My fourth A level subject was Computer Science. I had never taken any kind of Computer Science classes before, despite that my experience of A level Computer Science has been extremely rewarding and fruitful.
So, is A level Computer Science worth it? Studying A level Computer Science is definitely worth it as it will help you develop strong problem-solving skills, provide opportunities for creativity and innovation and is well regarded by many universities although not as highly as Physics, Maths and Further Math.
Computer Science is becoming an increasingly popular choice of many A level students. The primary reason for this is that there is a high demand for tech majors and a pattern that will continue in the future.
Is A level Computer Science really Worth it and when is it Useful?
The two subjects that most universities require for Computer and Tech related majors are Physics and Maths. The top tier universities often require Further Maths A level as well due to their competitive nature.
Students often take a fourth subject and that is when A level computer Science is very useful. A level computer science gives the students a solid foundation of computing concepts and allows them to explore this subject, see if they like it, and want to continue with it in the future.
Many students do not have plans to go to the top tier universities and instead want a more relaxed university experience. Instead of taking further maths such students should take computer science as a third or a fourth A level subject.
So, in short if you are:
- targeting a top tier university for a tech major and want to do 3 subjects make sure they are A level physics, math and further math
- have eyes on a top tier university for a tech major and want to do 4 subjects then go ahead and take a level computer science as your 4th subject.
- however if you are not planning on going to a top tier university then you can take a level computer science as a 3rd or 4th subject.
A level Computer Science helps build the foundational programming and theoretical skills. You can easily expand on these skills at the university level. You can also improve the programming skills you learnt in A level computer science and design apps, games and websites with it.
Computer Science can be applied in many different fields. There are lots of freelance opportunities allowing you to work from home. If working from home suits you fine then you are taking the right course.
What is A level Computer Science like?
A level computer science is divided into two parts- theory and programming.
The theoretical part of computer science focusses on computer architecture, memory, hardware and logic charts. This part of A level computer science will allow you to have an in-depth understanding of how, many devices, including computers function.
The theoretical exams have pretty basic questions and mostly requires you to memorize the functions and use of various hardward parts, complete logic tables and do basic calculations.
The programming section encourages students to focus on one programming language and understand the various programming concepts such as lists, tables, classes and objects, different types of loops, recursion and constructors.
The programming exams usually ask you to write program code for various real-world scenarios, edit incorrect software and complete trace tables.
By the end of the A level computer science course you will have a holistic view of what computer science is all about and it will further help you understand whether computer science is suitable for you and if it is then what field of computer science you would want to focus on.
Whether you want to study artificial intelligence, make robots, or become a software engineer, A level computer science will help you make that decision.
Is A level Computer Science Difficult ?
In short A level Computer Science is moderately difficult compared to other a level exam, it gets easier once you develop the necessary programming and analytical skills to tackle the problems and questions.
From my experience of A level computer science, initially it took me some time to develop the intense logic and analytical skills required to answer the computer science questions but once I got the hang of it i thoroughly enjoyed my experience and felt it was a subject of moderate difficulty.
The maths required for A level computer science is quite simple and there are quite a few questions in the exam that you require rote learning similar to that of many GCSE exams.
Furthermore some A level examination boards require coursework for Computer sciecne. This is usually in the form of a project and it allows students to test their ideas and make something unique. You can use Google.com, thestudentroom.co.uk, and take help from your peers to ace this project as it will add up to make your final grade.
The same concepts that are taught in A level computer science are revised in university so you might as well learn them in your A levels when there is less stress and anxiety.
What is the A level Subject requirement to study Computer Science and other Tech majors?
Most universities require A level maths and physics, with the more competitive ones require further maths to strengthen the applications.
None of the universities explicitly ask for A level Computer science to study Computer science or other tech related things at university and beyond.
Can you study A level Computer Science without studying Computer Science at GCSE?
So, in short, you can study A level computer Science at A level without doing it at GCSE level, however it is recommended you have some prior programming and problem solving experience which could be helpful in understanding the relatively harder A level Computer Science concepts.
Most of the A level Computer Science knowledge at GCSE level is mellowed down and the many of the more difficult concepts are only mentioned.
Despite that GCSE level computer science helps build the core concepts of computer science and programming and helps students expand on those concepts in their A levels.
Most A level colleges start right from scratch when explaining computing concepts and you can easily catch up with some extra practice.
Can you study A level Computer Scicence at home?
You can study A level computer science at home as long as your examination board allows it. Some examination boards only have regular exams and you can sit them as a private candidate and study the material from home. The boards which also have coursework have the policies listed on their websites
Some examination boards such as the CIE only have exams in their revised syllaus. Hence you can easily sit these exams as a private candidate and study from the textbook and other online resources.
Other boards have coursework alongside the regular exams. The coursework is a project which needs to be submitted at the end of the year. The examination boards’ policies are mentioned on their website regarding the coursework and whether you need to be enrolled in a school or you can also study computer science from home.
Reconfirm those policies before studying this awesome A level subject.