Computer Science

WHY SHOULD I STUDY GCSE COMPUTER SCIENCE?
Do you want to learn how to program computers using a professional programming language? Do you want to know how the internal components of a computer system function? Do you want to know about how information is transferred across the internet? If so, then GCSE Computer Science is the course for you.

In GCSE Computer Science you will develop a range of skills using Python 3, a programming language currently used by Google, Dropbox and YouTube in the development of their computer systems. You will learn how to create coded solutions to a variety of problem-solving scenarios and how to develop associated design and testing documentation.

Alongside the practical programming skills, you will develop your knowledge of a wide range of theoretical elements of Computer Science including: how Binary and Hexadecimal can be used to communicate with computers, how images, sounds and characters can be represented within a computer and how data can be compressed and sent across networks such as the internet. You will also develop your knowledge of the internal components of computer systems, looking at how different hardware connects to one another and how data can be broken down and transferred across different types of networks. With Cyber Security being an ever-growing area of importance in Computer Science, you will also study how hackers attempt to breach security measures and learn of the skills and techniques employed by programmers to help combat these types of threats.

WHAT DOES THE COURSE INVOLVE?
During the Computer Science GCSE, you will cover 8 main areas of study:

  1. The Fundamentals of Algorithms 
  2. Programming Concepts
  3. The Fundamentals of Data Representation
  4. The Fundamentals of Computer systems
  5. The Fundamentals of Computer Networks
  6. The Fundamentals of Cyber Security
  7. Aspects of Software Development
  8. The Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society, including issues of privacy

HOW WILL I BE ASSESSED?
You will be assessed on your knowledge through two, 1 hour 30-minute exam papers. The exam papers will test your theoretical knowledge as well as your ability to solve computational problems, hand-trace algorithms and to determine how well you are able to apply your computational knowledge to a range of given scenarios. Both exam papers will consist of a mix of multiple choice, short-answer and long-answer questions.

Paper 1: Computational thinking and problem solving

  • Areas of study 1 to 4
  • 80 marks available
  • 50% of final GCSE

Paper 2: Written Assessment

  • Areas of study 3 to 8
  • 80 marks available
  • 50% of final GCSE

Please note: The way in which students are assessed on their programming knowledge and skills across all GCSE Computer Science courses is currently being reviewed, with small changes planned to be made to the specifications for teaching from September 2020. This means that part of Paper 1 or Paper 2 will contain programming elements.

THINGS TO CONSIDER:
You should consider GCSE Computer Science if you have a keen interest in learning a programming language, like to work on logical problems and have good Maths skills. Programming involves the regular use of maths and it is essential in order to do well in this subject. We also offer A-Level Computer Science, so this is a natural progression route, should you wish to study the subject at Sixth-Form.

For further details of this course, see Mr Daniels, Leader of Computer Science & ICT.

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