Computer Science A-Level (AQA)

Course Overview

If you are interested in programming and wish to gain a much deeper knowledge of Computer Science than you may have experienced in GCSE this is an excellent and fascinating A level.  You will gain lots of career specific skills in programming including some advanced skills in object orientated programming which are very relevant to contemporary job opportunities.  You will also gain a wide overview of the theoretical aspects of Computer Science which will be very relevant in a degree course, apprenticeship or employment.

The course consists of two final papers - 80% of final mark (40/40) and an NEA controlled assessment - 20% of final mark

Paper 1: (On-screen exam: 2 hours 30 minutes)

This paper tests your ability to programme, as well as your theoretical knowledge of computer science.

A significant portion of the exam (roughly 60%) involves programming.  The language used is Python and the exam is strongly focused towards Object Oriented Programming (OOP)

Theory topics covered:

  • Fundamentals of programming

  • Fundamentals of data structures

  • Fundamentals of algorithms

  • Theory of computation


Paper 2: (Written exam: 2 hours 30 minutes)

This paper tests a student’s ability to answer questions from a variety of topics based on the following concepts:

  • Fundamentals of data representation

  • Fundamentals of computer systems

  • Fundamentals of computer organisation and architecture

  • Consequences of uses of computing

  • Fundamentals of communication and networking

  • Fundamentals of databases

  • Big Data

  • Fundamentals of functional programming

NEA: (50 hours in class)

The non-exam assessment assesses your ability to use the knowledge and skills gained through the course to solve or investigate a practical problem.  You are expected to follow a systematic approach to problem solving.  There is the option to produce a programming project of your choice as long as it is of sufficient A level complexity in any programming language that your teachers can support. 
Previous projects have been in Python and

This A level can be the start of a career in programming in any sector, online development, video gaming, finance, 3D rendering etc.  It is also a very useful support to any science based career.  Additional job opportunities that are growing fast are cyber security, data analysis and computer forensics.

You should be on track to achieve a minimum of 5 GCSEs at grades 4 - 9, including a grade 5 in Maths ideally a 5 in Computer Science.