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Computer Science Level 3 - AS Level/A Level at Exeter College

Course description

Computer Science is distinct from ICT and is a much more scientific and technical subject. In general, it is suitable for students who have an interest in how computers work or who may be considering studying a related degree at university.

The course has an emphasis on computational thinking: a kind of reasoning used by both humans and machines and is an important life skill. The study of computation is about what can be computed and how to then do the computation. Computer Science involves questions that have the potential to change how we view the world; for example, we may be computing with DNA at some stage in the future, with computer circuits made of genes. This leads to the question, does the natural world ‘compute’? Experimental Computer Science can be done with computers whereby we can learn more about the natural world by observing the behaviour of interacting software in a simulations.

Computer Science is about designing new sets of instructions (algorithms) to solve new problems. In this sense Computer Science is no more about computers than astronomy is about telescopes. Many great challenges lie in the future for Computer Scientists to solve and this course, with its emphasis on abstract thinking, general problem-solving, mathematical reasoning, scientific and engineering-based thinking, is a good foundation for understanding these future challenges.

You will be taught through lectures, practical, problem solving and discussions. You will have access to fully equipped laboratories and PCs with many useful interactive resources.

Course content

The course is modular and is made up as follows:

AS Level:

  • Unit 1: Problem Solving, Programming, Data Representation and Practical Exercise
  • Unit 2: The Computer Components, The Stored Program Concept and The Internet

A Level:

  • Unit 3: Problem Solving, Programming, Operating Systems, Databases and Networking
  • Unit 4: The Practical Project

Entry requirements

You must have five GCSEs at grade C or above and three GCSEs at grade D or above, with English language and maths at grade B or above and a science GCSE (physics or additional) at grade B or above. You must also study AS maths. You should achieve a grade D or above in your AS Level to progress to year 2 of the A Level.


You will be assessed in May/June of each year. At AS Level there will be two modular exams; a 1 hour written paper and a 2 hour on-screen exam. At A Level there will be a further two modules; the practical project module is entirely coursework assessed while the second module will be assessed with a 2 hour 30 minute written exam.


Financial information

Scientific calculator (approx £10.00); text book written specifically for the AQA AS and A Level course (£20.00).


Future opportunities

This would be a good choice for students who wish to go on to higher education courses or employment where knowledge of Computer Science would be beneficial. After studying AS/A Level Computer Science students may go on to study computer science, mathematics, medicine, law, business, politics, or any type of science at a higher level.


How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Exeter College directly.

Last updated date: 02 February 2016
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