A Level Computer Science
The Computer Science course has been designed for students who wish to go on to higher education courses or employment where knowledge of computing would be beneficial (this includes careers in medicine, law, business, economics, politics or any type of science).

Programming is taught through a focus on problem-solving scenarios, whilst computer fundamentals, are taught alongside.

The emphasis is on computational thinking, which means abstract think-ing, general problem-solving, algorithmic and mathematical reasoning and scientific and engineering-based thinking. This course is not just about learning to use tools or training in a programming language, but will focus on the fundamentals of computer science.

Why study this subject at A-Level?

The Computer Science course will help you learn to think computational-ly, which means general problem-solving, algorithmic and mathematical reasoning and scientific and engineering-based thinking – all skills which are highly valued by top employers and universities. Most of our students have pursued computer science to degree level at top universities and then go onto well paid careers (including one at Microsoft in Seattle).

Summary of the course

Details of the course content can be found overleaf in the summary of content assessed within each component, or in detail within the specifica-tion online at the website listed. If you can think logically and creatively, are prepared to apply yourself to solving problems using a computer and will work hard, then this is the course for you. If not, look elsewhere.

While doing GCSE Computer Science is not compulsory for this course, having done it will give you a huge advantage, if you haven’t done GCSE Computer Science you need to be prepared to work hard for the first few months to catch up with those who have done it. Don’t take this as an easy option – it isn’t!

How is the qualification assessed?

The A-Level assessment comprises of three components, with the exams sat at the end of Year 13.

Component 1: Programming and System Development

  • (40% 2 hr 45 written exam)
  • This component investigates programs, data structures, algorithms, logic, programming methodologies and the impact of computer science on society.

Component 2: Computer Architecture, Data, Communication and Applications

  • (40% 2 hr 45 written exam)
  • This component investigates computer architecture, communication, data representation, organisation and structure of data, programs, algorithms and software applications.

Component 3: Programmed Solution to a Problem

  • (20% Non-exam assessment – coursework)
  • Candidates discuss, investigate, design, prototype, refine and implement, test and evaluate a computerised solution to a problem chosen by the candidate which must be solved using original code (programming).

This is a substantial piece of work, undertaken over an extended period of time.
The project topic could involve a computer solution to:

  • a data processing problem of an organisation;
  • a scientific or mathematical problem;
  • a simulation of a real-life situation;
  • a computer-aided learning system.
computer programming

Entry Requirements

Applicants will require at least a Grade B in GCSE Computer Science (for those who have not studied GCSE Computer Science, applicants will require at least a Grade 7 in GCSE Mathematics).

If you do not achieve this grade then you will need to convince the Faculty Leader or equivalent teacher of your suitability for the course.

2017 Specification


Component 1 (40%)

2 hours 45 mins

Component 2 (40%)

2 hours 45 mins

Component 3 (20%)


computing a levvel