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A Level

Computer Science A Level

Subject Area
Digital Technologies
Start Date
September 2024
Study Mode
Full-time
Duration
2 years
Level
Level 3

Computer Science is an exciting, modern subject relevant to many disciplines and careers.

Almost every aspect of modern life involves computing; from cloud and internet use, through mobile devices and home appliances, to complex programs that help businesses and public services run smoothly. Vast networked systems of computers control global communication, trade, finance and transportation. Experience of Computer Science is relevant to all.

A good computer scientist wants to learn more about how computers work, to learn the language of code (C#) and to find ways to solve puzzles using logical thinking and mathematics. Our course offers a blend of practical coding and development experience with theory and discussion of how computers work and their impact on society. Computer Science is a creative subject that combines invention and excitement, that can look at the natural world through a digital prism.

Entry requirements

A minimum of 4 subjects at grade 5 or above at GCSE with a grade 5 in GCSE English Language and a grade 6 in Maths. GCSE Computer Science is not a prerequisite but is an advantage.

What will I study?

You will gain an understanding of different levels and types of programming languages and scripting. Strategies for problem-solving are studied, together with information management techniques. You will gain an understanding of computer hardware and software functionality as well as a detailed appreciation of how computer architectures operate. The course addresses all stages of the life cycle of computer software.

Units studied include:

Computer Systems

  • Characteristics of processors, input, output and storage devices
  • Software types and software development
  • Networks and exchanging data (web, encryption and security)
  • Data types, data structures and algorithms
  • Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues

Algorithms and Programming

  • Elements of computational thinking (designing and coding in C#)
  • Problem solving and programming (coding in C# and using LMC)
  • Algorithms to solve problems and standard algorithms
    (e.g. sorting, traversal)

Method of delivery

You will be taught in well-equipped computer rooms for every session. Individual computers are available both in session and during study times to enable you to use online learning and resources effectively. Our A Level Computing team all bring experience from industry as well as years of teaching experience. Each member has experience of examination marking and/or external verification.

How will I be assessed?

OCR Computer Science A Level: Two x 150 minute exams plus 20% coursework (NEA).

Programming Project: The NEA (Non-Exam Assessment) coursework is a student-led experience of problem analysis, system design, software development and testing and evaluating. Your project will be of your own choice, assessed internally and moderated by an external examiner.

In the past students have produced exciting games, simulations, web applications and robot programs. Students will need to do autonomous research to develop more complex projects.

Good course combinations

This course combines well with most other A Levels and is particularly complemented by Maths, and sciences or Engineering. Other successful students have a strong background in creative or humanities subjects such as Design Technology and Media.

Your next steps

Computer Science is an extremely useful A Level, leading into a wide variety of computer-based disciplines, plus technologically rich subjects such as engineering or science. Computer Science skills and an understanding of technology are relevant to a wide range of careers and courses.

Students can progress into industry or apprenticeships to gain experience and qualifications as a Software Engineer, Software Developer, and a host of related roles. There is a significant shortage in Computer Science skills so your knowledge will be in demand!

Students typically go on to study degree courses in:

  • Computer Science
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Computer Games Programming
  • Cybersecurity
  • Business Computing
  • Engineering
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Aeronautics
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