In essence Computer Science is about understanding, in detail, how computer systems actually work. Computers are part of every aspect of modern life. The microprocessor which lies at the heart of every computing system is found absolutely everywhere, from the PC on your desk to laptops, Tablets, mobile phones, cars and microwave ovens. Modern society simply could not function without, but few people really understand how it all works.
Computer Science at A Level will give you a deep insight and understanding into how it all fits together, from the microprocessor, which you will study in some detail, to memory, storage, operating systems and network architectures. Computer Science is varied, interesting and challenging. This A Level is a linear qualification which means that assessment will take place at the end of the 2-year course.
You’ll need to have a logical mind and be good at maths, because computing involves not only programming which is logical but sometimes needs a mathematical discipline.
The skills gained from studying Computer Science include the capacity to think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically including an understanding of the organisation of computer systems such as software, hardware, data, communications and people. Students will gain the ability to apply skills, knowledge and understanding of computing, including programming, in a range of contexts to solve problems.
If you successfully complete A Level Computer Science, it could create career leading opportunities in related subjects such as Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Software Engineering, Database Management, Computer Networking, e-Business and Information Systems Management within the capacity of apprenticeships or studying for a degree.
Students will be required to undertake two formal examinations at the end of the course and a non-exam assessment which is completed during the first year.
On-screen exam: 2 hours 30 minutes, 40% of A Level
This paper tests a student’s ability to program in high level language, such as C#, Python3, Java, Pascal and VB (languages that students have the freedom to select as a cohort), as well as their theoretical knowledge and skills of Computer Science.
Questions: Students answer a series of short questions and write/adapt/extend programs in an Electronic Answer Document provided by the school. The exam board will issue Preliminary Material, a Skeleton Program and, where appropriate, test data, for use in the exam.
Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes, 40% of A Level
What’s assessed: this paper tests a student’s ability to answer questions relating to course content.
Questions: Compulsory short-answer and extended-answer questions.
Non-exam assessment: 20% of the A Level
The non-exam assessment assesses the student’s ability to use the knowledge and skills gained through the course to solve or investigate a practical problem. Students will be expected to follow a systematic approach to problem solving.