Computer Science


How long does it last? Two years for A Level, one year for AS Level.
Course Code: A Level Computing AQA 7516 & 7517
Exam Board Specification: http://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/ict-and-computer-science/as-and-a-level/computer-science-7516-7517 

Students who take this course:
Candidates will need a grade 6 or above in both Maths and English and desirably in GCSE Computing. The course has an emphasis on abstract thinking, general problem-solving, algorithmic and mathematical reasoning, scientific and engineering-based approaches. This course is academically rigorous and requires students to be independently learners who have a genuine interest in how computers work and in programming computers using a formal scripting language.

Students will develop a software project and associated report to solve a real-life problem. This project can form a useful discussion topic for UCAS applications.

Course Description:
This course has been designed to provide candidates with a critical understanding of problem solving, programming, data representation, computer systems, hardware elements of computers, machine level architecture, hardware devices, the structure of the internet and the consequences of uses of Computing.

AS Level:
Unit 1: Paper 1, Problem Solving, Programming, Data Structures, Theory of Computing and Practical exercise. (50 % of overall grade)
A practical, on-screen, examination which allows candidates to demonstrate their knowledge of the fundamental principles of the subject, focusing on programming through a problem-solving scenario using pre-release material and skeleton program.

Unit 2: Paper 2, Computer Components, Organisation and Structure, Data Representation, The Stored Program, Consequences of Computing, and The Internet. (50 % of overall grade)
A written paper which focuses on the hardware and software aspects of Computing and the social and economic consequences of Computing and the fundamentals of communication and networking.

Units:

  • Fundamentals of programming
  • Fundamentals of data structures
  • Systematic approach to problem solving
  • Theory of computation
  • Fundamentals of data representation
  • Fundamentals of computer systems
  • Fundamentals computer organisation and architecture
  • Consequences of uses of computing
  • Fundamentals of communication and networking

A Level:
The A Level will continue to build on the AS Level subject knowledge and with systematic approaches to:

Unit 1: Paper 1, All of the AS building on Problem Solving, Programming, Data Structures, Theory of Computing and Practical exercise. (40 % of overall grade)
This unit focuses on computational thinking, what can be computed, programming and problem-solving including communication and networking.

Unit 2: Paper 2, Computer Components, Organisation and Structure, Data Representation, The Stored Program, Consequences of Computing, Databases, Big Data, Communication and Networking and The Internet. (40 % of overall grade)

Unit 3: The Computing Practical Project – Non Exam Assessment (NEA). (20 % of overall grade) This is an internally assessed unit, in which candidates are required to complete a comprehensive report following the systems life cycle on a computer-based programmed solution to a complex, real world problem of their choice.

Units:

  • Fundamentals of programming
  • Fundamentals of data structures
  • Systematic approach to problem solving
  • Theory of computation
  • Fundamentals of data representation
  • Fundamentals of computer systems
  • Fundamentals computer organisation and architecture
  • Consequences of uses of computing
  • Fundamentals of communication and networking
  • Fundamentals of databases
  • Big data
  • Fundamentals of functional programming
  • Systematic approach to problem solving
  • Computing practical project.