Computer Science AS & A Level
Practical programming forms a significant element of the course predominantly in C# which complements any Python experience you may already have.
You will also 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. The background to computing, including its consequences in society, is also a focus.
A minimum of 4 subjects grade 5 or above at GCSE with a grade 5 in GCSE English Language and Maths. You do not need to have studied GCSE Computer Science.
What will I study?
The course is organised into four modules including practical programming elements in both years.
The modules are:
- Computer Fundamentals - hardware, software, the structure and management of data and systems development life cycle
- Programming Techniques and Logical Methods - problem-solving, writing and testing programs and the structure of languages
- Advanced Computer Theory - functionality of operating systems, computer architectures, data representation and structures, programming in low level, web technologies and scripting and an understanding of database design and SQL
- Computing Project - production of a programmed solution and associated design and testing chosen by you
Method of delivery
You will typically be in College four days per week, with lesson style varying according to subject. In-College delivery is supported by online resources, and students develop strong independent learning skills to equip them for their next steps.
How will I be assessed?
AS Level: Two written examinations (1 hour 30 mins) (100%).
A Level: Two written examinations (2 hours 30 minutes) (60%).
Practical project – coded solution and coursework report (40%).
Good course combinations
This course combines well with most other A Levels and is particularly complemented by Maths, sciences and creative subjects.
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. Many students progress to a range of university degree courses whilst others progress to apprenticeships or full-time work in the computing or wider technology sectors.
“I thought it was going to be difficult for me to settle into the subject as I didn’t study it at GCSE. However, my tutors explained all the topics in detail and always made sure I understood. My favourite part is doing computational thinking where we solve riddles and puzzles. I love the practical aspects of learning that coincide with the theory.”