A Level Computer Science

A Level Computer Science

AS/A Level Computer Science

To build on our many years of success with ICT, and more recently computer science, from September 2016 we are to offer the new A Level Computer Science qualification.

Computer Science is a practical subject where students can apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to real-world systems. It's an intensely creative subject that combines invention and excitement, that can look at the natural world through a digital prism. Our AS and A Level Computer Science qualifications value computational thinking, and help students to develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand the power and limits of human and machine intelligence.

These are the concepts that lie at the heart of our Computer Science qualifications. They are excellent preparation for students who want to go on to study Computer Science at a higher level and will also provide a good grounding for other subject areas that require computational thinking and analytical skills.

Course Overview

Why choose A Level Computer Science?

Our AS and A Level Computer Science qualifications will inspire and challenge students to apply the knowledge they gain with the creative and technical skills they acquire.

Here are some of the key benefits of studying Computer Science at A Level:

  • The OCR examination board qualification we use is focused on programming, will build on GCSE Computing (although this is not an essential pre-requisite) and emphasise the importance of computational thinking as a discipline.
  • There is a maths focus, much of which will be embedded within the course.
  • Computational thinking will be at the core of the new specifications.
  • The AS will consist of two components, which will be externally assessed and weighted at 50% each.*
  • The A Level will consist of three components, two of which will be externally marked question papers making up 80% of the qualification.
  • The other 20% will be the coursework project, which will retain its current qualities but will be more focused, with a greater emphasis on coding and programming.

Entry Requirements

To study this course it is essential that you have 5 good A*- C passes at GCSE, including at least a B in mathematics or GCSE Computer Science. You do not need to have studied GCSE Computer Science to do this course but if you have not you will need at least B in mathematics.

At a glance

Here is a brief look at the course units and the content for AS and A Level Computer Science.

AS Computer Science

01 Computer Principles

This component will be a traditionally marked and structured question paper with a mix of question types: short-answer, longer-answer, and levels of response mark-scheme-type questions. It will cover the characteristics of contemporary systems architecture and other areas including the following:

  • The characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices
  • Software and software development
  • Programming
  • Exchanging data
  • Data types, data structures and algorithms
  • Legal, moral, ethical and cultural issues.

02 Algorithms and Problem Solving

This component will be a traditionally marked and structured question paper and will include a mix of question types: short-answer, longer-answer, and levels of response mark-scheme-type questions.
There'll be a short scenario/task contained in the paper, which could be an algorithm or a text page-based task, which will involve problem solving. Other areas covered include the following:

  • Elements of computational thinking
  • Problem solving and programming
  • Algorithms. 

A Level Computer Science

01 Computer Systems

This component will be a traditionally marked and structured question paper with a mix of question types: short-answer, longer-answer, and levels of response mark-scheme-type questions. It will cover the characteristics of contemporary systems architecture and other areas including the following:

  • The characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices
  • Software and software development
  • Exchanging data
  • Data types, data structures and algorithms
  • Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues.

02 Algorithms and Programming

This component will be a traditionally marked and structured question paper with two sections, both of which will include a mix of question types: short-answer, longer-answer, and levels of response mark-scheme-type questions.

SECTION A

Traditional questions concerning computational thinking:

  • Elements of computational thinking
  • Programming and problem solving
  • Pattern recognition, abstraction and decomposition
  • Algorithm design and efficiency
  • Standard algorithms.

SECTION B

There'll be a scenario/task contained in the paper, which could be an algorithm or a text page-based task, which will involve problem solving.

03 Programming Project

Students select a user-driven problem of an appropriate size and complexity to solve. This will enable you to demonstrate the skills and knowledge necessary to meet the Assessment Objectives. You will need to analyse the problem, design a solution, implement the solution and give a thorough evaluation. 

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