AQA Computer Science GCSE (2022)
This is for the AQA GCSE in Computer Science which was examined for the first time in 2022. Everything here is up to date as of the very minor changes made in November 2022.
The AQA pages for the course are at: AQA GCSE Computer Science 8525
If you're looking to buy a revision book please make sure it's for the right syllabus and is up to date!
If you're not doing the AQA course you might still find elements of this stuff useful. But do take care – there are some quite big differences between exam boards in CompSci.
Exams and Assessment
There are two exams. These will take place during May or June of Year 11. Both of them are formal, written exams that you go nowhere near a computer to do.
Paper 1 – Computational thinking and programming skills: 2 hour written exam worth 50% of the mark. This assesses Units 1 and 2 and focuses on programming problems. You will have to write program code in Python for this. By hand.
Paper 2 – Computing concepts: 1 hour 45 minute written exam worth 50% of the mark. This assesses Units 3 to 8 and focuses on theory, with the odd calculation thrown in. It includes some questions requiring more extended writing and you will have to write SQL code. By hand.
Both papers are non-calculator.
There is no coursework or portfolio work in Computer Science.
Each unit has its own section on the left menu bar:
- Programming - data types, operators, selection, loops etc...
- Data Representation - including binary, hexadecimal, images and sound
- Computer Systems - hardware and software
- Cyber security
- Databases including writing SQL
- Ethical, legal and environmental issues
Pseudo-code and Programming code:
Pseudo-code will be used in Paper 1 as a way of presenting some programming questions. This is just a way of writing computer code that everyone can understand without getting into specific programming language syntax.
You need to be able to read the exam board style of pseudo-code and understand what it means.
You then need to be able to understand and write programming code in a real programming language. There is a choice of programming languages, but I focus just on Python.
There is an exam board guide to pseudo-code syntax on the AQA website.