IGCSE Art Exam: Your 4th week

This portion of the preparatory stage will prepare you for the exams. We will be looking at a few key points that will need to be completed during this time today. Please keep in mind that this exam is a shortened version of the real exam, which will only be 4 weeks compared to 8 weeks.

Side 3 & 4

When you are preparing your final pieces that are leading up to your final piece, think quality over quantity. It is better to produce 2 sides of high-quality artwork rather than 4 sides of artwork that isn’t your best work. Even the size of the sheet can be A3 instead of A2. If you are planning to fill up an A2 size board or 4 sides you should have more gestural drawings or large scale artwork. While you are at this stage, you should have a clear vision of what your final piece should be.


Choose the medium you are most confident and comfortable with. Many times students choose a medium that they think might impress the examiners. But they can see from your preparatory work that there are other mediums you should have chosen instead. You may choose to have your final piece in color or in black and white. Just choose your strong skills.


It’s great when you see an awesome final art piece. But you know what’s even better? When you see the steps the artist took to get to that stage. It’s like you see a behind the scenes of a video. They show you the step by step process on how they got to the final video. So instead of just having an outstanding final art piece, show from your concept to observational to color to compositional and to the final art piece. They will be impressed and you’ll get those high marks.

Right before the exam

Here are some things you should have done before the exam starts:

  • have all of your materials ready, sharpened and filled
  • have a clear concept/idea of your final art piece
  • prepare a ground if you are using one
  • layout and post your supporting artwork on the mounting board
  • Get some rest and pray

During the exam

The exam is 8 hours long, that a long time but you will need to plan out your time well in order to finish on time. Here are some tips while sitting for the exam:

  • bring your supporting work – if you forget it you won’t pass the exam.
  • Come early – come a bit earlier and set up your workstation with whatever you need to
  • Copying is a no-no – if you see some artwork at the art examination center, don’t copy it, they will notice you looking and copying others artwork.
  • Don’t trace – unless it’s a pattern
  • Don’t ask for advice – You can ask where the washroom is or ask to help you carry something but other than that they can’t help you with.
  • You decide – you call the shots, others won’t decide how your work will look like

Our mock exam will be 2 hours long, you may come a bit earlier to set up your preparation sheet and to have your supplies ready but just let us know if you are and how much time you need. Please follow all the steps listed above.

After this exam is finished, you will be taking another exam to improve on your shortcomings and to strengthen your skills in sha Allah.

Light and shadows

Next in our class, we discussed about light and shadows (l/s). We looked at the different properties a light can project onto a subject. Which are:

  • Light
  • Shadow
  • Reflected light/bounce light
  • Cast shadow

Once you understand and identify these 4 l/s’s you will be able to slowly create much more intense artwork. One of our jobs as artists is to create the illusion of realism. One of the key ways to create that affect is to master the play of light.


Once you have identified your light source, you can start to map in your l/s shapes. They call it mapping because you are creating territories like on a map.  these mapping shapes must be drawn lightly. After the shapes are drawn in gradually add the value to your drawing. This same method can be used to color or paint with. Many artists employ this same technique in their workflow.


We used the mapping technique on the primitive form shapes: Cube, cylinder and a cone. A light and composition was added to add to the affect. Students drew what they saw.



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