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FAQs for IGCSE Information and Communication Technology (9-1) (0983)

Content:

  • Do candidates take all three papers on a computer?
  • When can we take the practical tests?
  • Where can I find information on conducting Cambridge IGCSE ICT (0417) practical tests?
  • What are the software requirements?
  • What are the requirements for the practical tests?
  • Can brand names be given in answers about types of software?
  • Where the question asks to circle two or three answers will candidates be penalised for circling more than the number asked for?
  • Do candidates need to know HTML?
  • Is it useful to study RGB colours for the website authoring?
  • 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?
  • When I open the csv file in Excel all the data appears in one column. Why is this?
  • What preparation or testing of hardware and software should we do before the practical tests?
  • Why are there multiple options for practical components?
  • What should we instruct candidates at the start of the practical tests?
  • How should printer set-up be organised for practical tests?
  • Can candidates use laptops in the practical tests?

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.

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, and with your confidential source files.

What are the software requirements?

The IGCSE qualifications which require the use of computers (IGCSE ICT, IGCSE Computer Science and O-Level Computer Science) have been written so that they do not specify any particular software. This is done so that schools can choose the software that meets their personal circumstances and budget.

In the IGCSE ICT examinations 0417/02 and 0417/03, candidates will need access to word processing software, a relational database package (which allows record structures to be defined and relationships between tables to be created – a spreadsheet, for example, will not do this), charting facilities (which allow students to produce bar charts, line graphs and pie charts), a spreadsheet, web authoring software (this could be a simple text editor or a WYSIWYG editor, the produced HTML and CSS must be compliant with the latest standards), a graphics package (suitable for editing image type and colour depth, etc), a web browser, a presentation graphics package. Candidates must not have Internet access or e-mail access during the examination, so any software chosen must fully work without an internet connection.

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.

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.

Where the question asks to circle two or three answers will candidates be penalised for circling more than the number asked for?

Yes, for every ‘extra’ answer given they candidate will lose a mark but they will never be awarded a negative mark for a question. The same applies for questions where candidates have to tick a number of boxes.

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.

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.

Does work need to be printed in colour?

No extra credit is given for colour printing, therefore it is acceptable for work to be submitted from black and white printers, this will not impact on the candidates' marks. Where the candidate has been given an instruction in the question paper to set the colour of an item (for instance 'set cell background to red') the item colour is compared to the other printed cells, to ensure that the colour presented is either red (if colour printout has been submitted for assessment) or an appropriate shade of grey (if black and white printout has been submitted for assessment) and not either totally white or totally black, which tends to be the background of the other cells.

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

We recommend that a tutor or supervisor works through a past paper 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.

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.

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 2.5 hour practical test 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.

How can printer set-up be organised?

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.

 

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