Computer science is the study of algorithms, programming languages, organizing and retrieving data and applications.

Overview

The study of computer science requires an ability to organize and to think both creatively and logically. This subject is becoming more multifaceted, with an increasing number of interdisciplinary studies involving computer science being offered and in its applications in the wider world, such as the modelling of climate change.


Board: AQA
 

As computer science provides training in analytical thinking, it can also be used as a foundation for careers in other areas such as management, law and medicine. There is a long-term requirement by small and large companies for programmers in different areas.

Course Structure

Teaching begins in September (January for 18 month courses). The following topics are covered at both AS and A levels:

  • Fundamentals of programming
  • Fundamentals of data structures
  • Systematic approach to problem solving
  • Theory of computation
  • Fundamentals of data representation
  • Fundamentals of computer systems
  • Fundamentals of computer organisation and architecture
  • Consequences of uses of computing
  • Fundamentals of communication and networking
 

Students may take the AS exam at the end of the first year. In addition, students on the A level course will prepare their final project and cover the following topics:

  • Fundamentals of algorithms
  • Fundamentals of databases
  • Big Data
  • Fundamentals of functional programming
  • Non-exam assessment – the computing practical project

Exam Structure

AS Exam Format

Paper 1 Paper 2
On-screen exam
1 hour and 45 minutes
Written exam
1 hour and 30 minutes
 

A2 Exam Format

Paper 1 Paper 2 Non-exam assessment
On-screen exam
2 hours and 30 minutes
Written exam
2 hours and 30 minutes
Internally assessed, externally moderated
20% of A level

Computer Science One-Year A level

The board, format and content are the same as the two-year programme, but the course is covered in the space of one year.

Related Further Study and Careers

Computer Science prepares students for a wide variety of course and careers in computing, technology and engineering. Computer scientists have internationally recognized qualifications which open up great career opportunities around the world. In many cases, international students can master the computer languages used in computer science prior to mastering the English language.

Programme Requirements

Students would normally be expected to have gained grade C at GCSE Physics, or equivalent.


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