AQA Computer Science A Level

What is Computer Science at A Level
By Admin - May 26, 2020, 2:15 p.m.
Last Edit - May 26, 2020, 2:33 p.m.

I'm often asked about Computer Science and asked to summarise what it is and how it differs from GCSE. Computer Science. According to Wikipedia, Computer Science is:

the study of processes that interact with data and that can be represented as data in the form of programs. It enables the use of algorithms to manipulate, store, and communicate digital information. A computer scientist studies the theory of computation and the design of software systems.

At A Level, Computer Science is split into 2 key areas:

Both are equally important, and you can't ignore one to focus on the other. So students who are strong programmers will also need to ensure they work just as hard on the theory.


On the programming side, the course will teach you to program using C#. Your learning will always try to draw on your existing experience to make you as independent has possible. Those with no programming experience will be fully supported and will be taught the key constructs to aid their understanding.

Understanding the key constructs of Sequence, Selection, and Repetition will allow you to understand that all languages essential do the same things with a similar code structure. So learning a specific language is understanding how it applies these concepts. Learning and using multiple languages will be an important skill to process if you want to work within the Computing industry.


On the theory side, you will cover the fundamentals of everything which underpins Computer Science, from binary to compression, from assembly language to understanding the inner workings of the processor.

The theory covers the key topics of Data Representation, Computer Systems, Architecture, Communication & Networking, Consequences of Computing, and Databases. This is similar to the GCSE qualification, A lot of the theory is an extension of GCSE Computer Science, but many new topics are included which you will not have studied before.


So previous GCSE Computer Science experience would be an advantage, but it is not essential. The same also applies to programming experience, it would be an advantage to have experience but none is assumed.