GCSE Document Reference
Decomposition and abstraction
Data types and structures
Data storage and compression
Structured vs. unstructured database
Machines and computational modelling
Communications and internet
Social engineering, unpatched software, USB devices, digital devices and eavesdropping; understand how to protect software systems from cyber attacks
The internet and world wide web
The bigger picture
Emerging trends, issues and impact
Well done, you’re almost done with your GCSEs! Soon you’ll have a GCSE in Computer Science. As your exams get closer, you might be starting to feel overwhelmed and anxious about them. Worry not, help is here! Let’s talk about priorities – the first thing you need to do is write a detailed revision plan. Then half of your worries will be gone as all you have to do is follow your plan up until exam day. In order to do that, here’s all you need to know and how we can help.
By now you’ve probably heard of different exam boards. This all may sound confusing, but the good news is that most of the content taught in subjects does not vary much by exam board. So even though you’re taking Edexcel GCSE Computer Science and your friend is taking OCR GCSE Computer Science, you will still be studying the same thing essentially. What is different is what exam boards focus on when assessing your knowledge and understand of the topics. The Edexcel exam board is known for emphasising multiple-choice questions as a means of assessment. You should take this into account when planning your revision and try to incorporate practice quizzes. That way you’ll be ready for what’s ahead!
About the Board
For some context and history, Edexcel, as we know it today, was formed in 2003. They became the first privately owned exam board in the UK after Pearson Plc. and the Edexcel Foundation signed an agreement. Fun fact, Edexcel is a combination of the words education and excellence. Edexcel GCSE Computer Science is a linear subject.
This means that you will only acquire your certificate if you sit all of your exams at the end of the course (not throughout it).
How long will the course take to complete?
Students usually take two years to complete the Edexcel GCSE Computer Science course. However, some have elected to take in just a year and others have taken up to three years.
Is any prior knowledge required?
There are no prior learning or qualification requirements for taking the Edexcel GCSE Computer Science.
What will I study?
In your Edexcel GCSE Computer Science course, you will cover problem-solving; programming; data; computers; communication and the internet; and, ‘the bigger picture’. You will also get to do a programming project in which you’ll develop a computer program.
What is the examination process like?
The assessment for your GCSE Computer Science course will consist of two components. The first written paper (Principles of Computer Science) will include questions that target computer-related mathematics. It will last 1 hour and 40 minutes and count for 50% of your final grade. The second paper (Application of Computational Thinking) will contain questions based on a scenario. It will last 2 hours in total and will count for another 50% of your final GCSE grade.
It is recommended that you study for two to three hours each day ahead of your GCSE Computer Science exams. This will mean that you will be studying for long enough to enter the stage of deep learning but not so long as to risk burnout. Another good way to remain balanced during the revision season is to try and lead a healthy lifestyle. Eat your greens, go for a run and make sure you get enough sleep. Following a healthy routine will help you feel fresher and mitigate any risks of anxiety or stress.
But you shouldn’t just be balancing your lifestyle, you should also balance how you use your revision hours. Instead of spending 2-3 hours reading, combine reading time with drawing mind maps and doing practice quizzes. Active learning like this increases your chances of information retention. Finally, once you start feeling more confident begin to do practice papers under timed conditions. Using past exam papers for this purpose will mean you’ll know what to expect on exam day and how to manage your time under exam conditions. All of us at GCSE Computer Science are rooting for you to succeed in your exams. To help you do so, we’ve got revision materials like quizzes, mind maps and flashcards waiting for you. Let’s get started!