A Level Computer Science

Computers are changing our world and our workforces. With technology now at the heart of our economy, our daily lives and scientific enterprises, the importance of preparing for our rapidly changing, technological world has never been greater. Computer Science is a stimulating and rewarding subject, which opens student’s eyes to the technologically advanced world around them, whilst empowering them with the ability to develop their computational thinking skills and problem solving capabilities. Taking a Computer Science course will prepare students for the jobs of the 21st century and open their imagination to the vast range of technology based career opportunities available to them.

Year 1 Topic Studied
Students will delve deep into learning about the characteristics of contemporary hardware, the software development lifecycle, programming principles and practice; along with the underpinning legal, ethical and cultural issues that technology companies face on a daily basis. Additionally, students will enhance their computational thinking, problem solving abilities and algorithm design whilst learning to create programs using Java.

Year 2 Topics studied
Students will build upon their knowledge of Computer Science from the first year of study and continue to look at the natural world through a digital prism in a much deeper level. Students will gain a deep understanding of how computers communicate, the history and reasons for current storage methods and operating systems, whilst continuing to develop computational thinking, problem solving abilities and algorithm design. To further enhance the programming aspect of the course, students are to complete a programming project with a link to a local, real world business. Students will be expected to liaise directly with the organisation, meet the staff and really get a feel for how the software will be used, before setting to work to design a specification, implement it and finally evaluate it alongside the client.

Assessment details
The units studied as part of the A Level Computer Science are assessed with two 2 hour 30 minute exams worth 80% of the course in total. The programming project contributes towards 20% of the overall A Level and will involve closely working with a local business.

Entry Requirements
As a minimum requirement we ask that applicants for this course achieve 5 grade B’s in their GCSE subjects, with a minimum of grade B in Maths and a previous Computing/Computer Science course.

Within the A Level course there is a large programming project which students will work on throughout the year. It is expected that students will continue to maintain their understanding of the Java programming language through selfguided practice outside of guided learning hours. Students will also be expected to independently communicate directly with the local business they have chosen for their programming project. In addition to the additional programming practice, there will be an expectation that students come to their guided learning sessions having read the notes and course texts sections relating to the lesson topic.

Outside of the Classroom
Outside of the classroom students will have the opportunity to involve themselves in a variety of extra-curricular activities which support, further develop and broaden their knowledge from lessons. Examples of such opportunities include the Apps4Good App development competition and the British Informatics Olympiad.

Reasons to Study this
Completing a full A Level in Computer Science will fully prepare students for their entry into the Computer Science sector within business or University. The experience students receive from working with a local business will develop their project management skills and time management skills, both of which are critical in the programming world.

Find Out More
For more information, please see the Exam Board specification for the course at http://www.ocr.org.uk/computing