AQA Computing course sucks...

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Unregistered
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#1
Report 16 years ago
#1
Hi,

I'm coming to the end of my two year A-Level course in computing and looking back I think it was a total waste of time.

The course seems to be designed so people who actually know a bit about computing get so pissed off with the course they get **** grades and the others that don't know anything get A grades.

There are guys in my class who don't know what you mean when you say 'text-editor' or even 'Notepad'. Say 'command line' and you've lost them completely. Yet, these guys are on for A grades and poor old me will be lucky to get a C.

The CW was a joke. I was probably the only person with a working system yet because I didn't write a ****in' encyclopedia for my documentation I only got 25 marks (you can image after spending a year on this **** I was pretty pissed). So what was really tested was how much bull**** one could write down; of course my classmates who just expanded on a example system we did the last year got A grades.

Any comments? BTW I can take criticism, unlike the guy in the 'My Website' thread.
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Rich
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#2
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Originally posted by Unregistered
Hi,

I'm coming to the end of my two year A-Level course in computing and looking back I think it was a total waste of time.

The course seems to be designed so people who actually know a bit about computing get so pissed off with the course they get **** grades and the others that don't know anything get A grades.

There are guys in my class who don't know what you mean when you say 'text-editor' or even 'Notepad'. Say 'command line' and you've lost them completely. Yet, these guys are on for A grades and poor old me will be lucky to get a C.

The CW was a joke. I was probably the only person with a working system yet because I didn't write a ****in' encyclopedia for my documentation I only got 25 marks (you can image after spending a year on this **** I was pretty pissed). So what was really tested was how much bull**** one could write down; of course my classmates who just expanded on a example system we did the last year got A grades.

Any comments? BTW I can take criticism, unlike the guy in the 'My Website' thread.
I have a piece of advise for you, learn to work the system. If the exam board wants lots of (often pointless) documentation (as is evident from the markscheme) then give that to them. The only way you're going to get a good grade is by fullfilling the specification's requirements, so do that if you want the grade. Whether or not you agree with the qualification's requirements is irrelevant if you want a good grade.

For my AQA computing A2 coursework (CPT6) I got 120/120 because I made sure that I had covered each and every point listed on the specification, even though I thought many of them to be pointless in the context of my particular project. With a subject like A-level computing and a willingless to allocate a reasonable amount of time anyone can get 120/120. The seperate points listed on the specification are not difficult to accomplish if you choose a sensible project.

I agree with you that AQA A-level computing is not really of much use if you go on to study computing at university, but telling the examiner that won't get you the A grade.

Regards,
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Leekey
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#3
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#3
I totally agree!!!

I can't stand the way that the boards won't give you any credit unless you stick rigidy to their theorys / methods / practices. The most annoying thing is in tests when you know that the answer you have put down is absolutely correct but because you haven't written the exact phrase they want you get zip didily squat. If they wanted people to rewrite their text books on an exam paper, I am sure they could have trained monkeys or goats to do it.
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Unregistered
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#4
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#4
lol

I totally disagree, you all misunderstand the point and my father who has been in computers for all his life, agrees with the way the board do it to. They dont want computer geeks who know all the terms for example what a text-editor and notepad are.

Real computing isnt about knowing this ****, my dad knows **** all about anything if you asked him what the max mhz CPU u can buy on the market he wouldnt have a clue.

Its not about remembing facts, a hell of aload of computing is applying your knowledge you have to different scenarios, ie requires a certain degree of intelligence, and this really showed on the CPT2 paper this year.

I agree in the way, that certain people who probably arnt even going into the computing field at uni, might be able to pass the exams with flying colours because they are intelligence, and can come up with the answers, then someone who really wants to do computing, gets a C I can understand why you might be pissed off.

But you have to realise that you should have done IT, becuase computing is changing all the time, new programming languages, techniques, programs are changing all the time. And in real life you have to keep up with your field, but be intelligent enough to adapt, and apply your current knowledge. Thats why the papers often ask questions which some may think, wtf thats nothing to do with it. Lots of the specification uses terms like, must be aware, must have knowledge of, must have experiance with. You cant learn definitions to pass a computing course, you have to be skilled at adaping your knowledge, sorry if your brain doesnt work like that but thats what makes the diff between a high paid programmer, and some IT moron repeating the same task over and over.
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Memento
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#5
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The last poster is completly right.. i'm sick to death with the idiots in my class who can make a program to ask your name and think they are computer whiz kids, what i love is they all failed

As he said... IT is being the person who reads the computing manual and learns how to do something and no idea why, the computer student is the one who made the book, and has a wide knowledge on everything, and understands why it works, and not how to make it work using currently existing 3rd level languages.
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Unregistered
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#6
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#6
I totally agree with that last post.

