Computer Science is understanding in detail how computer systems work. Studying Computer Science at AS and at A level will give you a deep insight and understanding into aspects of computing from the microprocessor, to memory, storage, operating systems, network architectures and computer programming. At the end of the course you will have an excellent understanding of how the world around us functions with the use of technology.
What does the AS consist of?
You will sit two exams at the end of the year. Each exam is worth 50% of the AS and is 90 minutes long. The first exam is paper based whilst the other is an on screen test which will allow you to create and edit computer programs as well as answer some theory questions.
The first paper will cover the fundamentals of computers, i.e. hardware, software, operating
systems, system life cycles, data and other similar topics. The second paper will cover more practical problems that will allow you to demonstrate some solid programming skills.
What does the A level consist of?
The A level course in Computer Science covers everything that the AS does but with more advanced theoretical material and a major coursework element which will account for 20% of the A level. The project is a substantial piece of work in which you plan, develop and test a computer system. The remaining 80% is by two theory examinations each of 2 hours 30 minutes. The first exam is paper based whilst the other is an on screen test which will allow you to create and edit computer programs as well as answer some theory questions.
In the second year, the theory work builds on Computing what you learnt in the first year. You will study topics such as operating systems, computer architecture, data representation, databases
and networking in more detail. You will also learn more about systems development, implementation and management. The coursework element will give you first-hand experience at software development.
Is this course for me?
If you enjoy using computers and you want to know more about how they work and how they can be used, you should probably think about studying Computer Science. Both the AS and A level in Computer Science are varied, interesting and challenging. You are most likely to enjoy the subject if you have a real interest in science, technology and/or mathematics; you are a logical thinker and enjoy problem solving.
What can I do after this course?
A good foundation in Computing will enable you to follow one of a wide variety of career paths. Well qualified and skilled programmers are in great demand as shown in numerous surveys. A computing qualification is a good basis for work as a technician, computer engineer, software engineer, network administrator, software developer or programmer.
The course is also an excellent preparation if you want to study or work in areas that rely on the skills you will develop. These areas include engineering, design, financial and resource management, science and medicine.
Who can I contact for more information?