The Student Room Group

Can i teach myself computer science as a 5th A level?

Hi , I have decided on studying maths, further maths, physics and latin for my four a levels . Yet me and my friend due to our interest in computing are very interested in studying for a computer science/computing a level (or at least AS) outside of school as our school neither allows 5 a levels or offers computer science.Therefore i wanted to ask ....

1. Is this going to be too much work? i.e. How much work is computer science
2. Which is the best specification to go with e.g. AQA , OCR etc
3. How should we go about studying for the exam... getting a regular tutor, studying from a text book, the internet etc!

Any help would be appreciated massively.

Should be noted I am considering applying for engineering ,physics, classics or natural sciences (including computer science as one of my IA choices at cambridge)
Reply 1
1) you don't need it to do computer science at university but it certainly helps
since I am doing the old spec, I'm not sure how much more difficult it is for the new guys, though my teachers tell me the stuff we are learning now at A2 you'll be learning at AS and some more degree stuff as well
it can get tricky sometimes but you CAN manage if you work hard. I didn't do computing at GCSE and did it at AS and was getting As throughout the year (but only got a B in the end because the exam was really difficult) - work on your programming from now since they could ask you to write a program in a language of your choice/ pseudocode so you gotta know your stuff

2) I'm not sure, I do OCR but they're very picky and idiotic sometimes - esp when it comes to allocating marks in exam questions it differs from year to year and sometimes makes no sense/ is wrong anyway. But for the most part it's alright - not sure on AQA

3) the textbook is ****, use the internet, the specification and look for people's notes - learn from YouTube videos
a lot of it is memory work as well
if you can find a tutor sure get one it'll help and they can help with resources too

hope i helped somewhat
Reply 2
Definitely use the internet to learn any programming/web development required in the specification - there is masses of free resources out there - I've taught myself HTML/CSS/JS and some Java from the internet. You should be able to find ample material for most major languages.

In terms of taking the exam, you would need to research this very carefully for a Computing subject, and the practicalities of this might affect which board you sit. You would probably need to look at information for 'private candidates' (this is what candidates who are not studying at a particular school, but rather just sitting exams there are called). Since you are attending a school you may need your school's permission to sit another exam at a different school. Research the three main exam boards (AQA, OCR, Edexcel) and also Cambridge International Examinations.

I believe that AQA will send you a list of schools that have allowed private candidates to sit exams at their school in the past - many will offer all boards. You may also be able to do it at a FE institution - worth contacting any in your locality.
Reply 3
Original post by z33
1) you don't need it to do computer science at university but it certainly helps
since I am doing the old spec, I'm not sure how much more difficult it is for the new guys, though my teachers tell me the stuff we are learning now at A2 you'll be learning at AS and some more degree stuff as well
it can get tricky sometimes but you CAN manage if you work hard. I didn't do computing at GCSE and did it at AS and was getting As throughout the year (but only got a B in the end because the exam was really difficult) - work on your programming from now since they could ask you to write a program in a language of your choice/ pseudocode so you gotta know your stuff

2) I'm not sure, I do OCR but they're very picky and idiotic sometimes - esp when it comes to allocating marks in exam questions it differs from year to year and sometimes makes no sense/ is wrong anyway. But for the most part it's alright - not sure on AQA

3) the textbook is ****, use the internet, the specification and look for people's notes - learn from YouTube videos
a lot of it is memory work as well
if you can find a tutor sure get one it'll help and they can help with resources too

hope i helped somewhat


Im struggling with OCR too, any tips?
Original post by z33
1) you don't need it to do computer science at university but it certainly helps
since I am doing the old spec, I'm not sure how much more difficult it is for the new guys, though my teachers tell me the stuff we are learning now at A2 you'll be learning at AS and some more degree stuff as well
it can get tricky sometimes but you CAN manage if you work hard. I didn't do computing at GCSE and did it at AS and was getting As throughout the year (but only got a B in the end because the exam was really difficult) - work on your programming from now since they could ask you to write a program in a language of your choice/ pseudocode so you gotta know your stuff

2) I'm not sure, I do OCR but they're very picky and idiotic sometimes - esp when it comes to allocating marks in exam questions it differs from year to year and sometimes makes no sense/ is wrong anyway. But for the most part it's alright - not sure on AQA

3) the textbook is ****, use the internet, the specification and look for people's notes - learn from YouTube videos
a lot of it is memory work as well
if you can find a tutor sure get one it'll help and they can help with resources too

hope i helped somewhat


Do you do the OCR Computer Science new spec for 2015? :redface:
Reply 5
Original post by Someboady
Do you do the OCR Computer Science new spec for 2015? :redface:


no sorry in year 13 now
Reply 6
Original post by TS21
Im struggling with OCR too, any tips?


A2 or AS ?
Original post by millardben
Hi , I have decided on studying maths, further maths, physics and latin for my four a levels . Yet me and my friend due to our interest in computing are very interested in studying for a computer science/computing a level (or at least AS) outside of school as our school neither allows 5 a levels or offers computer science.Therefore i wanted to ask ....

1. Is this going to be too much work? i.e. How much work is computer science
2. Which is the best specification to go with e.g. AQA , OCR etc
3. How should we go about studying for the exam... getting a regular tutor, studying from a text book, the internet etc!

Any help would be appreciated massively.

Should be noted I am considering applying for engineering ,physics, classics or natural sciences (including computer science as one of my IA choices at cambridge)



1. Computer Science can be difficult to grasp if you are starting fresh, especially if you are doing four other subjects alongside it. I took the OCR A Level after taking OCR GCSE Computing, which helped me out greatly. Your other subjects in maths and further maths do compliment CompSci quite nicely though, especically if you are taking D1 and D2 this year.

2. I wouldn't be able to give a balanced report on which to pick as I only did OCR, but I did enjoy the OCR course :tongue:

3. Computing exams are either very specific and theory related (F451 and F453 in my course) or very logic and code related (F452). For the theory based exams, learn and memorise the common topics and answers, and practice exam technique like how to describe or explain a topic when asked. For programming based exams, it pays to do practice exam questions and programming questions, to get you into the problem-solving mindset. Setting yourself programming tasks helps too for this I found.

Hope my advise helps, any questions please contact and enjoy the course if you choose to take it :smile:
Reply 8
AS
Original post by z33
A2 or AS ?
Original post by TS21
AS


WELCOME TO THE FAMILY MATE. RIGHT NOW ITS JUST ME AND YOU :smile:
OCR compsci is going to screw us over and we know it :smile: Literally NO resources in this world for this stupid spec
Reply 10
Original post by TS21
AS


well ocrcomputing.org is good
teachict

make notes from the specification and use other websites to get your info
that helps a lot :smile:

for the prograamming paper just learn to program and that'll sort the pseudocode out
and then content is notes on spec again

learn from the mark schemes
Original post by millardben
Hi , I have decided on studying maths, further maths, physics and latin for my four a levels . Yet me and my friend due to our interest in computing are very interested in studying for a computer science/computing a level (or at least AS) outside of school as our school neither allows 5 a levels or offers computer science.Therefore i wanted to ask ....

1. Is this going to be too much work? i.e. How much work is computer science
2. Which is the best specification to go with e.g. AQA , OCR etc
3. How should we go about studying for the exam... getting a regular tutor, studying from a text book, the internet etc!

Any help would be appreciated massively.

Should be noted I am considering applying for engineering ,physics, classics or natural sciences (including computer science as one of my IA choices at cambridge)


no.

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