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    My teacher says there's a really big gap; apparently A level Computer Science is much more harder than GCSE computing as there's more content.
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    Sorry you've not had any responses about this. Are you sure you've posted in the right place? Here's a link to our subject forum which should help get you more responses if you post there.

    You can also find the Exam Thread list for A-levels here and GCSE here. :dumbells:


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    I don't think there's any coursework, and also the content are a bit similar just as level probably more in depth it also said you need java script knowledge
    (this is for ocr so may not be useful at all)


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    Currently doing OCR A level computing (new spec) and have done the GCSE. In terms of theory, practically everything carries over and it is built upon. There's some new stuff but in general the theory is pretty damn easy, compared to the GCSE I would say the only difficult thing is that your project is completely your choice so no guidelines are given otherwise it's an easy A level
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    (Original post by 0xFFFFail)
    There's some new stuff but in general the theory is pretty damn easy, compared to the GCSE I would say the only difficult thing is that your project is completely your choice so no guidelines are given otherwise it's an easy A level
    For the project, you can do whatever you want in any language and on anything?
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    (Original post by s4b3rt00th)
    For the project, you can do whatever you want in any language and on anything?
    In theory yes, the project has to be sufficiently complex (using relational databases for e.g. ) and hopefully your team can mark it. This is an issue with languages as your teacher has to know the language to mark as well as help you out, however, if you are proficient in a language of your choosing then there's no reason you can't use it
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    The new A level is quite difficult compared to the GCSE that's just finished. The new GCSE matches up much better so next year's students will have a better understanding of the content before starting AS.

    Everything is going much more mathematical and technical. It's fun - my students learn three languages over the two years including one functional language (Haskell for my pupils). There is a project but it's smaller with a lot less evidence based paperwork and more focus on your actual programming skills.
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    (Original post by ParadoxSocks)
    The new A level is quite difficult compared to the GCSE that's just finished. The new GCSE matches up much better so next year's students will have a better understanding of the content before starting AS.

    Everything is going much more mathematical and technical. It's fun - my students learn three languages over the two years including one functional language (Haskell for my pupils). There is a project but it's smaller with a lot less evidence based paperwork and more focus on your actual programming skills.
    I'm assuming this isn't OCR. OCR only has the most basic maths unfortunately :/
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    (Original post by 0xFFFFail)
    I'm assuming this isn't OCR. OCR only has the most basic maths unfortunately :/
    Well there's a lot of crossover but yeah, AQA is currently considered the most difficult but it's also the more well defined specwise.

    New A levels are still more fun than the previous version.

    And all are more fun than the nightmare that was the old GCSE.
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    (Original post by 0xFFFFail)
    In theory yes, the project has to be sufficiently complex (using relational databases for e.g. ) and hopefully your team can mark it. This is an issue with languages as your teacher has to know the language to mark as well as help you out, however, if you are proficient in a language of your choosing then there's no reason you can't use it
    I know this is old and everything but do you do it in your own time or is it all in school time?
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    (Original post by Zamblot)
    I know this is old and everything but do you do it in your own time or is it all in school time?
    Assuming you mean the 'final' A-Level computing project, then there'll probably be a certain amount of time to do bits of your project in lessons, but mostly those lessons will be about getting help and feedback. The vast majority of the A-level computing project will be in your own time - there's usually several months to complete it, but realistically you need to be thinking about spending a couple of hundred hours outside of lessons getting that project done. (remembering that the majority of the marks are for the report - i.e. Planning, Analysis, Feasibility, Requirements, Design, Test planning, Evaluation, etc.)
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    (Original post by winterscoming)
    Assuming you mean the 'final' A-Level computing project, then there'll probably be a certain amount of time to do bits of your project in lessons, but mostly those lessons will be about getting help and feedback. The vast majority of the A-level computing project will be in your own time - there's usually several months to complete it, but realistically you need to be thinking about spending a couple of hundred hours outside of lessons getting that project done. (remembering that the majority of the marks are for the report - i.e. Planning, Analysis, Feasibility, Requirements, Design, Test planning, Evaluation, etc.)
    Before it got pulled off because everyone was cheating we had a 20 hour controlled assesment in computer science (that was put to waste and left unmarked cuz cheaters). Assuming you took a level computer science how much more difficult was it and what project were you asked to make? And i assume its also slightly like ICT/RM but on a larger scale because as you said the project isnt the bulk of the marks. If i put alot of time into it is it easy or is it still really difficult. And can you get help from friends or is that considered cheating?
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    (Original post by winterscoming)
    Assuming you mean the 'final' A-Level computing project, then there'll probably be a certain amount of time to do bits of your project in lessons, but mostly those lessons will be about getting help and feedback. The vast majority of the A-level computing project will be in your own time - there's usually several months to complete it, but realistically you need to be thinking about spending a couple of hundred hours outside of lessons getting that project done. (remembering that the majority of the marks are for the report - i.e. Planning, Analysis, Feasibility, Requirements, Design, Test planning, Evaluation, etc.)
    Also, im not that good at programming. We barely scratched the surface of it in my school. Do they teach it properly at a-levels and is it difficult? (im better at hardware)
    Oh and thanks for this
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    (Original post by Zamblot)
    Before it got pulled off because everyone was cheating we had a 20 hour controlled assesment in computer science (that was put to waste and left unmarked cuz cheaters). Assuming you took a level computer science how much more difficult was it and what project were you asked to make? And i assume its also slightly like ICT/RM but on a larger scale because as you said the project isnt the bulk of the marks. If i put alot of time into it is it easy or is it still really difficult. And can you get help from friends or is that considered cheating?
    I heard the stories about that cancelled assessment! That must have been very frustrating! But glad to hear it hasn't put you off Comp Sci altogether I don't think they do anything like that for A-levels (yet..?).

