Skip to content ↓

A level Computing Years 12 & 13

Specification

AQA Computing - The specification and assessment structure can be found at the link: https://www.aqa.org.uk/subjects/computer-science-and-it/as-and-a-level/computer-science-7516-7517

What do I need to know or be able to do before taking this course?

The qualification builds on the knowledge, understanding and process skills inherent in GCSE.  Successful students in A Level Computing would have received a GCSE Grade 6 in Computing and a GCSE Grade 6 in Mathematics.

What will I learn on this A level course?

The overall aim of the syllabus is to encourage candidates to develop an understanding of the principles of problem solving and programming using computers. They will learn a range of applications and the effects of their use and apply this understanding to develop computer-based solutions to problems. Candidates will develop an awareness of systems analysis and design, and methods of implementation, testing and documentation. It would benefit the student if they have a good grasp of mathematics.

If you are interested in how computers really work; in solving problems and learning to design and write software, then this course could be right for you. The course covers computer architecture, programming, operating systems, the Internet and all the basic hardware and technology issues.

The course is split into 3 units, covering all aspects of the AQA A level syllabus. There are 2 exams and one piece of coursework. One of the exams is a practical programming exercise. The coursework unit allows you to design, code and test software for a problem/client of your own choice. The main programming language is VB.net but you will get a good overview of other languages. If you intend to undertake a degree in Computer Science or a computing related subject this may be a good option for you.

Methods of teaching & learning

In Computing you will be taught by a variety of methods, involving listening, reading, watching, discussing, researching and programming. You will learn, to various extents, from each of these approaches, but you will not learn sufficiently well unless you devote sufficient time outside class to thorough, independent study.

Topics covered in the A Level syllabus

How will I be assessed on this course?

The A Level Computing (AQA) is a three unit specification, all of which are required to complete the A Level.

Specification Units

Unit Name Format Duration
1 Programming Online Assessment 2½ hours
2 Theory paper Exam 2½ hours
3 Practical Project Internal Assessment 40 hours

What could I go on to do at the end of my course?

The course prepares students who wish to go on to higher education courses or employment, where knowledge of Computing and its principles would be beneficial.

The demand for IT professionals – from Programmers and Game Designers to Network Administrators – makes a Computing qualification a highly marketable asset. Some other aspects of Computing are particularly applicable to technical disciplines such as engineering and science, but knowledge of how to manage change in IT systems is a valuable skill in just about any profession from accountancy to medicine.

Year 12

  Topic Further details about the topic Skills
Autumn Term
1 General theory

Programming and data representation

Fundamentals of programming (using VB.NET)
Object oriented programming theory and practise (classes, objects, inheritance…)
Fundamentals of data structures (arrays, files, abstract data types…)
Algorithms (searching, sorting, tree traversals, shortest-path…)
Theory of computation (Abstraction, automation, meta-languages, Turing machine...)

2

General theory

Programming and data representation

Advanced programming in VB.Net
Spring Term
1 General theory

Programming and data representation

Advanced programming in VB.Net
2 General theory

Programming and data representation

Advanced programming in VB.Net
Summer Term
1 Practical project

Design, code and test your own system 

Programming and project design
2

Practical project

Design, code and test your own system 

Programming and project design

Year 13

  Topic Further details about the topic Skills
Autumn Term
1 Project Design, code and test your own system Learn and use formal analysis techniques: interview; observation; record keeping; DFDs; ERDs; data dictionaries, etc.
2 Project Design, code and test your own system Developing structured programmes. Use top-down/bottom-up design; use modules; structure charts, etc.
Spring Term
1 Paper 2 Computing theory

Data representation (Number systems, image, sound and other data…)
Fundamentals of computer systems (Hardware, software, instructions…)
Computer organisation and architecture (Internal components, cpu operation…)
Consequences of use of computing (Laws, ethics, consequences…)
Communication and networking (LAN, WAN, protocols, client-server…)
Database design and SQL (designing databases and using SQL)
Big Data. Managing large volumes/sizes of data
Functional Programming (Understanding and writing functional programmes

2 Paper 2 Computing theory As above
Summer Term
1 Paper 1 & 2  Computing theory As above

Assessments

Resources Topic Type of assessment
CAT 1 Algorithms/Programming Written test and practical test
CAT 2 Theory. Advanced programming in VB.Net.
Programming and data representation.
Written test
CAT 3 Theory. Programming and project design

End of year Mock Exam

CAT 4 Project Written coursework assessed
CAT 5 Project Written coursework assessed
CAT 6 Mock examination Paper 2

Main Resources

Resource Details Term
Text books

AQA Computing A Level

Programming in Visual Basic

All
Recommended websites

www.aqa.org.uk

www.computinghistory.org.uk

www.bletchleypark.org.uk

www.vbtutor.net

www.w3schools.com

www.teach-ict.com

www.techopedia.com

All
Equipment   All

Enrichment opportunities

Activity Day and time or term
Computing Club Lunchtimes

Where Next