Computer Science GCSE, AQA

The AQA GCSE in Computer Science is a challenging, highly technical course that will be an excellent choice for those interested in Science and Mathematics. It should be noted that Computer Science is not a course in using PCs – or any other type of computer. The course is the fundamental study of the mathematical concepts that allow electronic digital machines to do the work that is required of them. That is to say, how do we instruct machines to ‘do’ computation.

The principles of Computer Science are the same, whether you are considering how a cheap calculator adds two numbers or how the fastest Mac Pro renders graphics for a Hollywood film. This course introduces students to and requires them to apply, many of these skills.

Component One: Computational Thinking and Problem Solving

This component teaches students how to think computationally, solve problems, trace code, and apply theoretical knowledge of Computer Science. In particular the following topics are studied:

1. Fundamentals of algorithms
2. Programming in Python
3. Fundamentals of data representation
4. Computer systems

Component Two: Written Assessment

Whereas Component One focuses on applying problem-solving skills, Component Two is a more theoretical unit. The cutting-edge practice in the following areas are studied:

5. Fundamentals of computer networks
6. Fundamentals of cyber security
7. Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society, including issues of privacy
8. Aspects of software development

Component Three: Programming Project

This final unit assesses a student's ability to use the knowledge and skills gained through the course to solve a practical programming problem. Students will be expected to follow a systematic approach to problem solving. The development of a computer program along with the computer programming code itself which has been designed, written and tested by a student to solve a problem. Students will produce an original report outlining this development.

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