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Year 9 Options » Computer Science

Computer Science

Key Information

Examination Board Cambridge International Examinations
Syllabus Code 0478
Entry Requirements  Interest in computer science/ programming


Learners studying Computer Science develop their understanding of the main principles of problem solving using computers. They can develop computer-based solutions to problems using algorithms and a high-level programming language such as vb.net and python. Learners also develop a range of technical skills, as well as being able to effectively test and evaluate computing solutions. Studying Computer Science will help learners appreciate current and emerging computing technologies, the benefits of their use and recognise potential risks.

DO NOT confuse Computer Science with ICT.  Instead the emphasis is on computational thinking. Computational thinking is a kind of reasoning used by both humans and machines. Thinking computationally is an important life skill.

Course Content

Theory of computer science

1.1 Data representation

  • 1.1.1 Binary systems
  • 1.1.2 Hexadecimal
  • 1.1.3 Data storage

1.2 Communication and Internet technologies

  • 1.2.1 Data transmission
  • 1.2.2 Security aspects
  • 1.2.3 Internet principles of operation

1.3 Hardware and software

  • 1.3.1 Logic gates
  • 1.3.2 Computer architecture and the fetchexecute cycle
  • 1.3.3 Input devices
  • 1.3.4 Output devices
  • 1.3.5 Memory, storage devices and media
  • 1.3.6 Operating systems
  • 1.3.7 High- and low-level languages and their translators

1.4 Security

1.5 Ethics


2.1 Algorithm design and problem-solving

  • 2.1.1 Problem-solving and design
  • 2.1.2 Pseudocode and flowcharts

2.2 Programming

  • 2.2.1 Programming concepts
  • 2.2.2 Data structures; arrays

2.3 Databases



Paper 1

1 hour 45 minutes

Theory 60%

75 marks Short answer and structured questions

Questions will be based on section 1 of the Subject content


Paper 2

1 hour 45 minutes

Problem-solving and Programming 40%

50 marks

Short answer and structured questions

Questions will be based on section 2 of the Subject content


Careers and Progression

Computer scientists are in demand and their salaries reflects this. Recent graduates in professional roles earn lots on average.

Whilst we would hope you would continue to study computer science at A-Level, you could go on to a career in medicine, law, business, politics or any type of science.

For more information, contact Mr Scales