GCSE Computer Science

GCSE Computer Science

GCSE Computer Science involves the fundamentals of computer science including data representation and programming.

Course Content

Subject content:
Fundamentals of algorithms
Fundamentals of data representation
Computer systems
Fundamentals of computer networks
Fundamentals of cyber security
Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society, including issues of privacy
Aspects of software development
Non-exam assessment

Sample topics include…

Students will have the opportunity to learn programming in either Python or Visual Basic. They will learn to use a systematic approach to problem solving and algorithm creation, representing those algorithms using pseudo-code and flowcharts.

Number bases: Students will learn to differentiate between the following number bases: decimal (base 10) / binary (base 2) / hexadecimal (base 16). They will be able to convert from: binary and decimal / binary and hexadecimal / decimal and hexadecimal and be able to add together up to three binary numbers. 

Image representation: Students will understand what a pixel is and be able to describe how pixels relate to an image and the way images are displayed.

Data compression: They will also learn how data can be compressed using Huffman coding and be able to interpret Huffman trees.

Logic gates: Construct truth tables for the following logic gates: NOT, AND, OR.

Systems architecture: Explain the role and operation of main memory and the following major components of a central processing unit (CPU): The arithmetic logic unit, control unit, clock and bus.

Alternative study: GCSE Mathematics or A-Level Computer Science


Paper 1: Computational thinking and problem solving

What is assessed?
Computational thinking, problem solving, code tracing and applied computing as well as theoretical knowledge of computer science from subject content.

How is it assessed?
Written exam set in practically-based scenarios: 1 hour 30 minutes / 80 marks / 40%

Paper 2: Theoretical knowledge from subject content

What is assessed?
Through a mix of multiple choice, short answer, longer answer and extended response questions, a student’s theoretical knowledge is assessed.

How is it assessed?
Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes / 80 marks / 40%

Practical programming project: 80 marks / 20%

Where does it lead?

The career path following on from Computer Science is wide and varied.

Careers exist in web development, computer games, art, media, advertising, consultancy as well as the more conventional commerce route. It is a generalist subject and, as such, can be applied in just about every conceivable industry.

Ultimately, Computer Science gives students the skills to succeed in modern everyday life.