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Computer Science A Level

In a world where computers and computer technology is used in every aspect of everyday life, it is no wonder that the demand for skilled computer scientists is increasing.

In A level Computer Science, students learn the principles of computing, algorithms, computer programming, machine data representation, hardware and software computer systems), computer architecture, networking and databases.

Computer Science is ideal for those with an abstract and analytical mind with an enthusiasm for problem solving and designing solutions.

 

Exam Board: AQA

STARTING IN SEPTEMBER

 

Search your university and career options if you study Computer Science A Level

 A level students will study a two year linear A Level programme. At the end of their 1st year, students will sit internally assessed exams.


Students aged 19 or over on 31st August directly preceding their academic year may be required to pay tuition fees for that year of study. Advanced Learner Loans may be available for students studying at Level 3. If you are aged 19-23 as at 31 August and this is your first full Level 3 you may not have to pay fees.


Students who are 19-24 years old with Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP) issued by the Local Authority are not required to pay course fees (ie tuition fees are free). Students will be required to provide a final copy of their EHCP provided by the LA as evidence.

  • What will I study and learn?

    On this course you will learn the fundamentals of programming using the popular VB.NET platform. You will also gain experience of Assembler programming which will give you an understanding of how a modern computer operates and develop your skills in logical problem solving.

    You will explore how data is represented on a computer and how the hardware and software components interoperate to produce a program solution. You will also look at the computer network environment and how computers communicate with each other. 

  • How is the course assessed?

    On the AS Level Computer Science course there are two exams:

    • On-Screen exam (50%) - This 1 hour 30 minute exam will test your ability to programme as well as theoretical knowledge related to this subject.
    • Written theory exam (50%) - This 1 hour 30 minute exam will consist of short-answer and extended-answer questions.

    On the A Level Computer Science course there will be three exams:

    • On-screen exam (40%) - This 2 hour 30 minute exam will test your ability to programme as well as theoretical knowledge related to this subject.
    • Written theory exam (40%) - This 2 hour 30 minute exam will consist of a series of short-answer and extended-answer questions.
    • Project (20%) - You will develop a programming project in VB.NET that will solve a computational problem.
  • What courses would combine well with this course?

    It is usual for students to study Mathematics A Level as well as computing because both appeal to those who like to work with logical problems. Mathematics A Level is also generally required by universities for entry in to their computing courses. Computing students often study science subjects as well. This does not rule out studying computing in combination with other subjects such as humanities or arts, as long as you have GCSE Maths at grade B/6 and enjoy logical problems.

  • What skills will I need for the course?

    You do not require any formal computing qualifications, but students are usually comfortable with the word processing, spread sheet and email/internet skills that they pick up from home and schools. What is essential is an enthusiasm for computers and working with logical problems.

  • What formal entry requirements will I need?

    You will need an average points score of 5.75 including GCSE English and Maths at grade 6.

    Points calculation

    The average points score for entry to an A Level programme will be calculated using your 8 best GCSEs OR 6 GCSEs plus 1 technical qualification (equivalent to a maximum of 2 GCSEs and 10 points).

    From 2017 English Language, English Literature and Mathematics GCSE will be graded numerically (1 – 9. Grade 5 = a good grade C, grade 6 = grade B and grade 7 = grade A).

    To work out your average and find out more information, please see our Entry Requirements page.

  • What could the course lead to in higher education or careers?

    With computers used in virtually every aspect of modern life, it is not surprising that the course is an excellent choice for those who see their eventual careers in computing, often via a computing/IT course at university. However with such widespread use of computers the course can be valuable alongside other subjects and careers, particularly, though not exclusively, in science and engineering. Those who are put off computing careers because they think such careers only involve working with numbers and machines should realise that in many computing jobs what is vitally important is good communication with people.

  • Are there any costs involved?

    You will need a memory stick, portfolios, dividers and stationery £20. You will require two text books, costing £20 each (prices are for 2015).

 

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