Unit 1 Exam Conditions query. (exam plus planning time)


Good morning all,

I had a question about the first assessment which is advised to be an exam. The syllabus (For unit 3) says 60 minutes plus 15 minutes planning time, for some reason I thought I’d read unit 1 is advised to be 45 minutes, but I’ll likely go with 60 minutes unless I find that information from somewhere.

What do they mean by planning time? The students will have already receiving stimulus material 24 hours prior. In this planning time, they receive the brief etc. Are the students allowed to write/sketch in this time? Or is it purely reading of the material/thinking of ideas?

Thanks in advance,


To add to that, to be able to achieve unit objective 2, will they be required to prototype in the exam? I’m guessing no, as this will be covered elsewhere, particularly during the folios.


Does it seem strange to anyone else that a “Creative Subject” would have an exam? All the research around what environment is required for true Divergent Creativity says that the environment should be calm, tempered and casual.

Therefore, would I also be correct in assuming that we are trying to do creative for the non-creatives? Or just to please the bureaucrats?


It’s my personal opinion that an exam is a poor fit for this syllabus but it was the best that could be done for 2019. I hope it’s something people can work with in the short term and campaign to change to a more natural fit for the content in the long term.


I find this a bit confusing also. I would expect that the students would be allowed to begin the divergent thinking ideation stage of the design process during the ‘planning’ time, though I suspect that it may take longer than 15 minutes to unpack the stimulus. I’m tending to ignore the word ‘examination’ because it really doesn’t fit. Rather, I am focussing on the ‘design challenge’ and the fact that unit objectives 1, 3 and 7 are omitted --so this is more like the initial process a designer goes through, before the pitch and without the secondary data refinement. Also, I note that the IA1 and EA assessment objectives in the syllabus state only ‘ideation and/or schematic sketching in the develop phase’, no prototyping. I’m not expecting a polished ‘ready-to-pitch’ design from the exam, it’s just not practical in 60 minutes.


The Syllabus Glossary defines planning time as:
“time allocated in an assessment to planning how to respond to items and tasks and associated assessment materials; students may make notes but may not commence responding to the assessment in the response space/book; notes made during planning are not collected, nor are they graded or used as evidence of achievement”

Perusal time does not allow any writing. Again see the Glossary.