Computer Science

AQA Computer Science

This is an exciting opportunity for students using one of their option choices to achieve a GCSE in the ever evolving field of computer science. This qualification will introduce you to the theory behind the architecture of a modern computer, a range of programming techniques using the Python programming language, and how computers handle data and communicate with each other.

In January 2013, the government announced that GCSE computing will count as a science option in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) for secondary school league tables from 2014 (published in January 2015).

Units for the GCSE Qualification

This qualification is linear. Linear means that students will sit all their exams and submit all their non-exam assessment at the end of the course.

Subject content

3.1 Fundamentals of algorithms
3.2 Programming
3.3 Fundamentals of data representation
3.4 Computer systems
3.5 Fundamentals of computer networks
3.6 Cyber security
3.7 Relational databases and structured query language (SQL)
3.8 Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society, including issues of privacy

Assessment Method

Paper 1: Computational Thinking and Problem-solving

What's assessed:

Computational thinking, code tracing, problem-solving, programming concepts including the design of effective algorithms and the designing, writing, testing and refining of code.

The content for this assessment will be drawn from subject content 3.1 and 3.2 above.

How it's assessed

Written exam: 2 hours, 90 marks 50% of GCSE


A mix of multiple choice, short answer and longer answer questions assessing programming, practical problem-solving and computational thinking skills.

Paper 2: Written Assessment

What's assessed

The content for this assessment will be drawn from subject content 3.3 to 3.8 above.

How it's assessed

Written exam: 1 hour 45 minutes, 90 marks, 50% of GCSE


A mix of multiple choice, short answer, longer answer and extended response questions assessing SQL programming skills and theoretical knowledge.

What can I do with this Qualification?

Students gaining GCSE computing will have access to a range of further education opportunities. The options open to you depend on the results achieved and your own interests.  You may wish to study an Advanced GCE in computing. However, if you wish to continue studying ICT in a vocational context, you may consider a Level 3 BTEC in IT at 6th form.  From there you can continue your studies in higher education by following a relevant degree course or a BTEC Higher National.

There are a large variety of higher education courses that are based around computing, communications and IT.

For further information see

Mr M Dunn