A Level Fine Art


What is it about at sixth form level?

Are you creative and imaginative? Do you enjoy exploring ideas and looking at things in different ways? If so, you should consider a course in fine art. Fine art is about looking, learning, thinking and communicating. You will enjoy developing your understanding of the visual world, learning practical skills and responding to ideas and issues in ways that are personal to you.

AS and A level are practical courses in which you learn by doing, so you will be able to create imaginative personal work. You will find out about a whole range of media, techniques and processes. You will develop your creativity and independent thought, learn to express yourself visually and let your imagination flourish. Fine art is a great companion to all other subjects as creativity, imagination and problem solving skills can give you great ideas for your other subjects.

Fine Art is for you if you have a passion for Art as well as self-motivation and commitment. Students are expected to spend a significant amount of time producing artwork outside of lesson time.

Lower sixth

At lower sixth level, students begin with instruction in a variety of techniques, such as drawing, painting and printmaking. They learn about the language of art and how to “read” and to analyse artwork. Students go on to learn how to explore their chosen projects from a series of initial studies, how to use sketchbooks and how to develop ideas. These are used to experiment, show concept development and to record visual experiences.

Upper sixth

At upper sixth level, students are required to build upon the knowledge, understanding and skills gained in the lower sixth with greater depth of study. Students continue to be given close technical instruction and supervision, but they are required to adopt a more independent approach. Encouragement is given to original and experimental ideas.

Why study it and what skills does it develop?

Fine art offers opportunities to use your creativity to express yourself. You will develop your understanding of creative processes, your ability to observe and to think, to solve problems and to communicate in a visual way. It will enable you to work independently and to make your own discoveries by exploring ideas, other artists’ work and different materials and techniques. Fine art gives you the skills and knowledge to create personal and imaginative work. If you have an adventurous, creative and enquiring mind and are excited by shaping and determining the visual world around us, there is a career opportunity waiting for you.

What prior knowledge and skills are required?

No previous experience of Art is required. Enthusiasm, creativity, organisation and self-discipline will be important attributes. Commitment outside of lessons is crucial to success. Strong drawing ability and/or a good grade in Art GCSE are desirable.

How is the course assessed?

Lower sixth

At AS you will produce a portfolio of work for component 1 which counts for 60% of your A level. In component 2 you will produce personal work in response to one of five exciting starting points which will count for 40% of your total A level. The work is marked at MPW and externally moderated in June. Any externally assessed work sat at the end of the lower sixth will not contribute towards the overall A level.

Upper sixth

At A level for component 1 you will develop work for a personal investigation into an idea, issue, concept or theme supported by written material. This will count for 60% of your total A level. In component 2 you will produce personal work in response to one of eight exciting starting points which will count for 40% of your total A level. The work is marked at MPW and externally moderated in June.


History of Modern Art
By H. Arnason
Published by Pearson, ISBN 9780136062066 

The Story of Art
By E. Gombrich
Published by Phaidon Press, ISBN 9780136062066

The Story of Modern Art
By N. Lynton
Published by Phaidon Press, ISBN 9780714824222

General reference books for research and influence. Specific books for individual projects.

Exam Board and Specification Codes

AS: AQA 7242, A2: AQA 7202


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University College London (Economics) 

“Honestly, I could not imagine when I joined MPW that, due to language and adaptation barriers, I would achieve top grades in my first A-level exam sittings. This view changed completely after only a few weeks in the college’s supportive and motivational environment; with teachers who aimed at finding a personal touch with each student and with my Personal Tutor who made my adjustment to the UK education system not only an easy step in my life but, more importantly, an enjoyable one.”


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
King's College London (International Relations)

 “The teachers really helped me overcome any difficulties I came across; they always seemed willing to offer support be it inside or outside of the classroom. I could safely say my teachers inspired me to work hard and aim for the best, sometimes simply by being passionate about what they do.”


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University of York (Law) 

“Having a Personal Tutor to discuss ANYTHING with, from my UCAS application to organising my life in general, really did make life at the college more streamlined and in general less stressful.”


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University College London (Economics)

“My subject teachers and Personal Tutor have been very patient and helpful in supporting my studies and university application.”


Grades achieved at MPW

Progressed to
University College London (Mathematics and Statistics)

“International students have many aspects to think about, such as accommodation and guardians, but MPW surprised me by having a highly organised and supportive administration. Also, because most MPW Cambridge students are local, as an ‘international’ student, I found this very useful in both improving my English and in giving me a taste of a genuinely ‘English’ college.”