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Fancy terminology

Updated: May 1, 2021

In GCSE in Art & Design we use specific subject terminology which might not make sense when you first get started on the subject. This video is meant to help you understand the various terms that your teachers will use while teaching you art & design.

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Assessment Objective…

Externally Set Assignment…

Personal Response


Primary & Secondary Sources

What do all these mean????

It's this specialised vocabulary that the first time students hear it, they get a blank face! Anyways, I understand and because I like to simplify life and make things easy, I will give it to you in layman's terms.

Assessment Objective- AO

Assessment Objective basically means that you are going to be assessed=judged based on the accomplishment of certain objectives= goals. In other words, it's the Marking criteria.

Externally Set Assignment - ESA

ESA is your Final Exam Theme which is being set by an external body, not by your school teacher, for example, the Edexcel or AQA examination body. The examination body gives students a topic to develop work and create a final piece for their final exam. Examples of exam themes are ‘Fragments’, ‘Reflection’, ‘Freedom’, and so on. I will speak about the ESA in more detail in another video.

Personal Response:

A personal response is an artwork you’ve developed in response to something, for example, an artist or a theme. BUT it's your unique idea, NOT a copy! It's your personal ideas, inspiration, and concepts you collected from around various sources put together into a UNIQUE piece of artwork that is yours!


Annotation is basically written notes within your art studies. You are expected to write about your personal thoughts, present critical comments, describe your own ideas and processes, and analyse the work of other artists. Examiners not only want to see what you are making, but also how you are thinking about what you are making. Making art is great, but the thinking process behind it is as important! That's why you write down your thoughts and decisions, problems, or solutions to demonstrate that you are reflecting on your work as you are doing it. So annotation simply means: write about it!

Primary & Secondary Sources:

You will probably hear this term often from your teachers as well. So for those of you who are still unclear, let me clarify this for you too. For your portfolio coursework, you are expected to use different sources as a source of inspiration. These sources are put into two categories, primary and secondary. A primary source is a source you experience first-hand in real life, for example making a drawing directly from observations, such as a flower or a still life you set up, a friend posing for you, or a landscape you visited in person. Primary sources can also be photos that you have taken yourself with your phone. Now, secondary sources are references created by others and these include images that you find online on the internet, books, or magazines, and so on.

I hope you found this helpful… Is there anything specific you want to ask me? Tell me about your questions or concerns, in the comments below. Also don’t forget to grab the guides at the link below and book for your first free trial for online tutoring.

· Click here to book your first FREE trial for 30 mins online tutoring with me.

· Download the guide ‘Quick Tips for GCSE in Art Students’, from the link below to help you prepare for your art studies.

· Do you want to excel in your GCSE in Art and create outstanding sketchbooks? Go ahead and check out my online course ‘GCSE in Art & Design made simple: The Complete Beginners’ Guide’ at

#GCSEart #GCSEartsketchbook

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