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How to Pass a GCSE Art Class

Updated on April 30, 2013

Art Class


Do Your work

Unfortunately, there is no magic pill you can take or quick fix tip to get you to pass GCSE art. A large proportion of the mark you get is based on coursework, therefore, you must do your work on time. On the positive side, you do not have to be the next Lucian Freud or Leonardo Da Vinci to pass with a good grade either. GCSE art is all about the process. Having an understanding of the various processes involved in making art, experimenting with different media . Admittedly, a lot of work is involved and you have to demonstrate, with your coursework and final piece that you are

  • Proficient at developing your ideas
  • Proficient at utilising available resources, materials and media
  • Can develop a personal and reasonable response to your ideas and work.


Your coursework forms a large part of your overall mark, so in order to pass, you must have fulfilled all of the assessment criteria. Your teacher will give you a theme which you need to respond to. The project you submit at the end consists of 45 hours of work. It is impossible to cram all of this in at the last minute and still pass, so adequate time management is essential. You will need to submit a portfolio of work which consists of:

  • Drawings, sketches, ideas you initially had in response to the set theme.
  • Drawing for the overall idea using a variety of media as references.
  • Comprehensive research into all relevant artists.
  • Experimentation using different media to help develop your ideas for the final piece.
  • Final piece.

Final Exam or Externally Set Task

Your final exam accounts for 40 per cent of your overall mark. You will be given a set theme by your examining board and you are expected to respond to that theme over a number of weeks with:

  • Research into relevant artists
  • Sketches and drawings in your sketch book
  • Experimenting with different ideas, media and techniques.

You get 10 hours during your final exam to execute your idea based on all your preparatory work. Your teacher can help with technical issues during the exam, but can not comment at all on how good or bad your work is.

General Tips

  • Do your work as you are given it. Never procrastinate. Procrastination is a thief of time and the work will just build up if you do not do it, making things more difficult in the long run. Coursework is a big part of your final mark, so take it seriously if you want to pass with a good grade.
  • Ask your teacher if you get stuck on something, however trivial it may seem. During the time before the exam, you can ask them anything you want and they will help you. Ask your teacher what you need to do to pass and they will tell you in the context of YOUR work.
  • Get into the habit of writing strong write ups and evaluations of your work. Learn how to think critically and to put your work into an art historical context. Even if your work is not great, showing understanding and thorough research gets you good marks.
  • Visit museums and galleries which are relevant to your work as a part of your research for your coursework. Extra work can make the difference between a pass mark and an A grade.
  • If you are really struggling despite talking to your teacher and taking all of the advice here on board, consider extra tuition or evening classes to help. Every bit of extra work you do and demonstrate to your teacher and through your coursework goes towards your final mark.


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