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Exam Board and Specification Codes: OCR (H446) 

Computer science is the study of processes that interact with data and electronic devices. This is represented in the form of programs. It enables the use of algorithms to manipulate, store, and communicate digital information. A computer scientist studies the theory of computation and the design of software systems. 

A computer scientist applies methods to solve new problems. They will also need to solve future challenges by applying efficient methods with the help of the power of computing. 

The main purpose of this course is to develop computational thinking, which includes a range of problem-solving methods that programmers apply when creating programs and applications, and which students can apply when tackling all subjects and problems. The principles taught are enabling scientists to make exciting developments, including the possibility of involving DNA in computing, which could result in computer circuits made of genes. Developments in robotics and artificial intelligence, in cryptography and in networking will also be explored. 

The course gives students the confidence to develop knowledge and understanding of computing skills, including programming, to solve different problems. It also helps them to think in creative and innovative ways that can develop their ability to analyse situations logically and critically. Students develop an understanding of the factors which can be affected as a result of using computers, including social, legal, ethical, economic and environmental issues. In addition, students learn project and time management skills through completing the extensive necessary coursework.

What is covered by the course? 

Year 1 

Component 1 - Computing principles 

Students are introduced to the fundamental technical principles of computing. 

Component 2 - Algorithms and problem solving 

This builds on component 1 to include computational thinking and problem-solving. 

Year 2 

Component 3 - Computer systems 

  • The characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices 
  • Software and software development 
  • Exchanging data 
  • Data types, data structures and algorithms 
  • Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues 

Component 4 - Algorithms and programming 

  • Elements of computational thinking 
  • Problem solving and programming 
  • Algorithms 

. Component 5 - Programming project 

  • Analysis of the problem 
  • Design of the solution 
  • Developing the solution 
  • Evaluation 

How is it examined? 

A-level assessment consists of three written exams taken at the end of the two-year course. 

Paper 1 - Written Assessment (2 hours and 30 minutes) 

  • The internal workings of the (CPU), data exchange, software development, data types and legal and ethical issues 
  • 40% of the A-Level 

Paper 2 - Written Assessment (2 hours and 30 minutes) 

  • Using computational thinking to solve problems 
  • 40% of the A-Level 

Paper 3 - Non-exam Assessment 

  • 20% of the A-Level 
  • Students will be expected to analyse a problem, and design, develop and test, and evaluate and document a program 
  • The program must be to solve it written in a suitable programming language 

Related university courses & careers? 

Students can choose to continue to develop their skill and understanding of computing by selecting a computing degree at university level, which is in great demand by all types of businesses and organisations. They can also select other degree courses which are in great demand in our fast-growing IT-orientated environment, such as Engineering, Artificial Intelligence, Mathematics, Computer Science and Programming. 

Suggested literature & resources - The New Boston - Craig ‘n’ Dave – Crash Course Computer Science - Computer Science (Roberts, 2015) 

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W2 4AT

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South Kensington, London,

Tel: +44 (0)20 7225 0577

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