Contact Teacher: Mrs H Williams, Team Leader Computer Science
Exam Board: OCR (H446)
Why study Computer Science?
A-level Computer Science is naturally a strong subject for those wishing to pursue Computer Science at degree level. After university, a Computer Science degree could lead to numerous fields of study and professions, such as robotics, artificial intelligence, machine learning, cloud computing, big data processing, networking, ethical hacking, computer game development, home automation or even teaching. So much of the world uses computers nowadays that having a good understanding of how computers work and how to program them would be an advantage in many areas of industry.
The course helps students understand the core academic principles of Computer Science. Classroom learning is transferred into creating real-world systems through the creation of an independent programming project. The course will develop the student's technical understanding and their ability to analyse and solve problems using computational thinking.
How the course is taught and assessed
Students must take all three components to be awarded the OCR A-level in Computer Science.
Paper 1 - Computer Systems (no calculators)
2 hours 30mins written Exam (140 marks) 40% of A level – The internal workings of the (CPU), data exchange, software development, data types and legal and ethical issues.
Paper 2 - Algorithms and Programming (no calculators)
2 hours 30mins written exam (140 marks) 40% of A level – Using computational thinking to solve problems.
Non-exam assessment (NEA)
70 marks (20% of the A-level) This is an internally assessed unit moderated externally. Students will be expected to analyse a problem (10 marks) and design (15 marks), develop and test (25 marks), and evaluate and document (20 marks) a program. The program must be written in a suitable programming language.
It is not essential to have studied Computer Science at GCSE, though it is advisable for students to have undertaken some practice of programming. The course has a significant programming element and those who have no previous experience of programming often find it very challenging. We would expect a grade 6 in Mathematics. There are several topics that require the ability to reason logically and apply mathematical and logical processes to solutions. Those with an interest in mathematics will often also like Computer Science.