Stage 4 - Studying for GCSEs

GCSE Computer Science builds on what you have studied in the first three stages (from starting Primary School) to give you the grounding so that you can pass formal examinations at the end of Stage 4 (GCSEs). The content of this stage cover the current UK National Curriculum content for Computing. First, we start with a question ...

Examination board links

Use these links to help you to get to know what is required for each UK specification.
OCR Computer Science : Homepage / Specification
AQA Computer Science : Homepage / Specification
Edexcel Computer Science : Homepage / Specification
WJEC Eduqas Computer Science : Homepage / Specification

Ready to start?

Before you start studying for your GCSE in Computer Science, you need to get organised! You will need ...
  • Notebook / Exercise book
  • Access to a computer at home
  • Intrinsic motivation to learn (you can't get that from this website however ...)
Each section in the course has lots of activities for you to complete and an assessment which your teacher will give you after you have completed the section to measure how much you have understood.

Course structure

I've split the course into three years. There is a lot to cover during this time and you will very likely be asked to complete some of the work outside lessons. Each topic has a topic presentation, series of learning tasks, various revision activities and links to extension work.

First Year                                               

Introduction to computer systems
How to get data into a computer system
How data is stored in computers
How we measure data quantity
Character encoding schemes
How to measure and manipulate strings
Lists, dictionaries and records
How computers to maths like us
How computers make logical decisions
Computers are great at comparison
Using selection routines in programming
Using looping routines in programming
How to get data out of a computer system

You will also spend this year learning Computational Thinking skills, undertake an introductory programming course on a website like Code Studio and starting to learn to write programs in the Python programming language.

Summer internal examination
Second Year                                          

Data handling
Data security, secondary storage, files
CS15 Databases
Handling data using databases
Sorting and searching algorithms

Software design
CS17 Modelling
Techniques for real world modelling
What they are and how to do them
Login systems
Flowcharts and pseudocode
Functions and procedures
Programming with objects
Formal testing strategies
Algorithm practice
Graded programming challenges
Techniques of system development

At this point, you will likely do lots of recap activities and some coursework / extended programming tasks to test your programming skills.

Summer internal examination
Third Year                                              

Data representation
How to count like a computer
How to do maths like a computer
How computers store images
How computers store sound
Compression techniques

Hardware and software
CS33 The CPU
Operation of the central processing unit
System and utility software
How operating systems work

Networking - NOT PLANNED YET
Networks, LANs and WANs
Communication techniques
The 4-layer protocol stack
Threats to networks
Keeping networks secure and safe

The wider world - NOT PLANNED YET
Impact of computers on the world

Final examinations