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Computing A Level at Finham Park School

Course description

One of the most unique characteristics about Computing is the creativity that can be used
throughout all aspects of the course. The approach to solving the problems faced in computing is only limited by your imagination as there are almost limitless methods of solving programming problems. One of the other more unique aspects of this subject is the amount of other disciplines that it compliments. There are also elements of Maths,
Science, Technology and even English. Anyone with a logical mind and problem solving abilities would do well in this subject.

In summary, you will develop a sound knowledge of current computing sciences issues and the ability to program and test applications. You will be developing programs from the ground up using a variety of programming constructs including selection, iteration, subroutines, functions, object orientation, recursion and more advanced mechanics such as path finding and low level AI. Whilst you are doing this you will be developing
your problem solving and logical thinking skills as each problem will require a distinct approach. You will also learn a great deal about handling data along with the various stuctures and sorting algorithms that go along with it i.e. Questioning, Merge Sorting, Binary Trees, Linked lists and many more advanced data structures.

Course content

The first year of this courses is the same content (only the exam structure changes) as the AS. In the second year of the course you will study the science behind computing in much greater depth. You will cover topics such as: Boolean algebra, Compression
techniques, Low level languages and Computational methods. These topics form a foundation for a deeper and more thorough understanding of the complexities of modern computing. You will also be completing a piece of coursework in which you will developing a programmed system of your choice. This could be; a game, a dynamic website, a database system or any other suitable topic you select. The focus and product made for the coursework is completely up to you and you are welcome to use any language to create your product. The project will follow a systems life cycle and is a great artefact to show to prospective universities.

Entry requirements

GCSE 5 grades 9-4 plus GCSE English and Mathematics at Grade 5 or above. You should have gained at least a Grade 6 in GCSE Computing. Prior knowledge of programming (in any language) would be useful. You also need to have done some coding before (in any language) in order to properly access this subject at this level.

Assessment

Students will undertake an internally assessed (and externally moderated) programming project, based on a topic and using a language of the student’s choosing.
Linear A-Level: 2 exams at the end of the course, 1 piece of coursework
 
• Computing Principles – 2 hours 30 mins, Written paper, 140 marks
• Algorithms and Problem Solving – 2 hours 30 mins, Written paper 140 marks.
• Programming Project – Coursework, 70 marks

The exams will focus on all of the topics mentioned about, strong logical, analytical and problem solving skills are invaluable.

Future opportunities

Studying Computing is a gateway to a wide variety of careers and further studies at university. In particular the following fields lean strongly on Computing: Financial and Accounting, The games industry, Scientific Studies (all disciplines), Software development, ICT in Business and any other career that involves solving problems with computers! With regard to further study Computing leads well into any Maths, Science, Technology or Computing based degree. Studying Computing will open a lot more doors than you would imagine as the skills you learn are invaluable and cross many subjects.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Finham Park School directly.

Last updated date: 17 November 2017
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