By studying A-Level Computing, you will develop knowledge and understanding of hardware and software, as well as communications. You will also develop analytical, design, implementation and evaluation skills. Because computing is integral in work, leisure, education, business and industry, if you choose to study Computing, you will develop an important skills set. You will also develop skills in project management, be aware of emerging technologies and the impact that these may have on society.
A specific arrangement of units is required for certification, made up of two AS-Level units and three A2 level units. You will study four units and the assessment for A-Level Computing is by project and exams.
Over the course, you will undergo at least 360 guided learning hours over a two-year period. These guided learning hours are levels set by the government on how much time the tutor at your sixth form or college has to be present to give guidance (such as lectures, tutorials etc.) towards your award.
- AQA AS-Level Computing
In the first unit, Problem Solving, Programming, Data Representation and Practical Exercise you will develop basic knowledge around the principles of computing, programming, data and you will also be able to apply your knowledge practically. The second unit, Computer Components, The Stored Program Concept and the Internet will develop your knowledge of computer systems, hardware, machine architecture, the internet and uses and consequences of computing.
- WJEC AS-Level Computing
Unit CG1 will develop your knowledge and understanding of hardware and communication, system development, software, data and applications. You will also explore consequence of trends in computer use, such as forums and chat rooms. For Unit CG2, you will have the opportunity to analyse, design, develop, document, test and evaluate a system.
- OCR AS-Level Computing
The first unit, Computer Fundamentals will develop your knowledge of hardware, software, data, data transmission and networking, systems development life cycles and information systems. In the second unit, Programming Techniques and Logical Methods you will be able to design solutions to problems. You will explore data further, as well as develop knowledge of procedural languages and program writing.
- University of Cambridge International Examinations AS-Level Computing
You will study computer systems, communications, software and practical programming techniques.
The A2 Computing is the equivalent of the second year of study of A-Level Computing. This is not a separate award. The A2-Level Computing with the AS-Level Computing makes up the A-Level Computing. The A2-Level Computing will further develop your knowledge from AS-Level Computing.
- AQA A2 Computing
In the Problem Solving, Programming, Operating Systems, Databases and Networking unit you will focus on these topics and build on AS knowledge. In The Computing Practical Project, you will be able to demonstrate your skills across the area of computing, by carrying out a large computer-based task.
- WJEC A2 Computing
The first A2 unit, CG3 will allow you to build on your AS knowledge of software, data and applications and system development. In Unit CG4, you have the opportunity to analyse, design, and implement a computer solution to a problem of your own choosing. You will also test and evaluate your solution.
- OCR A2 Computing
In Advance Computing Theory, you will explore operating systems, translators, architectures, data, programming techniques, low-level languages and databases. In the Computing Project, you are able to use your skills and knowledge to investigate, develop, test, and evaluate a solution.
- University of Cambridge International Examinations A2 Computing
This will further develop your knowledge of AS content with the addition of system software mechanisms, machine architecture, databases, programming paradigms and integrated information systems. You will also carry out a project that will allow you to generate a solution for a third-party user.
A-Level Computing Exam Board Information
- The AQA A-Level Computing specification is available on the AQA website.
- The specification for the WJEC AS and A-Level Computing is available here.
- The specification for the OCR AS and A-Level Computing is available here.
- University of Cambridge International Examinations A-Level Computing specification is available from this website.
Most people study A-Level Computing so that they can study Computing or Computing related courses such as Computer Science, Business Computing, Networking or Software Engineering at university. A-Level Computing can also be helpful for students who are wishing to study science-based, engineering-based or maths-based courses.
For those who are looking to enter work upon leaving college, as well as general computing knowledge and skills, you are also aware of key legal and security issues. Computing has many transferable skills that are useful in any employment or career, including data analysis and evaluation skills, as well as the ability to think computationally. This shows that you can use abstraction and decomposition (break down complexities into simple information) in solving problems.
Other Useful Information
- AQA past papers and other resources for A-Level Computing are available on the AQA website.
- OCR past papers are available on their website.
- WJEC have a variety of specimen assessment materials available on their website.
- University of Cambridge International Examinations A-Level Computing question papers are available here.
- This site offers resources for AS and A2 Computing.
- This site offers a selection of computing resources for a variety of courses, including A-Level.