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Computer Science A-Level
Computer Science is a fascinating, highly technical subject which deals with the fundamentals of both hardware and software in Computer Systems. Students investigate how contemporary processors work and how software is developed. They study in detail networking, data sharing, the design of data structures and algorithms and learn about software engineering processes and how programmers approach and solve problems. No prior computing knowledge is required but students who have taken the GCSE Computer Science course will find that the A-level course complements their knowledge and skills.
How can Computer Science contribute to a future career?
The skills taught in this A-level are highly sought after by employers and this course can lead directly into further work-based training in the computing industry. For those who wish to follow an academic path, Computer Science A-level can lead to a range of related degree courses including Computer Science, Software Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence and more. Additionally, Computer Science is a complementary A-level for those taking Mathematics or Engineering degree courses where the problem-solving skills learned through coding are particularly helpful.
Course of Study
Three units are studied:
- Computer Systems: Contemporary processors; software development; data exchange; data types and structures; legal, moral and ethical issues.
- Algorithms & Programming: Elements of computational thinking; problem-solving and programming; algorithms.
- Programming Project: Problem analysis, programme design and evaluation. How is this course implemented?
The course is taught through classes and seminars alongside practical laboratory sessions. There is an emphasis on exploring links between the theoretical side of computing and hands-on programming sessions; this is achieved by teaching the Computer Systems unit and the Algorithms and Programming Unit concurrently. Students are provided with their own textbook for the course, as well as access to a range of computing hardware for the implementation of practical work.
How is this course assessed?
- Computer Systems Examination: 2½ hours examination (40% of A-level)
- Algorithms and programming Examination: 2½ hours examination (40% of A-level)
- Programming Project: Coursework project (20% of A-level)