A Level: Computer Science

Course title: Advanced GCE in Computer Science

Exam board: OCR

Subject specific entry criteria: Grade 7 in GCSE Computer Science or Grade 7 in GCSE Mathematics.

We do not require you to have a GCSE in Computer Science but it would be highly beneficial for you to have experienced programming to a GCSE level prior to the course.

Course overview

Computer Systems

  • The characteristics of contemporary processors, input, output and storage devices
  • Software and software development
  • Exchanging data
  • Data types, data structures and algorithms
  • Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues


Algorithms and Programming

  • Elements of computational thinking
  • Problem solving and programming
  • Algorithms to solve problems and standard algorithms


Programming Project

  • Analysis of the problem
  • Design of the solution
  • Developing the solution
  • Testing the solution
  • Evaluation of the solution
Assessment overview

Computer systems (01):

  • 140 marks
  • 2 hours and 30 minutes written paper
  • 40% of total A Level

Algorithms and programming (02):

  • 140 marks
  • 2 hours and 30 minutes written paper
  • 40% of total A Level

Programming project (03):

  • 70 marks
  • Non-exam assessment
  • 20% of total A Level
Future progression

Computer Science is offered at most leading universities. They will require a minimum of AAA or AAB for access to most degrees, usually with at least one other facilitating subject. Each university will have very specific entry requirements and it is worth checking these before choices are made. Computer Science can be combined in joint honours degrees with a range of other subjects including Mathematics, Physics and Engineering. However, given the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning, Computer Science is ever increasingly becoming part of the fabric of all subjects.

Potential careers

“Graduates from the School of Computing have excellent job prospects. With the continuing application of computer technologies, rapid growth of hardware and software technologies, their allied industries, and widespread application, the demand for graduates is set to continue for the foreseeable future. Recent graduate destinations include: Barclays, BT Group – Openreach, CSC, EMIS, Ernst & Young, Fujitsu, Goodrich ISR Systems, Imagination Technologies, Microsoft and PepsiCo” (Source: Leeds University).

How to succeed in Computer Science

You will:

  • be able to persevere with difficult problems and concepts
  • have a genuine interest in software development and how computers work
  • be willing to read extensively around the subject from a variety of sources
  • have a genuine desire to learn programming languages and create programs
  • be comfortable with using problem solving and logical thinking skills
  • show a willingness to write deep and comprehensive written work to showcase your understanding