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Why study A Level Computer Science?

If you’re fascinated by computers and the way in which they work, then an A level in Computer Science could be for you.

You’ll learn some of the basic principles involved in computing, in addition to studying programming techniques.

During the course of your studies, you’ll discover how to adopt the best practices in computer programming, giving you a firm grounding in the basics. You’ll learn structured programming, finding out how to break down problems into easily-managed steps. But you’ll also cover topics such as the overall impact of computers on society in general, as well as their legal impact.

The course covers two sections in theory and programming. During the theory element of the course, you’ll find out all about the binary system used to store information. A study of computer architecture will instruct you in the ways in which data is stored, accessed and retrieved, giving you insights into fetch-execute cycles and assembly language.

The programming element of coursework covers a variety of programming languages, such as Java, C#, Python, Pascal / Delphi and VB.Net. You’ll unlock the secrets to successful programming, covering topics such as algorithms and data structures.

The course also covers communication technologies, relational database modelling and hardware and software development.

A level Computer Science encourages creative – and logical – thinking and problem solving.

What skills do I need for A level Computer Science?

A minimum grade of B in GCSE maths is recommended for anyone considering A level Computer Science. There is a strong mathematical element to the course, so if this is a subject that you already enjoy, there’s a good chance that you’ll thrive in Computer Science.

There’s no obligation to have previously studied Computer Science at GCSE, but it’s certainly helpful. The A level course is fairly heavy on the programming side, so if you don’t have any prior experience, you may find it challenging.

How is the work assessed for A level Computer Science?

There are two exam papers for A level Computer Science students, each of which represents 40% of the total mark. The other 20% is based upon coursework assessment.

One exam is a written theory test, based upon your knowledge and understanding of computing. The second exam is usually computer-based, testing you on your programming knowledge.

The coursework element consists of a programming project that you can choose yourself. The aim is to prove to the examiner that you can use problem-solving skills, combined with your knowledge of programming, to create a workable program. This could be a mobile app or a computer game, or you might choose some other project that shows your understanding of machine learning and how it works.

The examiner will be looking for strong, clean code that is correctly structured, demonstrating your understanding of the underlying principles.

Where does A level Computer Science lead?

Good results in A level Computer Science will open the door to several options for further study. You could undertake a degree in Computer Science at university, or you could branch out into software engineering, or IT and information systems.

Ultimately, your career choices are vast with a good Computer Science qualification. The world is so dependent upon computers, that programming specialists are highly sought after in numerous fields, including games programming, AI, automation and machine learning.

If Computer Science is something that you’d like to study at A level, but you lack confidence, or could do with some help and support, The Profs are here to help. We can provide you with mentored support from a Computer Science specialist, who will help you to achieve your goals.

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