A-level Computer Science

CAIE A-level
The study of Computer Science has completely transformed the modern-day world as we know it and you can be a part of how it will shape our future.
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A-level Computer Science

Computer Science has rational thinking at its core; combining human and computer intelligence to provide intelligent solutions to problems. Choosing to study International A-level Computer Science can open doors to various career opportunities in data science, web development, product management and software development, or prepare you for higher education at university.

In this engaging online computer science course, you’ll study communication and Internet technologies, software development, artificial intelligence, data representation and much more. As you study, you’ll develop key skills such as abstraction, decomposition and algorithmic thinking.

What you will learn

  1. Unit 1 - Information Representation

    • Binary Number System
    • Binary Coded Decimal
    • Hexadecimal 
    • Bits, Bytes and Binary
    • Representing Images
    • Metadata
    • Analogue and Digital Sound
    • Data Compression
  2. Unit 2 - Communication and Internet Technologies

    • Data Transmission
    • Wireless Networking, CSMA and SSID
    • Structure of the Internet
    • Packet Switching and Routers
    • IP Addresses 
    • Network Topology
    • Client-Server and Peer-to-Peer
    • Client Server Model
  3. Unit 3 - Hardware

    • Computers and their components
    • Logic gates
    • Creating logic circuits
    • Interpreting the results of a truth table
  4. Unit 4 - Processor Fundamentals

    • Central Processing Unit
    • The Fetch-Decode-Execute Cycle
    • The Processor
    • Assembly Language
    • Machine Code
    • Bit Manipulation
  5. Unit 5 - System Software

    • Operating systems (OS)
    • Processor scheduling
    • Programming language classification
    • Language translators
    • Machine code
  6. Unit 6 - Security, Privacy and Data Integrity

    • Data security
    • Cyber security
    • MALWARE – malicious software
    • Spyware
    • Ransomware
    • Data integrity
  7. Unit 7 - Ethics and Ownership

    • Ethics and ownership
    • The rise of artificial intelligence
    • The Computer Misuse Act 1990
    • Data Protection Act (1998)
    • Copyright, Designs and Patents Act (1998)
    • Introduction to software licences
  8. Unit 8 - Databases

    • Flat file databases
    • Relational database model
    • Database normalisation
    • Database Management Systems (DBMS)
    • Data Definition Language (DDL) and Data Manipulation Language (DML)
    • Common data types
    • Linking tables
  9. Unit 9 - Fundamental Problem Solving - Algorithm Design and Problem Solving

    • Abstraction and decomposition
    • Solving logic problems
    • Software development
    • Algorithms
    • Pseudocode
  10. Unit 10 - Fundamental Problem Solving - Data Types and Structures

    • Data Types and Records
    • Arrays 
    • Searching and sorting algorithms
    • Files and Exception Handling
    • Abstract Data Types (ADT)
  11. Unit 11 - Fundamental Problem Solving - Programming

    • Selection
    • Complex Boolean Expressions
    • The CASE Statement
    • Iteration
    • Subroutines
  12. Unit 12 - Fundamental Problem Solving - Software Development

    • Program Development Life Cycle
    • The Waterfall Model
    • Iterative and Rapid Application Development
    • Program Design
    • Program Testing and Maintenance
    • Error Types
  13. Unit 13 - Advanced Theory - Data Representation

    • User Defined Data Types
    • File Organisation and Access
    • Floating-Point Numbers, Representation and Manipulation
    • Precision and Normalisation
  14. Unit 14 - Advanced Theory - Communication and Internet Technologies

    • Protocols
    • the TCP/IP Model
    • Circuit Switching 
    • Packet Switching
  15. Unit 15 - Advanced Theory - Hardware and Virtual Machines

    • Processors, Parallel Processing and Virtual Machines
    • Comparing RISC and CISC
    • Virtual Machines
    • Boolean Algebra and Logic Gates
    • De Morgan’s Laws
    • Karnaugh Maps
  16. Unit 16 - Advanced Theory - System Software

    • Purposes of an Operating System
    • Processor Scheduling
    • IO Device Management
    • Translation Software
    • Backus-Naur Form
    • Syntax Diagram
  17. Unit 17 - Advanced Theory - Security

    • Encryption Protocols and Digital Certificates
    • Types of Encryption
    • Encryption Protocol
    • The Electronic Communications Act (2000)
    • Digital Certificates
    • Digital Signatures
  18. Unit 18 - Advanced Theory - Artificial Intelligence

    • Machine Learning
    • Deep Learning
    • Reinforcement Learning
    • Dijkstra’s Algorithm
    • A* Algorithm
  19. Unit 19 - Computational Thinking and Problem Solving

    • Algorithms
    • Abstract Data Types
    • Stacks
    • Queues
    • Linked Lists
    • Binary Tree
    • Big O Notation
    • Recursion
  20. Unit 20 - Further Programming

    • Programming Paradigms
    • Imperative (High Level) Programming
    • Files Processing and Exception Handling
    • Inputs and Outputs
    • Exception Handling

Awarding Body

cambridge-assessment-caie

Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) is the world’s largest provider of A-level courses and GCSE courses, qualifications and exams, delivering assessments to over 8 million learners in over 170 countries.

Recognised through UCAS

ucas registered centre

This course carries UCAS points. This means that it can be used to gain direct access to University courses and other Higher Education, through the UCAS system.

Course Outcome

After completing the course, you will be awarded the qualification: A-level Computer Science, issued by CAIE (Cambridge Assessment International Education. This syllabus (9618) has been selected specifically because it is best suited to distance learning. Your certificate will be identical to that issued in any other school, college or university.

How is this course assessed or examined?

You will be expected to complete three standard A-level Computer Science written exams and one practical exam:

Written exams:

  • Paper 1: 1 hour 30 minutes, 25% of A-level, 75 marks.
  • Paper 2: 1 hour 30 minutes, 25% of A-level, 75 marks.
  • Paper 3: 2 hours 30 minutes, 25% of A-level, 75 marks.

Practical exam:

  •  2 hours 30 minutes, 25% of A-level, 75 marks.

As part of the practical exam, you will submit complete program code and evidence of testing and will be required to use either Java, VB.NET or Python programming languages.

Entry requirements

In order to study this course, you will need to have achieved a maths GCSE or the equivalent. If you wish to study computer science at a degree level, then you’ll need to combine this qualification with A-level maths, as this is a requirement at many universities. It is a difficulty level three: the equivalent difficulty of an A-level or BTEC, usually suitable for most learners of all ages.

Past Papers

You can access past papers for this course. They are free to access and cover a range of exam boards.

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