completed electronically and then printed or printed and completed by hand. A completed copy of the SRF should be included with the attendance register and candidates ARFs when returning the script packet back to Cambridge.
The SRF is included in the data file that you download from DFD a few days before the test. When you un-compress (extract) the contents of file, you will find the SRF together and the source files folder.

What is an ARF and where do I get them from?

The assessment record folder (ARF) is a folder that candidate’s place the printouts of their work into.  Copies of the ARF are provided to centres in printed form, it is printed onto card (A3 folded to create an A4 folder).  The ARF keeps the individual candidates work together and is also used by the examiner to record the candidate’s mark on the front cover.  Therefore it is essential that the candidates use the provided printed ARF, as the card also acts as a good separator of each candidates script, making it easier for their work to be marked.  When handing out the practical test paper, the ARF should also be handed out to candidates, so that they can organise their printed work into this along with the practical test paper and hand this into the supervisor at the end of the practical test, ready for it to be returned to Cambridge for marking.

It is important that you make accurate entries before the entries deadline, so that we can ensure that sufficient copies of the ARF are sent out to your centre in time for the practical tests.

Can the work of my candidates be submitted electronically?

For 0417 IGCSE ICT, only printed work can be assessed, candidates must send their work to the printer during the time of the practical test, no extra time is permitted for sending work to the printer.
For practical tests sat, the total practical test time including sending work to the printer is 2hr 15 minutes.
The printouts must not be collected from the printer by candidates, the printouts must be given to the candidates by the supervisor/invigilator and the candidates then place the work into their assessment record folder (ARF).
Although candidates are not permitted to send any new or replacement work to the printer after the end of the practical test time, any work that is already queued up to be printed can still come out of the printer and be given to candidates to place in their ARF.

Can candidates handwrite their candidate details onto their work?

No, candidates must enter their candidates details as requested by the practical test paper, before they send their work to the printer.

The database report only has candidate details on the first or the last page, is this acceptable?

If the practical test paper asks candidates to place their details into the report header or footer, then their details will only appear on the first or last page of the report, if it goes over multiple pages, this means that the pages after the first page or prior to the last page of the report will not have candidate details on them, this is perfectly acceptable as the candidate has followed the instructions of the test paper.  Note that the supervisor/invigilator collecting work from the printer to handout to candidates, should hand the whole report to the candidate to place in their ARF, the report title is normally a larger font than the report contents so this will aid the supervisor/invigilator in knowing where the report starts.

It is important that candidates read the test paper carefully as sometime they will be requested to place their candidate details in the page header/footer, so they will appear on each page and at other times they might only be requested to place their candidate details in the report header/footer so only appear once.

We do not have a colour printer, will this disadvantage the candidates?

No, it is not a requirement to have colour printing.  Candidates work not printed in colour will be assessed on the greyscale output compared to other areas of their output.  Candidates do not need to annotate any colours on non-colour printouts, unless instructed by the practical test paper.

Can candidates print double-sided?

Candidates can print single-sided or double-sided, both are acceptable.

When can we take the practical tests?

You have a one-day window to conduct practical tests. The dates that these examinations must be taken are given in the Key dates and activities monthly calendar, available to download from the Cambridge Exams Officers’ Guide area of the public website.

The data files for each practical test will be available to download three days before the test, from the digital file despatch area of our website. Further information is available in the Cambridge Handbook, also in the Cambridge Exams Officers’ Guide area of the public website.

Where can I find information on conducting Cambridge IGCSE ICT (0417) practical tests?

Our regulations for running Cambridge IGCSE ICT (0417) practical tests are available in section 5 (Special instructions for particular exams) of our Cambridge Handbook (found here).
Further instructions for administering the IGCSE ICT practical tests will be sent to you in the exams officer eNewsletter, which can be found here.

What are the software requirements?

Our qualifications which require the use of computers have been written so that they do not specify any particular software. As an examination board we do not make any specific recommendations as to which software and hardware you should acquire as every school/centre has its own unique infrastructure. This is done so that schools can choose their software and hardware pieces that meets their personal circumstances and budget. However, it is important to note that any software you acquire must cover the requirements of the syllabus (allowing candidates to fully demonstrate the required syllabus skills) and be kept up to date (including its latest features and functions) so that candidates are being taught on the latest software for future careers.

