Should I Do A Level Computing? Watch

PeaceTreaty
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I've started my first year at 6 form a couple of months back, originally studying Maths, Physics, Music Tech and Computing but I had to study Computing at home since my school didn't offer it. Being the first subject I was doing at home, I found it hard to commit myself to it and have since been putting it on hold.

I plan on doing Computer Science at university which really only requires Maths but Computing would help a lot. The problem is, if I do badly then it would ruin my chances of doing it at uni. I have a fair amount of knowledge in terms of programming but I've been lazy when it came to working for exams during GCSEs and I'm finding Maths hard as it is.
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AdampskiB
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(Original post by PeaceTreaty)
I've started my first year at 6 form a couple of months back, originally studying Maths, Physics, Music Tech and Computing but I had to study Computing at home since my school didn't offer it. Being the first subject I was doing at home, I found it hard to commit myself to it and have since been putting it on hold.

I plan on doing Computer Science at university which really only requires Maths but Computing would help a lot. The problem is, if I do badly then it would ruin my chances of doing it at uni. I have a fair amount of knowledge in terms of programming but I've been lazy when it came to working for exams during GCSEs and I'm finding Maths hard as it is.
It's strange you're taking an A level, from home?! But anyway...

You should learn to structure your time, now. It's OK being lazy, everyone goes through that stage whether it be at the start (where there's less pressure) or at the end of the year (where there's more pressure, with exams on the horizon).

Life isn't going to be as straight forward (if you want to do really well) as it used to be like in school. Now you must identify all your available daily hours, preferably by creating a timetable in Excel or Word, and break the day down in to one hour slots. Fill all required hourly slots with your college time table and any other activities that require your time (don't exclude leisure time such as sports if you do any, or gaming etc). That way you can identify your free periods in your days where you typically have nothing to do.

You should aim to fill these empty hour slots with studying. It's easy to fill the slot and have the attitude of "I've filled the slot in my timetable, job done!", but now you physically have to put yourself out there and complete the tasks at hand. A qualification and degree is not a "walk in the park" if you want to do really well. Yes, you see people who do the bare minimum and still proceed to the following year but there would be a difference between you and them; you will be far more well informed, and greater knowledge is greater power (cliché I know, but when it comes to job interviews, you'd have more power over other candidates, that's for sure).

Ask your teachers how many hours you should be spending per week studying, I think they might return with 25-30 hours. Sounds like a lot, but if you spread it out, then it's just a typical 10-4 worth of studying then you can do whatever you like outside those times.

Complete the following tasks to help you be more efficient:
  1. Ask teacher how many hours to study p/week
  2. Devise a timetable
  3. Accomodate for leisure time
  4. Make every entry realistic
  5. Put yourself out there, and finish the tasks within those slots


Edit

To answer the question to your thread title - the choice is yours. If you want a degree in Computer Science, I highly recommend you keep doing A level Computing. You may cover some topics in your first year at university that you would have already completed in your college studies, which will give you a much stronger head start. The style of learning at university is different, therefore it would benefit you greatly to gain as much knowledge as possible now, which will then allow you to dedicate your time at university on other topics that you may struggle with (or just to have more beers).
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dada55
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I'm not sure for OCR, but for AQA computing: Will your school be able to provide the right set up (computer/compilers/ etc) during your Unit 1 Programming test? At A2, will you have a teacher to mark your coursework project?
I remember reading somewhere that you can't do AQA computing privately, so unless your school can provide whatever is needed, you might be learning a subject for no reason. You should research into that if you haven't already.

Like you said, most universities do not need Computing to do computer science, but you should still try doing 4 AS if you can, as that will help you with getting offers whether the 4th subject is computing or not.
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PeaceTreaty
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Thanks for the replies. My school says they'll let me sit external exams but I'm not sure if they'd be able to set up the computers without support. This is something I could easily do though and I've noticed some of their computers in their ICT area have Visual Studio, probably because they were originally planning on doing Computing. If I do take the A Level I'd be thinking about either doing AS3 (since I know it (FlashDevelop as the IDE)), Java or C#.
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Damask-
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(Original post by PeaceTreaty)
Thanks for the replies. My school says they'll let me sit external exams but I'm not sure if they'd be able to set up the computers without support. This is something I could easily do though and I've noticed some of their computers in their ICT area have Visual Studio, probably because they were originally planning on doing Computing. If I do take the A Level I'd be thinking about either doing AS3 (since I know it (FlashDevelop as the IDE)), Java or C#.
Which exam board are you studying? AQA are really really funny about private candidates and only allow you to use vb, vb.net, python, pascal or java.
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PeaceTreaty
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(Original post by Damask-)
Which exam board are you studying? AQA are really really funny about private candidates and only allow you to use vb, vb.net, python, pascal or java.
I was originally studying AQA but could always swap to OCR. I've only been learning the fundamentals of programming which I mostly know already.
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Damask-
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(Original post by PeaceTreaty)
I was originally studying AQA but could always swap to OCR. I've only been learning the fundamentals of programming which I mostly know already.
No matter which board you do, you can't just pick and choose which language you do; there'll be what's available to your centre or nothing. You'll also have missed out on quite a lot of work by this point.
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PeaceTreaty
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(Original post by Damask-)
No matter which board you do, you can't just pick and choose which language you do; there'll be what's available to your centre or nothing. You'll also have missed out on quite a lot of work by this point.
Well I've heard of people doing really obscure languages but maybe that's changed. Either way, hardware would be my main problem. I'll try and see if I can catch up since others recommend I continue and do a few past papers closer to the exam to see if I'll flop or not.
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AdampskiB
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(Original post by PeaceTreaty)
Well I've heard of people doing really obscure languages but maybe that's changed. Either way, hardware would be my main problem. I'll try and see if I can catch up since others recommend I continue and do a few past papers closer to the exam to see if I'll flop or not.
Well that seems redundant, to just potentially waste your time on an exam that may possibly be different?
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PeaceTreaty
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(Original post by AdampskiB)
Well that seems redundant, to just potentially waste your time on an exam that may possibly be different?
I was originally learning Visual Basic for computing which isn't going to be dropped by AQA anytime soon. I was just thinking of doing AS3 anyway since I'm pretty sure I saw it somewhere one AQA's website but I think that was for the coursework (COMP4). I'll take a look when I do start what languages both boards let you take before I continue.
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Damask-
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(Original post by PeaceTreaty)
I was originally learning Visual Basic for computing which isn't going to be dropped by AQA anytime soon. I was just thinking of doing AS3 anyway since I'm pretty sure I saw it somewhere one AQA's website but I think that was for the coursework (COMP4). I'll take a look when I do start what languages both boards let you take before I continue.
You can do any language you like for the project section, but for the exams you have a very limited number to choose from.
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PeaceTreaty
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(Original post by Damask-)
You can do any language you like for the project section, but for the exams you have a very limited number to choose from.
Yeah that's where I got confused when I thought you could choose any language. I'll probably to VB for COMP1 if I do take the A Level.
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