I want to know, do uni's look favourably on people who get a A in the computing A level, and go to try and get a place on courses like dentistry etc?
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mrmarsupial
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#7
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#7
I think perhaps, maybe your confusing Computing with IT.

IT is the application of computers, the surface, learning to use what has been made well and doing a good job. You would do well on this course? I dunno I havnt done it :P

Computing is understanding how it all works, you dont need to know essentially about whats going on above, about all the software etc (most programmers think microsoft windows is very inferior btw, as in what they experiance, its nothing more than a basic tool to run a computer).
It is more about understanding, and applying new knowledge yea I would agree with that too. Think of it, a high programmer is right at the center, he makes what you work on. He doesnt actually need to know anything about anything other than what he does.

I might not be communicating myself well but in computing you basically are gaining experiance. Its all about experiance and showing your skills to adapt. (which shows in jobs, experiance IS EVERYTHING)

In IT your learning how to do things.
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Rich
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#8
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The thing is that Computing A-level does not require a high level of intelligence or creativity (at least not the AQA board anyway). It is merely learning definitions and practising past questions to get the style of questions. There's really not much intelligence involved. The level of coursework required also doesn't demand that much intelligence as it is usually always a database or such like as this is generally the only way to get full marks from the specification. The only creative part is deciding what to name your tables.

Once you get to university and do computing, it's a whole different kettle of fish I'm sure, but Computing A-level is not demanding of high-levels of intelligence, that's why it's rarely included in university offers for computer science courses from the top universities. They'd much rather you had further maths or physics.

I agree with the last posters that there is a fundamental difference between knowledge and intelligence, and to be a good programmer you need foremost intelligence, however computing A-level still demands more knowledge than intelligence.

Regards,
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mrmarsupial
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#9
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Oh yea tbh I agree AS computing doesnt actually take alot of intelligence (more common sense, which I always think of something you have to have to be intelligent lol, the pre-high inteligence stage), but in comparison with IT I bet it does (didnt wanna talk about this in my other post cause it sounds like ur putting people down).

Maths is prob the biggest intelligence shower, applying knowledge. Dunno about advancing physics, maybe real physics is too lol but I recon I will do ok in physics just by learning the forumlas I dont even know wtf half of em mean.

Who knows, thats what I say who knows? What is intelligence? What is knowledge? Different things good for different jobs, diff ppl better at diff things. Not implying people who can do maths so naturally are better, there thinking patterns are diff.

Way I see it you have:

memory - being able to remember simple definitions
understanding - not really needed to remember becuase you totally understand something so you can convey it well in your own words

then maths is like, something diff, you have to understand it but most people dont even need to understand it, they can just figure out how its done and do it. WHO CARES ANYWAY NIGHT !

All I know for sure is real life computing is all about experiance, and of course that experiance builds on actually being able hack it in the first place and there on. And becuase of this, this is why the make the papers werid but they get it wrong anyway cause they are crap, maybe they arnt trying to get people to think its about remembering facts.

But then like you said, its gets easy for people who dont know much about computers at all, but to avoid this they would have to make it much harder, then nobody could do it anyway ! lol

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Leekey
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#10
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#10
I would agree with what you said about a lot of the exam / course being common sense and I would also say that all the opinions about Computing being based on a wider knowledge and deeper understand of the workings of the computer are 100% correct. I do however still think that the way that we are tested for this knowlege is compltely wrong. I have studied the marks scheme for the past papers (OCR) and found that the answers they are looking for are very narrow ones that must contain certain "buzz-words" (they actually use that in the information to examiners section). This is totally wrong because you could effectively get every question on the paper "incorrect" because of you not stumbling across the phrase they are looking for or not spitting back up the exact phrase from the text-book. Surely the examiners should be allowed to use their common sense when marking (after all they should be qualified to do so)!!!!
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#11
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Everyone knows for certain courses, e.g. dentistry, medince, prospective students need to have at least 2 science subjects.

I am talking about the 3rd non-science subject. If the 3rd non-science subject is computing, surely uni's will prefer students with computing than those in subjects like geography, because to get an A in computing, a person must have proper common sense, a good memory, logic (all those algorithms to understand!!!) , and a will to work. All those skills are important for being a doctor or dentist.

Do people agree? I agree that maths is more important, but if you don't have maths, is computing a good alternative?
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#12
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Yea I would agree with that, definatelly. Maths, chemistry, futher maths, physics all above it but I think its prob gonna be the next one in showing how intelligent you are.
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Leekey
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#13
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Personally I don't think that there is are really good alternative to maths. I think that everyone knows how notoriously hard maths at A-level is and that is why it is so well respected. Computing is something that I would rate alongside subjects such as History or English (i.e the are not impossible but they do require intelligene and hard work).
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Dont forget electronics, man to get an A in that it would take some brain power.
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Leekey
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#15
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#15
I do electronics !!!!

