GCSE Computer Science? Watch

Prof. Tocher
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Is computer science a good option to take? Is it highly regarded by universities, a 'soft subject', or in between? Do you need to know programming to a basic level before you do the course and during it also? Is is boring? Do you need to have good mathematical skills to do well in it? Is it generally tedious and if you have taken it did you find it hard? Which exam boards are best for the subject in terms of easiness? Do you have to be a computer geek or nerd to take it? Is it more theory or applications? For those who took it, what part did you find hardest and why?

Replies please, write the question and then answer it. PEOPLE WHO HAVE TAKEN IT OR ARE IN THEIR GCSES ONLY!
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TheProctor
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Highly regarded by Unis? No, Unis do not really care about GCSEs, just that you need C's and above, unless you are going to apply to Oxbridge. GCSEs are really stepping stones to good A-Levels, which are very important.

It would certainly help knowing some programming beforehand, but not at all necessary. I would recommend watching some basic HTML, CSS, JavaScript and Python tutorials on YouTube and having a little go yourself - they are quite easy to learn. This will significantly decrease your chances of finding programming hard in the beginning, hence less chance of not enjoying it/wanting to quit.

It's only boring if you don't like to solve problems, create solutions, learn how computers/hardware/software works, do some maths and, most importantly, THINK LOGICALLY.

Maths skills should be present yes, but not necessarily a maths geek. The logical mindset is a whole lot more important.

I found it enjoyable personally, but it has it's difficult moments (just as all subjects).

Can't remember the exam board, I think I did OCR.

No you do not have to be a computer nerd, just curious, logical and willing to learn somewhat complex things.

I think it's more theory than application, however the application is worth it (programming is pretty awesome).

Hope that helped, if you have any questions in particular let me know
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winterscoming
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GCSE Computer Science didn't exist when I was in school, but most of your questions aren't specific to GCSE level.

(Original post by Prof. Tocher)
Is computer science a good option to take?
If you enjoy it, and if you think you'll be able to get a good grade, then of course. There aren't really any 'bad' options at GCSE level - the grades you achieve are much more important than the subjects you choose.

(Original post by Prof. Tocher)
Is it highly regarded by universities, a 'soft subject', or in between?
GCSE Computer Science is a new subject, but universities don't have any preference either way. Even if you're going to study Computer Science at university it's not going to make any real difference. Your university offers will depend upon your A-levels rather than your GCSEs. (And the most important A-level for Computer Science applications is Maths - that might seem counter-intuitive but "top" universities have very mathematical Computer Science courses)

Even then, Computer Science at A-level isn't needed to study it at university - all universities teach CS as if students are studying the subject for the first time with no previous experience nor programming knowledge. WIth that said, people who know how to program and who understand the basics of Computer Science will have a much easier time in their first year at university.

(Original post by Prof. Tocher)
Do you need to know programming to a basic level before you do the course and during it also?
You will need to learn how to program during the course - usually in the Python language. It's not a problem if you've never programmed before, most people taking the subject will be new to it as well.

(Original post by Prof. Tocher)
Is is boring?
That depends on you really! It usually appeals to people who enjoy maths-related subjects, and people who are interested in computers. Have a look at this and spend a few hours with Python to see whether it's something you enjoy, it might help you make up your mind: https://www.codecademy.com/learn/learn-python

(Original post by Prof. Tocher)
Do you need to have good mathematical skills to do well in it?
No, at least not in terms of numerical skills - you don't need to be good at calculus or anything like that - basic algebra is all you really need. Computer science is rooted in logic rather than numeracy (Being really pedantic, logic is "technically" a branch of mathematics, but it's nothing you'd recognise from GCSE Maths).

Otherwise, the 'Computer science' you study at GCSE and A-Level really isn't very mathematical. It's mostly about Programming, Computer architecture, Networking, Databases, Computational thinking, logical reasoning and problem solving.


(Original post by Prof. Tocher)
Is it generally tedious
It depends - anything can feel tedious if you aren't enjoying it. A lot of it is rooted in logic and learning to 'think' your way around a problem. The rest of it is about spending time trying to understand how and why things work (For example: ways in which different apps and devices talk to each other across the internet, and understanding how a computer's processor works)

(Original post by Prof. Tocher)
Do you have to be a computer geek or nerd to take it?
Nah, computer geeks might find it easy, but if you're not a geek it's fine. The exam boards designed it for people who have never touched computer science before.
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