The Student Room Group

A Level Computer Science CIE

Hey everyone, I am taking computer science CIE and it does not look too bad. Do you guys think it is a good a-level? I am currently in year 11 doing my gazillion gcse.
Reply 1
Its a great A Level!

A Level Computer Science is essentially divided into four parts (first two parts comprise AS):

1. Paper 1 Theory: The theory in this paper is pretty simple although people often struggle with the binary mathematics and writing SQL as well as writing low-level assembly code.

2. Paper 2 Pseudo-code Programming: This paper involves a lot of logical thinking, can't get away with memorizing, they ask you to write code on paper.

3. Paper 3 Advanced Theory: This theory paper essentially covers half of the content in A-Level computer science. You learn about binary arithmetic involving floating point numbers (essentially decimals). In addition to that, the theory content goes much deeper and more technical. You even learn about boolean algebra (math but with True and False statements). There's also stuff like Declarative Programming where you write Prolog code (a very different style of programming). You also need to learn and understand a bunch of algorithms involving sorting, searching, etc on different data structures like graphs, trees, linked lists, stack, queues including their time complexities (big O notation). This is no doubt the hardest paper.

4. Paper 4 Practical Programming: If you have programming experience, this may actually be the easiest paper. Although this is the one paper where you actually write and run code on a computer, the coding itself doesn't get very technical. There's 3 questions typically: question 1 focuses on simple programming involving file operations, question 2 is about object-oriented programming, and question 3 is the "hardest" because it involves some sort of algorithm (but even then, they give you the algorithm in pseudo-code and you just need to adapt it into real code). As long as you just practice a lot of coding, this paper is essentially free marks!

You should try some programming, if you enjoy it, half of this A Level will be easy. The theory stuff is just all down to memorization, so you should focus on the programming and logical thinking aspect of it (which can't really be memorized).
Thank you this was very informative!

Quick Reply