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A Level: Computer Science at Beauchamp College

Course description

Study computing if you want to explore and investigate how computers work and are used. 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.

Course content

The specification truly reflects the essence of Computer Science; is recognized by Higher Education as a rigorous scientific subject; and reveals the subject to be a fundamental, academic discipline underpinning other subjects. Paper 1 – 40% of A-Level – 21⁄2 hour on-screen examination

• Programming – imperative procedural-oriented, OOP, recursive techniques

• Data structures – arrays, lists, dictionaries, hash tables, queue, graph, tree, stack, vector, fields, records, files (text & binary)

• Algorithms – traversal, search, sort, optimization

• Theory of computation – abstraction, automation, FSM with and without output, language hierarchy, complexity, Turing machines

Paper 2 – 40% of A-Level – 21⁄2 hour written examination

• Data representation – number systems/bases, information coding systems, encryption

• Computer systems – logic gates, Boolean algebra, program translator types, classification of programming languages, system software

• Computer organisation and architecture – machine code/assembly language, CPU, internal components of computer, external hardware devices (limited range)

• Consequences of uses of computing – software and their algorithms embed moral & cultural values, issue of scale brings potential for great good but also ability to cause great harm, challenges facing legislators

• Communication and networking – communication methods/basics, network topology, wireless, the Internet, TCP/ IP, CRUD applications and REST, JSON, JavaScript

• Databases – data modelling, relational database, SQL, client server databases

• Big Data – volume/velocity/variety, fact-based model, distributed processing and functional programming

• Fundamentals of functional programming – function type, first-class object, function application, partial function application, composition of functions, map, filter, reduce, lists

Project – 20% of A-Level – practical project Non-exam assessment allows you to use the knowledge and skills gained through the course to solve a practical problem of interest over an extended period.

Entry requirements

5 grade 5s (or equivalent), plus at least grade 5 in English Language or Literature.

6 or above in Maths.

6 or above in Computing if taken at GCSE.


Financial information

The faculty uses Python to teach coding. Python is a general-purpose, high-level programming language. It is intended to be a highly readable language with an uncluttered visual layout, using whitespace indentation, rather than curly braces or keywords to delimit blocks of code.

Python supports multiple programming paradigms, including object-oriented, imperative and functional programming. Python is one of the most popular programming languages. Google, Yahoo!, CERN and NASA make use of Python and The Raspberry Pi computer project has adopted Python as its principle user programming language.

Speak to the teachers in the faculty of Computer Science if you have any further questions. The course textbook will give you a good idea of the theory content. You can find more detailed information on the AQA website:

Future opportunities

Computer Science is a subject which is becoming more and more central to every type of business. 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. Further specialized study can lead to employment in the gaming industries. A computing qualification is a good basis for work as a technician, consultant, computer engineer, software engineer, analyst, data modeler, systems administrator, 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, especially where they are applied to technical problems. These areas include engineering, design, financial and resource management, science and medicine.

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 02 November 2017
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years