Computer Science is a practical subject where students can apply the academic principles learned in the classroom to real-world systems. It’s an intensely creative subject that combines invention and excitement, and can look at the natural world through a digital prism.
A Level study includes a focus on programming and computational thinking. It develops problem solving skills, as well as designing systems.
The course is a two year linear A level with two terminal papers each lasting 2.5 hours. There is also a practical programming assignment with many student choosing to research, design and build a computer game.
Unit 1 Computer Systems
• The characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices (What makes a computer?)
• Software and software development( what process are used to build software)
• Exchanging data
• Data types, data structures and algorithms
• Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues
Unit 2 Algorithms and programming
• Elements of computational thinking
• Problem solving and programming (generally with the Python programming language)
• Algorithms to solve problems and standard algorithms for searching and sorting i.e. binary search, merge sort, A* and Dijkstra’s shortest path algorithm
Unit 3 Programming project
The learner chooses a computing problem to work through where they must
• Analyse the problem
• Design the solution
• Develop the solution
• Evaluate the solution and their performance
A minimum of five subjects at grade 4 (or above) including: Grade 4 (or above) in English Language and a grade 6 (or above) in Maths is essential, a grade 4 in at least one Science subject and a background in GCSE Computing would be an advantage.
The specification and other resources can be found at https://www.ocr.org.uk/qualifications/as-and-a-level/computer-science-h046-h446-from-2015/