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computer science a level

Computer Science A Level

Computer Science is playing a rapidly-increasing role in finding solutions to real-world problems, particularly where large amounts of information are involved.

A Level Computer Science divides learning into three sections: Computer Fundamentals, Programming Techniques and Logical Methods, and a Programming Project. A natural progression from GCSE Computer Science, it provides the perfect springboard for students looking at specialising in a computing-based career.

You will study a range of theory topics including hardware, software, networks, system development life cycles, the legal framework and moral implications of computer use. You will also study the principles of designing algorithms and programming solutions.

Through the design, development and testing of a programming solution to a problem you will have the opportunity to apply your learning creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically.

What you will study

The course is intended to give you the scope to develop your interest in different aspects of computer science. The course is split into 14 areas:

  1. Fundamentals of programming
  2. Fundamentals of data structures
  3. Fundamentals of algorithms
  4. Theory of computation
  5. Fundamentals of data representation
  6. Fundamentals of computer systems
  7. Fundamentals of computer organisation and architecture
  8. Consequences of uses of computing
  9. Fundamentals of communication and networking
  10. Fundamentals of databases
  11. Big Data
  12. Fundamentals of functional programming
  13. Systematic approach to problem solving
  14. Non-exam assessment - the computing practical project

Entry requirements

  • Five subjects at grade 4 or above, including English and maths
  • Grade 6 or above in GCSE Computing and Mathematics

Why study A Level Computer Science at Windsor Sixth Form?

  • Experienced teachers - The Computer Science department at Windsor is well resourced with experienced teachers 
  • Choose your specialism - You will have the opportunity to apply your learning creatively, innovatively, analytically, logically and critically in a topic of your choice for your NEA.
  • Excellent support - The Computer Science Department is passionate about their subject and committed to supporting their students.

Other courses that will go well with A Level Computer Science

Computer science has strong connections to many other disciplines. Mathematics, further mathematics, physics and economics combine well with A Level Computer Science. 

If you wish to study for a computer science degree you should consider combining it with A Level Mathematics as this is required at many universities.

What you can do after the course

A good grade in Computer Science at A level is valued by universities and employers since it requires the development of analytical thinking and problem solving skills. This course also lays an appropriate foundation for further study of Computer Science, Engineering, Physics or related subjects in higher education.

Many problems in the sciences, engineering, health care, business and other areas can be solved effectively with computers, but finding a solution requires both computer science expertise and knowledge of the particular application domain. Thus, computer scientists often become proficient in other subjects.

How the course is assessed

The course is assessed through two written exam papers (80%) and one practical project (20%).

Paper 1 tests your ability to program, as well as your theoretical knowledge of computer science from subject content 1-4 above and the skills required from section 13 above. On-screen exam: 2 hours 30 minutes - You answer a series of short questions and write/adapt/extend python programs. They will be issued Preliminary Material and a Skeleton Program for use in the exam.

Paper 2 tests your ability to answer questions from subject content 5-12 above. Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes - You will answer compulsory short-answer and extended-answer questions.

The non-exam assessment assesses student's ability to use the knowledge and skills gained through the course to solve or investigate a practical problem. You will be expected to follow a systematic approach to problem solving, as shown in section 13 above.

Where do our students progress to after the course?

There are huge opportunities in the many computer science fields, including mobile technologies, games development, project management, systems analysis and all the technical areas such as networking, databases and computer security. Employers are especially keen to recruit those with soft skills, such as the ability to work in teams, talk in layman’s terms to clients or manage others.

Student success stories

In 2021, students progressed to the following universities to study fields within Computer Science:

  • Hull University - Mechatronics and Robotics
  • University of Birmingham - Computer Science
  • Aston University - Foundation Degree in Engineering