Computer Science

Course specification: OCR: AS Level H046, A Level H446

Content of AS Level

Computer Science ImageComputing principles (50% of the total marks)

In this unit you will look at the characteristics of contemporary computer systems architecture; software and software development; the presentation, structure and management of data; how data is
transmitted and networked; the characteristics of information systems, including databases; and the implications of computer use.

You will be assessed in a 1 hour 15 minutes written examination, comprising a mix of short-answer and longer-answer questions.

Algorithms and problem solving (50% of the total marks)

You will learn about designing solutions to particular problems; understanding computational thinking; how procedural programs are structured; the types of data and data structures; the common facilities of procedural languages; how to write maintainable programs; and how to test and run solutions.

You will be assessed in a 1 hour 15 minutes written examination, comprising a mix of short-answer and longer-answer questions and a short scenario/task involving problem solving.

Content of A Level

Computer systems (40% of the total marks)

By studying this unit you will understand the components of a computer and their uses; types of software and the methodologies used to develop them; how data is exchanged between different systems; how data is represented and stored in different structures and the use of different algorithms; and the laws surrounding the use and ethical issues that can arise from the use of computers.

You will be assessed by a 2 hour 30 minutes written examination, comprising a mix of short-answer and longer-answer questions.

Algorithms and programming (40% of the total marks)

This unit will focus on computational thinking and what it means. You will look at how computers are used to solve problems and how programs can be written to solve them. You will study standard algorithms and use algorithms and programming to describe and solve problems.

You will be assessed by a 2 hour 30 minutes written examination, comprising a mix of short-answer and longer-answer questions and a scenario/task involving problem solving.

Programming project (20% of the total marks)

Students select their own user-driven problem. Through this internally assessed and externally moderated coursework you gain an understanding of definition, investigation and analysis; software design, development and testing; documentation; evaluation; and how to produce written reports covering these topics.

Key skills

  • An enquiring mind
  • The capacity to think creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically
  • The ability to apply skills, knowledge and understanding in a range of contexts to solve problems

Enrichment opportunities

  • Opportunity to take part in Computer Science workshops and competitions

Higher Education and career prospects

Computer Science A Level is excellent preparation for students looking to take Computing Studies at degree level, or for anyone considering any kind of career in computing. Computer Science A Level should be considered for anyone interested in studying or considering a career in STEM.

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