Our advice remains that the best way to determine what software and hardware to use is for the specialist teacher to consult the syllabus and past papers, and to choose what they are familiar with and that allows the full requirements of the syllabus to be taught. However, to assist you in supporting your students, we have provided below an example list of software packages that are used at an educational and professional level and that allow the syllabus content to be taught. This is not a recommendation that you purchase this specific software, but it may be a useful starting point for you to evaluate whether you wish to use this software to teach the course.

Please note that all software must be able to be used in an offline mode, as no internet access is allowed during the exam.

IGCSE

Purchase/Subscription

Open source/Free

Spreadsheets

Microsoft Excel

LibreOffice Calc

Google Sheets (web based, not for use in the test)

Databases

Microsoft Access LibreOffice Base

Presentation

Microsoft PowerPoint LibreOffice Impress

Image editing

Graphics creation

Adobe Photoshop (recommended for editing)

Adobe Illustrator (recommended for graphics)

Microsoft Paint (preferable for basic image editing and raster image creation)

GIMP

Inkscape

Blender

Krita (preferable for graphics creation and simple image editing)

Word Processing

Document Production

Microsoft Word LibreOffice Writer

Web Authoring

Programming for the web

Adobe Dreamweaver

Notepad, Notepad++

Microsoft Expression

Wix (web based, not for use in the test)

W3Schools has an online interface to test HTML and view the output (web based, not for use in the test)

 

What are the requirements for the practical tests?

The Cambridge Handbook has full details on the requirements of the practical tests, including the hardware, software, network, security and invigilation requirements.

Administrative instructions for the practical tests are sent to centres in the Cambridge Exams Officer eNewsletter. They detail the administrative tasks you must carry out before, during and after the tests. It is essential that you read, understand and follow these instructions. If you do not have a copy of the instructions please email info@cambridgeinternational.org

When I open the csv file in Excel all the data appears in one column. Why is this?

This is to do with regional settings. If all data opens in column A, highlight the column and on the Tools menu select 'convert text to columns' and then save the spreadsheet. Ensure that the candidates are not faced with the problem during the practical tests.

What preparation or testing of hardware and software should we do before the practical tests?

We recommend that a tutor or supervisor works through specimen papers and past papers before the examination day, and in plenty of time to make changes should they be necessary. They should use the hardware and software that will be available to the candidates to check the local facilities. The outcome of this exercise does not need to be sent to Cambridge.

What should we instruct candidates at the start of the practical tests?

You should treat the 0417 practical tests the same as you do any written examination with the same verbal instructions.
The only additional comments you might need to make to candidate is in addition to reading the regulations from the front cover of the question paper are, at the start: "It is advisable to print when instructed by the question paper, so that your printouts come out during the practical test and you can correct any errors you spot".
When you reach 5 minutes of practical test time remaining: "Even if you do not think you are going to finish the practical test print out your Evidence Document as it contains work from earlier in the practical test".
At the end of the practical test instead of 'pens down': "Log out from the computer and hands off keyboards and mice, you are no longer allowed to work or send any further work to the printer".
Any work sent to the printer during the practical test time can continue to come out of the printer after the practical test, but no new work or corrected work can be sent to the printer. For practical tests, the total practical test time including sending work to the printer is 2hr 15 minutes.

How should printer set-up be organised for practical tests?

Each candidate must have access to a printer throughout the 0417 ICT practical tests. This can either be individual printers or networked printer (if you use a network printer, candidates must not be able to access the Internet, email, shared folders or other candidate’s work). Whichever approach you take, you should have a contingency printer, in case the main printer has technical issues during the practical tests. Candidates should print as soon as the question paper instructs them to, so that you try to prevent a backlog of printing towards the end of the exam.

Can candidates use laptops in the practical tests?

Candidates are permitted to use laptops as long as the laptops are centre-owned and managed resources, they must also be setup in the same ways as any other computer undertaking the practical tests:

  • desk spacing must meet Cambridge International requirements to prevent candidates visually copying work
  • the candidate must only be able access the source files and a work area for candidates to save their work
  • no shared drive access is permitted
  • candidates must not be able to access the work of any other candidate or any previously stored work
  • candidates must have access to a printer with in the practical test room (from which the supervisor/invigilator distributes the printouts to the candidates)
  • candidates must not have access to the internet or email during the practical test.
  • candidates must not have access to the laptop after it has been setup and prepared for the practical test until the start of the practical test, they must also not have access to the laptop after the end of the practical test until it has been cleaned of any practical test material.

 

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