Man it is sooooo difficult. Im almost certain Im gonna get an E dispite an A in my coursework. The tests were THAT hard, on the signal processing one I think I would have to get everyting I answered correct just to get an E.
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legi0n
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#16
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#16
This course was a complete waste of time.

Seriously.. We have a computing teacher that doesnt know anything. she strugles to boot a comp up let alone teach how to use them.

My coursework was perhaps the only 'open-ended' system ever to be produced by the school.. I created an online multiplayer computer game with over 6000 users playing it at time of submission. (and the teachers sed i hadnt got any users in ther report)

I spend hundreds of hours over the year in making it. But what happens? Well my teacher decided he needed to make an example of sum1. That sum1 just happened to be me because i had the highest AS marks. Even though the coursework had allready been marked and was an average grade (before completion) i proceded to add to my coursework to perhaps gain marks.... after i do so what do i find... my marks have dropped significantly. I ask why and im told that its to make sure pupils in the future years dont end up concentrating 2 much on the actual program and not the writeup..


I did absolutly everything the exam board asked for, and when i point this out i get the response... 'well im sorry but the marks have allready been sent out'.

So now to get my A i need to get amazing marks on the last 2 papers. I might be able to do this but i would have been more comfortable if i had a decent CW mark to back this up..


Also i agree, if you know loads about computers allready this course is tedious.. I had to teach 50% of the lessons because the teacher was unable to do so correctly. Also that useless PAT book pisses me off... She knows **** all about computers, shes just put random sentances from other books together in a random order and hoped it makes sense... and for the most part it doesnt pat!!! You talk ****!!

You even wrote a section on the life of bill gates... yet you dont mention logic gates. Also ive noticed that the pat heathcote book says at some point that you need to know somthing or other for the AQA course... then she doesnt actually tell you ther thing she sed u need to know.


This entire course is a joke, the woman who wrote the text book is the chief examiner n all. God help the people who actually know what there talking about!!!! If you write a fact you will get marked down coz the examiners want half truths or somthing that Pat woman has made up....


Ok ive had enough of a moan for 1 day..


Night night
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Lost Soul
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#17
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#17
I agree with the last post entirely as I know who you are on about. However I don't know which is most disturbing about the coursework which I did the fact that I got the highest grade in the class or the fact that none of the staff knew what I was trying to do! For this reason I had to do reems of research and "analysis" of/on other systems to get some idea of what to do.
My coursework involved me making VB talk to a nice little dumb interface in ASCII through a serial port!

For this reason I say that you have to have both common sense and intelligence to pull it off, ok, I may be slightly biased but when a teacher who has been teaching for ## years can't help you because a lack of skill, AND the exam board requiring exact parrot fashion answers so the under-paid, over-worked examiners can mark it easier.

(excuse any techno jargen from this point on)
This is what I put as an answer to a question in a practice paper;
* The internet is a series of computers linked together as a network to provide information

The answer they were after was
* The Internet is a network of networks with information on them.
What!???
God help everybody who is doing A-level Computing

Lost Soul
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#18
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#18
I am doing OCR computing. I got the highest marks in the class i.e. 119/120 from the teacher, for my AS level, and guess what - i got 104/120 from the real exam result slip!

Shocking!

I also did my A2 coursework this year. My teacher gave me 117/120. I doubt if that is going to come up on result slip! I have to get at least a A in either Module 5 and 6 - in order to get a A overall!

Module 5 is bloody hard....and module 6 - even more bloody hard! Have any guys here seen module 5 or 6 - it is pure bloody hard!
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legi0n
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#19
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#19
Yeah they are more difficult than AS, AS didnt really need thinking about. I finished the AS papers in litrally 10 mins of being allowed to start, and got some of the highest results.

But with A2 they make you learn pointless things that arnt needed and for the most part are incorrect. Ive found a decent website that has alot of the stuff you need to know... Like all the binary things. and i made a revision checklist of the sylibus in excel if any1 wants me to send it to them.

Basicly once you know binary and assembly language fairly well the rest is alot easyer.. Allthough i dont like the way you can phrase somthing slightly differently to the mark scheme and you lose all the marks for that question. *sigh* Thats what you get when you have examiners that dont know anything about the subject and are marking to the exact sentance ther given.

Any1 else have teaching staff that dont know what there talking about and rely 100% on the text book (which is incorrect alot of the time anyway)?
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