computer science exam boards

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kisokos03
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#1
Report Thread starter 1 year ago
#1
I want to do A level computer science, but as my school doesnt offer it I'll be learning it myself, meaning its up to me what exam board to use. I did OCR for GCSE (through the school), but i don't know which would be the best for A Level.
Does anyone have experience/advice to give on the topic?
There's one 3 year old thread i found about it, giving mixed messages, but its about GCSE so i don't know how much it applies
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Compost
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#2
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The fact that NEA contributes 20% of the final grade for all the specifications approved for teaching in UK schools makes this a problem. AQA, who are always the most clear cut about this, say that their spec is not available to private candidates for this reason. The other boards aren't so definite, but it will be hard to find a centre willing to accept you as they will also have to be prepared to supervise, authenticate and mark your NEA.. The alternative is to do CAIE's international A level https://www.cambridgeinternational.o...-science-9618/ where there is no coursework but there is a practical exam. I believe this is the option that UK distance learning providers offer but it will still be very hard (and expensive) to find a centre to accept you.

To be honest, you probably be better off forgetting it and just getting better at coding.
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kisokos03
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#3
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#3
(Original post by Compost)
The fact that NEA contributes 20% of the final grade for all the specifications approved for teaching in UK schools makes this a problem. AQA, who are always the most clear cut about this, say that their spec is not available to private candidates for this reason. The other boards aren't so definite, but it will be hard to find a centre willing to accept you as they will also have to be prepared to supervise, authenticate and mark your NEA.. The alternative is to do CAIE's international A level https://www.cambridgeinternational.o...-science-9618/ where there is no coursework but there is a practical exam. I believe this is the option that UK distance learning providers offer but it will still be very hard (and expensive) to find a centre to accept you.

To be honest, you probably be better off forgetting it and just getting better at coding.
oh damn yeah i didnt think about the NEA having to be marked by the centre, thanks!

I'll see if there are any centres that are still ok with it, and have a look at the CAIE A level too, you might be right that it'd be better to give up though, I know CS A level isnt extremely important, even for uni.
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A004
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#4
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#4
Hey are you doing CAIE cs?
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meld51
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#5
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(Original post by Compost)
The fact that NEA contributes 20% of the final grade for all the specifications approved for teaching in UK schools makes this a problem. AQA, who are always the most clear cut about this, say that their spec is not available to private candidates for this reason. The other boards aren't so definite, but it will be hard to find a centre willing to accept you as they will also have to be prepared to supervise, authenticate and mark your NEA.. The alternative is to do CAIE's international A level https://www.cambridgeinternational.o...-science-9618/ where there is no coursework but there is a practical exam. I believe this is the option that UK distance learning providers offer but it will still be very hard (and expensive) to find a centre to accept you.

To be honest, you probably be better off forgetting it and just getting better at coding.
I disagree with this.
I'm distance learning A Level Computer Science OCR. I found an exam centre (myself with no help) that would take me...it wasn't that hard. There was a small charge but not excessive. My distance learning provider is Pembrokeshire College and they provide OCR. It's fine.

As for "forgetting it" ...don't. It's all good stuff and help a great deal with coding.
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Compost
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#6
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#6
(Original post by meld51)
I disagree with this.
I'm distance learning A Level Computer Science OCR. I found an exam centre (myself with no help) that would take me...it wasn't that hard. There was a small charge but not excessive. My distance learning provider is Pembrokeshire College and they provide OCR. It's fine.

As for "forgetting it" ...don't. It's all good stuff and help a great deal with coding.
So do you have to go there to take the exams? Or do they enter you for the A level and then you have to find somewhere they can transfer the exams to?
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meld51
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#7
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(Original post by Compost)
So do you have to go there to take the exams? Or do they enter you for the A level and then you have to find somewhere they can transfer the
You have to find an exam centre that will take you as an external candidate. That's where you take the exam. Pembrokeshire College provide a list of exam centres around the country that are known to take external candidates. None of those were close enough to me so I found one in the same town that I live in. I may be wrong, but my experience tells me that private schools rather than state schools are likely to take you.

The Coursework (NEA) is marked by Pembrokeshire College. There are a few forms to fill in but they aren't too bad.
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Compost
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#8
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(Original post by meld51)
You have to find an exam centre that will take you as an external candidate. That's where you take the exam. Pembrokeshire College provide a list of exam centres around the country that are known to take external candidates. None of those were close enough to me so I found one in the same town that I live in. I may be wrong, but my experience tells me that private schools rather than state schools are likely to take you.

The Coursework (NEA) is marked by Pembrokeshire College. There are a few forms to fill in but they aren't too bad.
Ok, that still doesn't explain to me how it works as one centre has to enter you for everything. I can only assume it's done by Pembrokeshire College (as its unlikely another centre would be prepared to authenticate NEA they had no knowledge of) and then the exams are transferred to the other centre. The extra admin generates more costs but it is the most achievable way of external candidates completing A levels with NEA.
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meld51
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#9
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#9
You can transfer your exam to another venue and it is marked in the usual way. Your chosen distance learning provider marks your NEA.

It works.

If you need any further clarification then feel free to phone Pembrokeshire College. They are very helpful.
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CurryCurry2468
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#10
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#10
(Original post by kisokos03)
I want to do A level computer science, but as my school doesnt offer it I'll be learning it myself, meaning its up to me what exam board to use. I did OCR for GCSE (through the school), but i don't know which would be the best for A Level.
Does anyone have experience/advice to give on the topic?
There's one 3 year old thread i found about it, giving mixed messages, but its about GCSE so i don't know how much it applies
Hi, I am in year 13 and was doing Computer Science A-Level throughout year 12 but was forced to drop it at the start of year 13 as the teacher left and the school could not find a replacement. My school did mention I could continue doing it but I would have to study it independently and I would be entered for the exam with the school as a 'private candidate'. However it turns out my school no longer accepts private candidate exam entries as they changed their policy and they accept they made a mistake by saying I could do the exam.

Also there is the NEA part to it and some schools that do private candidate exam entries will simply say no to you as there is the NEA and they cannot authenticate its ur own work.

In all honesty, my advice to you would be to focus on coding and programming techniques. Most of the stuff in A-Level CS is taught from scratch anyways at uni since it is recognised that A-Level CS is not offered everywhere.

Hope this helps
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Compost
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#11
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#11
(Original post by CurryCurry2468)
Hi, I am in year 13 and was doing Computer Science A-Level throughout year 12 but was forced to drop it at the start of year 13 as the teacher left and the school could not find a replacement. My school did mention I could continue doing it but I would have to study it independently and I would be entered for the exam with the school as a 'private candidate'. However it turns out my school no longer accepts private candidate exam entries as they changed their policy and they accept they made a mistake by saying I could do the exam.
A student cannot be entered for both centre and private entries at the same centre in a single exam season - but there's nothing to stop them entering you as a centre candidate for it. The issue is probably that they have no one capable of marking the NEA.
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CurryCurry2468
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#12
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#12
(Original post by Compost)
A student cannot be entered for both centre and private entries at the same centre in a single exam season - but there's nothing to stop them entering you as a centre candidate for it. The issue is probably that they have no one capable of marking the NEA.
Ooooh makes so much more sense now lol.
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