The IGCSE Computer Science course is an excellent introduction to the world of computing technology and the science that lies behind it. This really could be the start of a rewarding and challenging career that will put you at the forefront of the next major developments in technology. You will also learn skills and techniques that will improve your ability to think logically and problem solve.
This course is not an absolute requirement for a specialist university computing courses or computing careers, but success in it will give you firsthand experience of what it is like being an expert software engineer, games programmer or web designer.
Although there is a substantial practical element to the course, the theory component is both extensive and demanding. The mathematical content is also quite significant as you will be expected to carry out calculations in Base 2 and Base 16 as well as Base 10.
You are also expected to develop a logical approach to problem solving, along with an enquiring and innovative attitude towards breaking down a complex problem into manageable parts. You will also apply your knowledge to solve a real life problem.
All work for this course can be done without access to a computer at home, but regular practice of your technical skills outside of the classes is essential for progress in this subject.
Paper 1: Computer Systems 1 hour 45 minutes (50%)
This written paper contains short-answer and structured questions. All questions are compulsory.
Paper 2: Algorithm, Programming and Logic 1 hour 45 minutes (50%)
This written paper contains short-answer, structured questions and a scenario based question. All questions are compulsory.
This highly specialised and technical field leads to a variety of different careers all at the forefront of technological development. Be part of the next big thing!
Examples of specialist computer careers would include:
To study Computer Science at AS or Advanced GCE you need to have no formal qualification in the subject, but it is imperative that you have studied IGCSE Computer Science first. You will find that the AS/Advanced GCE course in Computer Science will build on much of the knowledge and skills you have already developed during IGCSE. The most important factor is that you have an interest in software and software systems and how they interact with computer hardware.
You will learn about:
On completion of this course students will be well aware of what a future career as a Computer Scientist will entail.
Paper 1: Theory Fundamentals – This written paper contains short-answer and structured questions. There is no choice of questions. Externally assessed 1 hour 30 minutes
Paper 2: Fundamental Problem-solving and Programming Skills – This written paper contains short-answer and structured questions. Candidates will also need to write answers in pseudocode. There is no choice of questions. Externally assessed 2 hours.
Paper 3: Advanced Theory – This written paper contains short-answer and structured questions. There is no choice of questions. Externally assessed 1 hour 30 minutes
Paper 4: Practical – This written paper contains short-answer and structured questions. There is no choice of questions. Candidates will also need to submit complete program code and evidence of testing. Externally assessed 2 hours 30 minutes.
The aims of the Cambridge International AS and AL Computer Science course, whether leading to an AS or A Level qualification are:
Computers and microprocessor based appliances are an essential feature of modern life, controlling daily activities in all aspects of society. This includes both commercial and domestic environments. As a technical expert you will be a key player in how these devices develop and shape our lives in the future. Robotics, artificial intelligence, bio-tech and mechatronics are just some of the exciting new developments in a rapidly developing technological field.
Developing your knowledge of computational thinking, that is thinking about what can be computed and how by the use of abstraction and decomposition. It includes consideration of the data required. Learning computational thinking involves learning to program, by writing computer code, because this is the means by which computational thinking is expressed.
This is done by studying initially high and low level languages and using this knowledge to solve a variety of practical real life problems. In addition to this you will also be looking at how computers store and process different categories of data. How information is transported around networks is also another important area of study. In Year 13 all of these areas of study listed above are built upon further.
There are no practical examinations on the AS course and all assessments are externally marked. However, the AL course requires the student to complete a program code for an exam board issued problem using a high-level programming language and document evidence of testing. This will also be externally assessed.
A level Mathematics is a requirement for all Computer Science courses in higher education, and Physics is an essential preparation for some of the more hardware oriented courses, so you may want to consider these.