Mohitvemulapad
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Hi, I'm doing computer science for my AS levels and my theory, is pretty good but I am struggling with the more practical side of it such as pseudocode and programming. Does anyone have any tips on how to improve? I try past paper questions but there's no point in doing them if you don't get what you're doing or if you get it wrong and don't see where the mistake is.
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leahbedwin
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Hi there! I also do Computer Science A-Level, but am in Year 13 (we didn't do AS at my school). I'm exactly the same as you in the sense that my theory isn't too bad but my practical computing skills just weren't up to scratch, especially in comparison to my classmates. I moved to a new school for my A-Levels, where my teacher has made us us C# as our programming language, so I was even further behind the rest of the class then, when they all had previous knowledge, but I'd only ever used Python to a low-skill level. Don't get me wrong I'm not amazing now, but I've definitely improved in the past year by doing a few things, for example I've managed to raise my grade from a C to a B by doing this, and am hoping that I will continue to improve, and finally end up with an A.

I agree that going straight into past paper questions is far too hard when you're completely out of your depth, so I decided to build up my skills by doing setting myself challenges, starting off with even the simplest task, with the goal of writing the program in pseudocode, then programming it in C#, until it works. First I'd list inputs and expected outputs, then draw a flowchart, before writing my pseudocdoe, then going off the pseudocode into the programming.

My first few challenges were exceptionally simple, things I knew I could definitely do, to build up my confidence and get into the swing of things (e.g. Print Hello World & Work out area of rectangle), before gradually moving up in difficulty, in little stages (e.g. creating a mini calculator, then creating usernames from given information, validating passwords, adding to, removing from & modifying text files, searches & sorts & so on). Moving through difficulties at this pace meant I was slowly improving my skills, and by working through the tasks I was understanding what I was doing and learning.

Also these two resources really helped me to understand and improve my pseudocode, which I then take into exams, as well as use as a foundation for my programming logic. They may not be of the highest level but I personally think they have more than enough in them to help you really improve. Links are below:
https://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/202654...code-guide.pdf
https://www.slideshare.net/DamianGor...ocode-10373156

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions x
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Mohitvemulapad
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(Original post by leahbedwin)
Hi there! I also do Computer Science A-Level, but am in Year 13 (we didn't do AS at my school). I'm exactly the same as you in the sense that my theory isn't too bad but my practical computing skills just weren't up to scratch, especially in comparison to my classmates. I moved to a new school for my A-Levels, where my teacher has made us us C# as our programming language, so I was even further behind the rest of the class then, when they all had previous knowledge, but I'd only ever used Python to a low-skill level. Don't get me wrong I'm not amazing now, but I've definitely improved in the past year by doing a few things, for example I've managed to raise my grade from a C to a B by doing this, and am hoping that I will continue to improve, and finally end up with an A.

I agree that going straight into past paper questions is far too hard when you're completely out of your depth, so I decided to build up my skills by doing setting myself challenges, starting off with even the simplest task, with the goal of writing the program in pseudocode, then programming it in C#, until it works. First I'd list inputs and expected outputs, then draw a flowchart, before writing my pseudocdoe, then going off the pseudocode into the programming.

My first few challenges were exceptionally simple, things I knew I could definitely do, to build up my confidence and get into the swing of things (e.g. Print Hello World & Work out area of rectangle), before gradually moving up in difficulty, in little stages (e.g. creating a mini calculator, then creating usernames from given information, validating passwords, adding to, removing from & modifying text files, searches & sorts & so on). Moving through difficulties at this pace meant I was slowly improving my skills, and by working through the tasks I was understanding what I was doing and learning.

Also these two resources really helped me to understand and improve my pseudocode, which I then take into exams, as well as use as a foundation for my programming logic. They may not be of the highest level but I personally think they have more than enough in them to help you really improve. Links are below:
https://www.ocr.org.uk/Images/202654...code-guide.pdf
https://www.slideshare.net/DamianGor...ocode-10373156

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any other questions x
Thank you so much for the tips, i'll start from the very beginning and hopefully, i'll be able to do well by the end of the year!
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leahbedwin
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(Original post by Mohitvemulapad)
Thank you so much for the tips, i'll start from the very beginning and hopefully, i'll be able to do well by the end of the year!
You’re welcome! Even though it feels tedious at the start I find it’s definitely the best way to improve x
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winterscoming
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There's also a lot of videos here which cover a lot of programming concepts: https://student.craigndave.org/

In particular it's a really good idea to look at the stuff related to Computational Thinking (i.e. algorithmic thinking, problem decomposition, abstraction, pattern recognition) because that's all about how to think like a programmer and how to approach programming problems like the ones you will see on the exam papers.
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