Katy Kim
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Hi all,

I will start my A level in sixth form college this September. (about 15 days left.)
The initial A level subjects I chose were Maths, Further maths, Physics and Economics.
But recently I am thinking of taking Computer Science instead of Economics.
After doing some uni-course research, I want to do double major in mathematics & computer science.
And I found that studying Economics is not really related to the other 3.

But the thing is, I am a BEGINNER. I'm new to computer science and programming. I started studying the fundamental of Java programming 3 days ago.
(I can solve some basic math problems using Java... But not complex ones)
And I haven't started any theories yet.

Will I survive in A level computer science?
I don't know any single person doing A level computer science so I have no idea how hard it is, what assessments do we take ....etc.
(+ Can you tell me some good learning resources that I can use for my study??)

Thanks,
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Spacefairys
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Hi - I've just finished studying A level computing and am now into uni to study it
There is absolutely no worry if you're programming skills are rudimental - most people in my AS class had never programmed anything, ever. I did the old spec so it may be different but for me the exams are split 50/50 between programming and theoretical knowledge (such as maths, turing machines, logic gates, ect.) I had absolutely no coding skills at the start and I passed, so you should be absolutely fine.

Good luck!
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Likeu459
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I take the new OCR Computer Science spec and can confirm that it is split 50/50 between programming and theory. I had previous coding experience before a level but most of my class had 0 programming experience. They have in no way been at a disadvantage due to the style of teaching used with this spec and the nature of a level. The teachers went from the basics up and made sure that everyone was at the exact same stage at the same time so you will be perfectly fine! In AS you take two paper and then at A2 you have a coursework project to complete which is pretty much free choice. I can't think of anything else you may want to know but feel free to ask any questions you may have. You will be absolutely fine

Good luck!
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83457
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If you're taking the AQA specification, you best learn basic programming by exam time next year in whatever language (it'll probably be Python) your school uses. One of the papers for Computer Science AS is a 90 minutes programming one, where most of it consists of modifying the source code of a given program. Most of my classmates who never had much experience before in programming completely failed the Computer Science AS, largely due to that one paper (there are two, one programming, the other theory), most of whom had high hopes at the start of the year. You need to be consistent, and you need to get to grips with programming soon. The work you do in class will probably not be enough, and you may find yourself needing to get to grips with it all in your own time. If your school does Python, I highly recommend (insist) that you buy this book or find a PDF copy online https://www.amazon.co.uk/Python-Prog.../dp/1435455002, and I advise you read up to and including chapter 7 at the minimum if you want to do well in AS (if you can understand fully up to chapter 10,that would be even better).

In general, I advise you do lots of programming problems (look up Project Euler, a site where you are given programming exercises and you have to submit an answer for each).


As a last note, theory is mostly quite easy at AS - not the case for the A Level case- but you should definitely get to drips with stuff like Boolean Algebra and De Morgan's Laws and basic Assembly Language.

Good luck, it will not be easy. Computer Science is a serious subject, and people generally come into it wholly unprepared. It's good that you've started to look into Java, take that initiative. Once you are quite good at programming however, I must say that the questions given in the paper are generally quite trivial (look up the the British Informatics Olympiad if you want a real challenge some day), but like I've said, there is a learning curve.
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Vyres
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I'm planning on taking A level computer science also this September. I believe the exam board is AQA, and the programming language we will be
studying is Java (which is perfect for me as I've learnt Java for around 5 years). I noticed that all the previous programming based exam tasks (which my teacher provided me with) were pretty easy (which I believe is AQA A-level Computing, Unit1, Comp1). I'm pretty confident with the programming, as programming is my favorite concept about the subject, however should I be worried about the theory?
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kidb_
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(Original post by Vyres)
I'm planning on taking A level computer science also this September. I believe the exam board is AQA, and the programming language we will be
studying is Java (which is perfect for me as I've learnt Java for around 5 years). I noticed that all the previous programming based exam tasks (which my teacher provided me with) were pretty easy (which I believe is AQA A-level Computing, Unit1, Comp1). I'm pretty confident with the programming, as programming is my favorite concept about the subject, however should I be worried about the theory?
Yes and no. It's really it's quite straightforward when you get your head around it.Only problem is the lack of focused revision resources - you might luck out on a good teacher that makes these for you.
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Vyres
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(Original post by kidb_)
Yes and no. It's really it's quite straightforward when you get your head around it.Only problem is the lack of focused revision resources - you might luck out on a good teacher that makes these for you.
Probably will. My GCSE Computing teacher made an entire booklet covering all of the GCSE topics, and I'll most likely get him for A-levels also (we only have 2 Computing teachers that can teach A-level Computing). Thanks anyways.
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Hashtosh302
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(Original post by Katy Kim)
Hi all,

I will start my A level in sixth form college this September. (about 15 days left.)
The initial A level subjects I chose were Maths, Further maths, Physics and Economics.
But recently I am thinking of taking Computer Science instead of Economics.
After doing some uni-course research, I want to do double major in mathematics & computer science.
And I found that studying Economics is not really related to the other 3.

But the thing is, I am a BEGINNER. I'm new to computer science and programming. I started studying the fundamental of Java programming 3 days ago.
(I can solve some basic math problems using Java... But not complex ones)
And I haven't started any theories yet.

Will I survive in A level computer science?
I don't know any single person doing A level computer science so I have no idea how hard it is, what assessments do we take ....etc.
(+ Can you tell me some good learning resources that I can use for my study??)

Thanks,
You dont need to take computing a level to CompSci in uni.
However you need to learn progamming and learn computer science in your spare time( eg ram, cpu, networks)
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Vyres
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(Original post by Katy Kim)
Hi all,

I will start my A level in sixth form college this September. (about 15 days left.)
The initial A level subjects I chose were Maths, Further maths, Physics and Economics.
But recently I am thinking of taking Computer Science instead of Economics.
After doing some uni-course research, I want to do double major in mathematics & computer science.
And I found that studying Economics is not really related to the other 3.

But the thing is, I am a BEGINNER. I'm new to computer science and programming. I started studying the fundamental of Java programming 3 days ago.
(I can solve some basic math problems using Java... But not complex ones)
And I haven't started any theories yet.

Will I survive in A level computer science?
I don't know any single person doing A level computer science so I have no idea how hard it is, what assessments do we take ....etc.
(+ Can you tell me some good learning resources that I can use for my study??)

Thanks,
OP, if you encounter any programming issues that relate to the Java programming language, make sure to post them here and I'll be glad to help out.
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