The Student Room Group

Should I even pick A-level Computer Science?

Hi! I am a Year 11 student who wants to study CS at uni but hates maths and isn't very good at it (predicted a 5 + sitting higher tier) and although was predicted an 8 in CS, my exam board was OCR and paper 2...(iykyk). At my school's sixth form, you need a 7 in both to study CS, but realistically speaking, I'm probably not gonna achieve that in either and will possibly get 6s in both. My school might still let me take CS but I don't plan on taking Maths alongside it. I know Maths isn't required to study CS at uni's like Liverpool and Leeds, but I really don't know if I should even take CS at A-level. I loved studying CS at GCSE but feel conflicted when thinking about a-level results/uni/career pathways and whether or not doing Maths puts me at a disadvantage. Any advice? It would help out a lot!
Original post by bigbadmicrowave
Hi! I am a Year 11 student who wants to study CS at uni but hates maths and isn't very good at it (predicted a 5 + sitting higher tier) and although was predicted an 8 in CS, my exam board was OCR and paper 2...(iykyk). At my school's sixth form, you need a 7 in both to study CS, but realistically speaking, I'm probably not gonna achieve that in either and will possibly get 6s in both. My school might still let me take CS but I don't plan on taking Maths alongside it. I know Maths isn't required to study CS at uni's like Liverpool and Leeds, but I really don't know if I should even take CS at A-level. I loved studying CS at GCSE but feel conflicted when thinking about a-level results/uni/career pathways and whether or not doing Maths puts me at a disadvantage. Any advice? It would help out a lot!

What career do you intend to go into?

If you intend to go into academia researching computer science, then you would likely need A Level Maths. If you don't study it, then you would still have to do the math modules in any CS degree regardless (I recommend you to look through the prospectus again for the modules and course outlines to check).

If you intend to go into tech, you can go in without a degree in CS. It's recommended that you have a background in something related to IT though. Your other options would be to do an apprenticeship or work your way up from the bottom. There are also professional certifications in IT. As far as I know, none of these options would require you to know much maths (we're talking GCSE level, since IT doesn't really use complicated maths outside of data analysis/management).
You can also consider doing Level 3 IT courses at adult colleges as opposed to 6th form, but I don't have a firm opinion on these.

You can opt to do an IT related degree that doesn't contain a lot of maths, but they usually won't be at prestigious universities. Typical subjects can be in cybersecurity and networking. I would then avoid any degree with the terms "engineering" or "computer science" in them.

An A Level in CS can still be used for apprenticeships and degrees in subjects other than CS, but do note CS is not a required subject for most degrees (I know of only 1 university where it's required, and a handful of others where it's strongly recommended) and you're only doing it for the grade. You can use the A Level to apply for various other degrees that accept any A Level subjects or require a "science" (some consider it a science, but some don't so check the entry requirements).

So it's up to you really whether you want to take the A Level. For degrees though, I would recommend you think carefully about your options.

Just for the heads up:

Work in programming, cybersecurity, and networking tend to involve next to no maths in practice

Data related work tend to involve A Level stats (not a lot)

Cryptography would involve maths, but often not requiring complicated calculations (unless someone corrects me on this)

CS at A Level is very different to studying it at GCSE

(edited 10 months ago)

Quick Reply

Latest

Trending

Trending