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GCSE Computer Science

Course Specification available here (AQA 8520)

Assessment Details

Paper 1 - Computational Thinking and Problem Solving
Paper 2 - Theoretical knowledge
Non-exam assessment – Programming a solution to a problem using the systems lifecycle

Course Information 

Subject Content                              
Overview of content

  1. Fundamentals of algorithms
  2. Programming
  3. Fundamentals of data representation
  4. Computer systems
  5. Fundamentals of computer networks
  6. Fundamentals of cyber security
  7. Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society, including issues of privacy
  8. Aspects of software development
  9. Non-exam assessment

Overview of theory assessment
This unit is assessed through two 1 hour 30 minute examination papers set and marked by AQA:
Paper 1: Computational Thinking and Problem Solving from subject content 1-4 above.
Paper 2: Theoretical knowledge from subject content 3–7 above.
The total number of marks available for each examination paper is 80.
Paper 1: 50% of GCSE
Paper 2: 50% of GCSE

Non-exam assessment                
Overview of content
This is a practical unit. Students will be expected to follow a systematic approach to problem solving, consistent with the skills required for software development. Developing a computer program along with the computer programming code itself which has been designed, written and tested by the student to solve a problem. Students will produce an original report outlining this development.

Overview of assessment
The unit is completed under controlled conditions.
Students must complete the task within 20 hours. This unit is not graded, but must be completed for the students to pass the course.

Steps to Success GCSE Computer Science

  1. Take advantage of online teaching websites to improve your programming skills.
  2. Learn the standard algorithms for sorting and searching.
  3. Problem solving puzzles, such as Rubik’s cube, will help your problem solving skills.
  4. Make sure your non-examined assessment work is your best work. Show off your skills! 
  5. Use System Lifecycle headings to organise your non-examined assessment work.
  6. Comment your code. Explain, explain, explain…
  7. Be familiar with the three different types of programming error, syntax, logical and run-time that occur and how to debug them.
  8. Make sure you have a revision guide or ask your teacher how to get one.
  9. Familiarise yourself with revision material on the students shared area.
  10. Use the revision guide, BBC Bitesize and to take notes on these topics
  11. Attempt the exam papers in the ‘Past paper’ section. Make sure you know what topic the question is testing you on.
  12. Check you have used technical language in your answers.
  13. Check your answers against the given mark scheme.

Useful Resources:

School Intranet which holds details of every lesson and related resources.

BBC Bitesize