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2020 BTEC IT Level 3 Unit 2 - Creating Systems to Manage Information - Advice on answering the NEA.

From January 2020, Pearson EDEXEL introduced some huge changes to the Unit 2 Controlled assessment. In some ways, it is easier and in others it is a lot more of a challenge.

The main difference is length: in the old controlled assessment you had 10 hours to complete a task building a database. You worked on the same database from start to finish over 10 hours. All materials were kept secure in the classroom. At least that was the theory.

What happened was that in 2018 and 2019, evidence was obtained of widespread cheating by schools and students. Photos were taken of teachers giving out the answers, or running workshops to help students. Students were taking copies of the exam papers out of the room and sharing online, so during the week of the NEA, on various social media sites, the answers were being shared online. Which is great if you are one of the schools, colleges or students who are actively cheating, and massively unfair to the vast majority of schools, colleges and students playing it absolutely straight.

Because of this, your Controlled assessment is now 5 hours long. It is in 2 sessions.

Part A is 3 hours.

Part B is 2 hours.

In part A you are required to create a database from scratch. It is identical to the old controlled assessment, except instead of having 10 hours, you have 3.

You need to build substantially fewer tables, queries and reports. You only need to do simple testing and a simple evaluation.

You do not need to build any forms.

In part B, you will be given a partially working database and you will need to answer questions on it. You will not get the part B database until you have completed part A.

In both parts you will be working on the same scenario.

Basically to get a Near Pass, you need 8 marks out of 66.

A Pass is 16 marks out of 66.

A distinction is 38 marks out of 66.

That's a very low pass mark. So in other words to get a distinction, you can LOSE 28 marks, and still come out on top.

What that means is that you don't have to get everything right. If some of the more difficult queries are out of your reach, don't worry - just make sure you score heavily elsewhere.

Lets look at part A.

you will be assessed on the following:

  • Your ERD

  • Your table structure

  • Your reports and queries

  • Testing

  • Evaluation

The difference this time is that you are given the data to begin with. You will be given a table that will have about 10 columns with about 5 rows of data, so no more writing complex 'create table' queries.

lets look at each one in turn.....

Your ERD

  • this will be making sure you've got the right number of tables in your diagram

  • they will be linked by primary and foreign keys

  • you can bet that there will be at least one many to many relationship, which you'll have to break with a junction table

  • eg: an order can have many CD's

  • A CD can belong to many orders,

  • so you'll need a Junction table

  • also, look at the data given - if you have any columns containing the word 'ID' you can bet that's a primary key!

Your table Structure

  • Are all your tables named correctly - e.g. tblPerson, tblCar

  • Does each table have a primary key, e.g. PersonID, PK_PersonID

  • Are your primary keys unique - i.e. autonumber?

  • Do all your column names make sense?

  • Do you have appropriate validation on each column as well as a validation text

    • Presence Check

    • length check

    • range check

    • table lookup

    • format check

    • e.g. for mandatory fields do you have IS NOT NULL as the rule, and "you must enter a value" as your text?

The more of these you do, they higher the mark you will get!!!

Your Queries

  • Are they titled appropriately e.g. QryFindCustomerByAge

  • Have you got the correct selection criteria e.g.for dates after todayt>= Date()

  • Have you selected the correct tables in your query

  • you must shot the DESIGN view and the DATASHEET view.

  • you will have 2 queries to create.

Your reports

  • you will need to create a single report

  • the report will be based on a new query you will need to create

  • it must fit on one page

  • you must show your report in design view, with any grouping and calculations

  • you must show the design view of your query you base your report on

  • you must show the datasheet view of any query you created


  • You will be given a test plan to follow

  • You will need to record the evidence in this

  • Each thing you test will need to select the appropriate test data - erroneous and normal will work

  • lets look at someone's Age

  • normal data would be 16, that makes sense

  • error data would be 16.4, or -16 - that's wrond

  • extreme data would be 999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999 , which is not possible and tests the limits of the database field.

  • so each test needs to be carried out twice.

  • screen print the result and put in in your test plan.

It is OK if your database doesn't work properly.

If anything that's BRILLIANT.

It means that you have something to test, you can then recommend an improvement, and you can talk about this in your evaluation.

This should take you about 20 minutes, so plan accordingly.

Your test plan will follow the established pattern of every test plan on Planet Earth

  • what is the thing you are testing

  • what did you expect to happen

  • what actually happened

  • did it pass the test

  • what are you going to do to fix it?

Your Evaluation

this is where most students struggle, but if you follow some basic rules you will be fine. I can help you with this!

If you need any help with this, why not make a booking and see how I can help you? Skype tutorials mean I can help you where ever you live in the UK!

Part B

Is new for these 2020 assessments. You will be given a database by Pearson.

You will not have seen this for part A, but it will be based on the table structure you will have created, with a few more tables.

It will already have data inside it.

If you want to find out more about how to solve part B, then make a booking and see how I can help you!



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