    The A-Level projects are open to allow you to choose anything you like - some people write some kind of business management system, other people write a web app for a club, some people write a game, etc. As long as it's sufficiently complex, you can do well from it. It's usually the 'boring' projects which are easiest to get marks from (e.g. writing an app to manage orders, stock and customers for a fictitious e-commerce company) - with those kinds of projects it's usually easy to write something simple enough to get it working quickly and then add on more bells & whistles later.

    It's hard to say exactly how complex it needs to be, but it's definitely a lot more than 20 hours. You get about 3-4 months to do the whole thing so 200 hours is probably more realistic. A lot of people write some kind of GUI or web app with a bunch of connected pages/screens and some navigation, user input, validation, etc. It's also common to have apps which are backed up by databases having a bunch of related tables. The project isn't necessarily about showing off your programming skills as much as it is about being able to create a fully working app and follow through the full software development lifecycle.

    And yes, a lot of it is about the time you put in - obviously you need to spend time getting stuff working - you're unlikely to write code which works first time, and you'll probably end up spending a lot of time fixing bugs. I would strongly recommend spending quite a lot of time doing up-front planning. All the time you spend writing out your problem statement, requirements, acceptance criteria, test plan, thinking about your entity-relationship model, drawing mock UI pictures, etc. will help..

    (Original post by Zamblot)
    Also, im not that good at programming. We barely scratched the surface of it in my school. Do they teach it properly at a-levels and is it difficult? (im better at hardware)
    Oh and thanks for this
    Don't worry if you're not that good at programming right now - noone is good at it when they start, it's very much a learned skill that takes practice and persistence, but you've got plenty of time! There's getting used to the syntax of the language, learning to think computationally, spotting common errors, getting into the mindset of problem solving, and learning to notice common patterns in code. When you've been programming for 2-3 months, those things are hard. When you've been doing it for 2 years, it's a lot easier. It's a bit like learning Calculus - there's no quick way, you just have to practice.

    As for whether it's taught properly, It depends! If you're going to a proper FE college, most of them have been teaching it for decades, so the teaching is inevitably better (A-level computing isn't a new subject). Most of the computing tutors I had for A-Level had been teaching A-level computing for 10-20 years anyway. The text books were still pretty awful, and I wouldn't rely on those to learn about any programming language to be honest - there's so much better stuff on the internet than you get in those textbooks.

    The good news is that they're not going to assume you know anything about programming when you start, you'll get a chance to start with a clean slate. I think different colleges choose different languages, but the most common one seems to be Java. You might also get VB.NET or C#, or maybe Python. All of those languages are fine though.

    As for the amount of work, A-levels are more intense than GCSE. You will have to spend more time time on your own doing assignments - it's usually 5 hours per week in classes and then another 3-5 hours per week outside of class, but the fact you've done any programming before hopefully means you'll be OK with the basics like variables, if/else, loops. There'll probably be a lot more depth - more advanced algorithms, dynamic data structures, OO programming, UI creation, etc. Definitely all topics that you can easily find massive amounts of help and information for online though
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    I'm currently doing A-Level Computer Science. I didn't do GCSE, but was already proficient in terms of programming in the language which we are (Java).
    In the second or third week, the guy sitting next to me, who did do GCSE, told me that the entire class (even those who had never programmed before) had essentially just programmed his entire GCSE coursework project in about two hours. Obviously some implementations were better than others, but his point still stood.
    Take from that what you will.
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    (Original post by Somm)
    I'm currently doing A-Level Computer Science. I didn't do GCSE, but was already proficient in terms of programming in the language which we are (Java).
    In the second or third week, the guy sitting next to me, who did do GCSE, told me that the entire class (even those who had never programmed before) had essentially just programmed his entire GCSE coursework project in about two hours. Obviously some implementations were better than others, but his point still stood.
    Take from that what you will.
    huh, thanks for that.
    And thanks to everyone else as well, this has been very useful
 
 
 
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