Computer Science A Level
This A Level is included within the following A Level pathways as a recommended core subject: Maths, Physics and Computer Science and in the following pathways as a recommended additional subject: Engineering; Environment, Geography and Earth Science; STEM and Healthcare. However, you can choose Computer Science with any A Level/equivalent combination, there is plenty of choice and flexibility.
This A Level explores computational thinking and computer design. You will develop problem-solving and programming skills, alongside the learning the theory around computer architecture, networks and system development.
In Year One, you will study: Fundamentals of programming (taught in practical classes using Python); Fundamentals of data structures; Software development; Theory of computation; Data representation; Computer systems; Computer organisation and architecture; Consequences of uses of computing, Communication and networking.
Then in Year Two, the course covers: Fundamentals of databases; Big Data; Fundamentals of functional programming; Systematic approach to problem solving. You will also complete a non-exam assessment and undertake small programming and design assignments.
You will study the course for 4.5 hours a week in the first year and 5 hours a week in the second year. You should expect to spend an additional 4.5 hours per week on homework and private study. Mock exams are held during the first year (in February/March), but do not count towards the final A Level. Exams for the whole A level are held in May or June of the second year.
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Five GCSEs at grade 4/C, including 6/B or above in Maths and 5/C in English Language. Ideally you will have a GCSE in Computing OR a strong interest and enthusiasm for the subject.
Future career and study opportunities
Computer Science is a good entry point for careers in Computing and IT. Computing is useful in any area where logical reasoning and problem-solving skills are used. Students with a good Computer Science degree are very sought after in areas as diverse as computer security, digital graphics and accounting.
You will need to buy your own copy of the class book for home and revision purposes. You will find a memory stick or access to cloud storage very useful for backup and transfer of data.