Advice for GCSE and A-Level choices for electrical engineering and computer science

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TheOctopus
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Hello everyone,

I am a current PhD and TA in English literature about 1.5 years away from completion. I am hoping to go back and do some more GCSEs and A-Levels afterwards and apply for some version of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science undergrad. As a non-Stemmer I wanted to ask those in the know:

I was wondering if anyone familiar with GCSEs could please advise: does anyone know how Computer Science and Engineering GCSEs are viewed? I am hoping to retake Maths and Triple Science GCSE and then take Maths, Further Maths, and Physics A-Level in preparation for applying for (some version of) Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (many years away, still finishing this old PhD!) and I saw that they have Computer Science and Engineering GCSE. I was wondering if anyone knows how useful they might be (I've never known they existed)? I was thinking of maybe taking them too. I also just wanted to check that Computer Science is likely not necessary for A-Level? I checked on the Cambridge website and they require A* A* A with two being maths/ further maths and a science, and state that their course does not require any prior knowledge of programming (their Computer Science course I mean, and their engineering course also has the same prereqs). I'm learning how to code right now and intend to keep it up but just wanted to check?

(EDIT: I also just saw something about 'additional maths' GCSE? Is this a thing? I did my original GCSEs oh around 13 years ago so I can't remember if this was around then!) If anyone could advise if there is a GCSE version of the further maths A-Level please do let me know!)

Thank you so much for everyone's response!

Many thanks! 🙂
Last edited by TheOctopus; 4 months ago
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physgradstudent
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Since you've already got GCSEs in hopefully english, science and maths it wouldn't be worth bothering and going back and doing more. Computer science GCSE is a good introduction to programming and computers for people doing their GCSEs, but it's by no means a requirement for any degree courses and you don't need it to study A-level computing. Very few schools even offer it.

Additional maths GCSE is a thing, but again it's not available to all students and isn't a requirement for anything. It gives those people that take it a bit of a head start into A-level maths, but once you've done A-level maths you're beyond that level anyway.

Good luck with it, let me know if you have any other questions!
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ajj2000
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what gcses do you have and what grade for maths? Engineering and CS GCSEs are a complete irrelevance here, as are addtional maths GCSE courses - don't waste time thinking about them.
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TheOctopus
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(Original post by ajj2000)
what gcses do you have and what grade for maths? Engineering and CS GCSEs are a complete irrelevance here, as are addtional maths GCSE courses - don't waste time thinking about them.
Thank you so much for your reply. I have all the standard GCSEs—mostly As—but only double science not triple and I have Bs in maths and science from 14 years ago (I was really badly bullied in the classes so I didn't get to reach my full potential). I have all As and A*S for A Level after moving school but no Stem, all Arts. I'd like to retake the maths and triple science GCSE anyway as it's been so long and I want a good foundation again, but really good to hear that I can just focus on those and the Maths, Physics and Further Maths A-Levels without worrying about additional GCSE subjects. Thank you very much for your advice!
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ajj2000
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(Original post by TheOctopus)
Thank you so much for your reply. I have all the standard GCSEs—mostly As—but only double science not triple and I have Bs in maths and science from 14 years ago (I was really badly bullied in the classes so I didn't get to reach my full potential). I have all As and A*S for A Level after moving school but no Stem, all Arts. I'd like to retake the maths and triple science GCSE anyway as it's been so long and I want a good foundation again, but really good to hear that I can just focus on those and the Maths, Physics and Further Maths A-Levels without worrying about additional GCSE subjects. Thank you very much for your advice!
How much money do you have for this? I might not sit the GCSEs in your position - unnecessary as you are doing the A levels but I suspect it would be worthwhile before starting the A levels, where you would probably start with maths if doing it part time.
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TheOctopus
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(Original post by physgradstudent)
Since you've already got GCSEs in hopefully english, science and maths it wouldn't be worth bothering and going back and doing more. Computer science GCSE is a good introduction to programming and computers for people doing their GCSEs, but it's by no means a requirement for any degree courses and you don't need it to study A-level computing. Very few schools even offer it.

Additional maths GCSE is a thing, but again it's not available to all students and isn't a requirement for anything. It gives those people that take it a bit of a head start into A-level maths, but once you've done A-level maths you're beyond that level anyway.

Good luck with it, let me know if you have any other questions!
Thank you so much for your reply! I did my GCSEs around 14 years ago now and I didn't get A/A*s for maths and science (and I only did double) so I'm going to need to go back and redo them, but I think it would be good to get a foundation for A-Level as I've been out of STEM subjects for so long! But it's very good and reassuring to hear that I don't need any other GCSEs—(I'm learning Python at the moment by myself and am hoping to keep up my programming). Thank you for letting me know about additional maths—good to hear! What are you studying—physics?
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