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Computer Science - OCR A Level at Bishopshalt School

Course description

This course is relevant to the modern and changing world of computing. Computer Science is a practical subject where students are encouraged to apply the academic principles to real-world systems. It is an intensely creative subject that combines invention and excitement, that can look at the natural world through a digital prism. The Computer Science qualification values computational thinking, helping students to develop the skills to solve problems, design systems and understand the power and limitations of human and machine intelligence.

Course content

The A level course is studied over 2 years and is made up of 3 units:


01 Computer systems

This unit covers computing theory with topics including:

  • How CPUs work and can make use of multi-core and parallel processing

  • Operating systems, compilers, interpreters, linkers and loaders

  • Methodologies for tackling large programming projects in business

  • Types of programming languages from Assembly Language through to object oriented Java

  • Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues


02 Algorithms and Programming

This unit covers problem solving and computational thinking:

  • Thinking logically, abstractly, concurrently and procedurally

  • Study of algorithms such as Quick Sort, A* and Dijkstra’s Shortest Path (as employed, for example, by Google Maps)

  • Most theory is reinforced with practical implementation using either Python, Visual Basic or Java

  • Study of the complexity for common algorithms to enable performance predictions for large systems


03 Programming project

This unit is the coursework element of the qualification. Students will select their own user-driven problem to solve. This could involve, for example, the creation of a 2D or 3D game, where Artificial Intelligence algorithms could be developed to control an enemy character. In the past students have successfully used development platforms such as Unity/C#, PyGame, Monkey-x or Java for their projects.

Entry requirements

GCSE grade 6 (B) in Maths and in English Language and GCSE grade B in Computing. We would also consider students who have not studied Computing before, who demonstrate a positive attitude towards the subject and have a satisfactory meeting with the Head of Department.


Unit 01 Computer systems - 40% of the overall grade.

2 hour and 30 minute examination that is externally marked by the examining board with a mix of short-answer, longer-answer and levels of response mark-scheme type questions.


Unit 02 Algorithms and Programming - 40% of the overall grade.

2 hour and 30 minute examination that is externally marked by the examining board.


Unit 03 Programming project - 20% of the overall grade.

Coursework element that is marked by the centre and externally moderated by the exam board.

Future opportunities

Students can follow Computer Science in higher education or many jobs within the Computing Industry. This qualification is also suitable for any technology based career. It will provide students with a range of transferable skills which will facilitate personal growth and foster cross curriculum links in such areas as maths, science and design and technology.

Further information

For further information please see Mr Parmar - Head of Computer Science.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 01 November 2017
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