There are three strands to the course, Systems, Algorithms and the Project.
Component 01: Computer Systems
The foundations and implications of Computer Science including:
- How a computer is made, the CPU, input, output and storage devices
- Software and how it is developed in "agile" and "waterfall" methods
- Networks, compression, Cybersecurity and encryption
- Data types and data structures from binary to stacks, queues and graphs
- Legal, moral, cultural and ethical issues such as Artificial Intelligence, eWaste and software piracy
Component 02: Algorithms and Programming
This builds on component 01 to include computational thinking and problem-solving. It covers:
- Thinking abstractly, thinking ahead, thinking procedurally, logically and concurrently
- Modular programming, recursion and Object-Oriented Programming
- Computational methods including data mining and decision-making with heuristics
- Standard Algorithms including binary search, quick sort and Dijkstra's shortest path
Component 03: Programming Project
You will apply your skills to a practical programming project. You will analyse, design, develop, test, evaluate and document a program written in Python, or one of four other languages. Many students create games, others create practical applications for healthcare, education or the arts. Advanced programmers may use simple game engines like Defold. This unit is 20% of the overall grade.
The OCR A Level in Computer Science will encourage you to be inspired, motivated and challenged by following a broad, coherent, practical, satisfying and worthwhile course of study. It will provide insight into, and experience of how computer science works, stimulating your curiosity and encouraging you to engage with computer science in your everyday life and to make informed choices about further study or career choices.
A GCSE in ICT or Computer Science would be helpful but not essential. Strong mathematical ability evidenced by a good GCSE or equivalent in Mathematics is essential.