Key Stage 4

GCSE Computer Science

Examination Board: AQA Computer Science 4512

Course Description

The GCSE in Computer Science is designed to provide students with an opportunity to learn the traditional computing skills needed to develop a system for a user. Students will not only learn to program, but they will also investigate how to meet the needs of a user, both in terms of the software they need and understanding of how the hardware they run it on works.

Teaching and Learning Styles

The principle teaching method for this course is a hands on teaching of programming. Students will be using PC’s to study and develop applications, within a Windows environment, and develop the skills needed to solve a real user’s needs. Secondary to this, is the study of the technology that surrounds software, and an understanding of how Computer Science is impacting on society itself. In order to study computing, students will need to spend a considerable time independently improving their programming skills and must spend time either at home or in school on a PC to do this.

Course Structure

There are 2 units of study as follows:

Component 1 – Practical programming

Approximately 50 hours of controlled assessment (2 tasks of 25 hours each) 60% of the marks. Internally assessed, externally moderated.

Different tasks will be provided by AQA each year.

Each student should complete two tasks from a choice of four.

Working independently students demonstrate their ability to code a solution to a given problem. The tasks will be set in engaging and relevant contexts, eg gaming, web, mobile phone applications. Tasks may be completed and submitted on paper or electronically (saved to CD and posted to the moderator).

Component 2 – Computing fundamentals

1 hour 30 minutes examination, worth 40% of the marks

Externally assessed. Students can be entered for either a paper-based or on-screen version.  All questions will be compulsory and will be taken from across the subject content. This component will include a range of types of questions from very short to extended answer.


Component 1 is a controlled assessment, which is assessed internally and moderated externally. Component 2 is an examination.

Further information on GCSE Computer Science can be obtained from Mr S Sharpe, Head of Faculty for Business, Computing and Society.