Product Design (Resistant Materials) (A Level)

Why should I study A Level Product Design (Resistant Materials)? 

This creative and problem solving course gives students practical skills, theoretical knowledge and confidence to succeed in a number of career areas, particularly suiting those intending to study or work in engineering, product design or industrial design. The course comprises of three sections; product design, product manufacture and product theory. 

What can you make? 

You have the choice of making a variety of products using plastic, metal or wood. You will learn how to process and fabricate these materials in the workshop. For your personal project you are free to make anything as long as it uses resistant materials: metal, plastic and wood. Previous projects have included making a large scale metal bird feeder which is now in use in our college garden. Other projects include designing and making a bicycle rack, a drummers stool and a kinetic garden sculpture.


The course will include a visit to the New Designers Exhibition in the summer where you will see lots of degree show work and it is a good opportunity to find out about career opportunities.

Course Content 

The first year of the Edexcel course consists of 'blue sky' - a design and make project. You will learn about how to manipulate a variety of materials using the specialist tools in the workshop. During the course you will be taught how to use the machinery and guided through the design process, with the aid of industry standard computer programmes and 3D visualisation. You will also be learning theory and specialist knowledge about the materials you are using. 

Various teaching and learning styles are used in the department. ICT, videos, power point presentations, interactive whiteboards, internet and self-study materials are examples of resources used. The course includes a proportion of practical, written and research work. 

Progression onto Year 2 

Progression to the second year of this A Level course will be dependent on having made satisfactory progress in the first year of the course, including achieving at least an E grade in a formal late spring assessment. 

The second year of the A Level Product Design course consists of a substantial design and make project. You will be building on the skills you learnt in the first year and using the workshop. In class you will also be extending your theory knowledge. This will prepare you for the written exams.

Final Assessment at end of Year 2

The design and make project is 50% of your mark. As well as the final product there will be a written design portfolio and photographic evidence of your final product. 

There is also a written examination paper taken at the end of the second year: 

Principles of Design and Technology - 50% of your mark.

The paper includes calculations, short-open and open response questions, as well as extended-writing questions.

Minimum Entry Criteria

Standard College entry requirements (as detailed on page 12 of the Prospectus) and a minimum of:

Grade 5

GCSE Mathematics



Grade 5


Both 1st and 2nd grade GCSE Combined Science



If triple science is taken

Grade 5

in two from either GCSE Biology, Chemistry or Physics




Grade 5

GCSE Resistant Materials or CDT (if taken)



Grade 4

GCSE English Language or English Literature

Core Mathematics (Mathematical Studies) is a very useful complementary course for this subject and is strongly recommended as a further (4th) subject choice for students who are not taking A Level Mathematics or A Level Statistics options.  See the Core Mathematics subject page for further details (page 92 of the Prospectus).

Further Information

Students will need a standard set of drawing pencils, and colouring pencils. There will be a £20 charge at the beginning of the course to cover the costs of the induction materials. 

Product Design as a subject can be helpful to any student and can be studied with any other A Level subjects. Many Product Design students also take A Level Physics, Mathematics, Core Mathematics, Art or Geography as this is helpful in various parts of the course or related subjects at higher education. 

Second year A Level Product Design students will need to provide the materials for their final product. 

What can I do after studying A Level Product Design?

Product Design can lead to a career in many creative industries, it is also directly linked to engineering, product design, industrial design, graphic design, illustration, architecture, web design, car design and teaching.