WJEC Computer Science Teaching Resources & Lesson Plans

​WJEC specification

​GCSE Document Reference

​Additional content

1

​Unit 1

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​Hardware

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​Logical operations

​XOR logical operator

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​Communication

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​Organization and structure of data

​File design

​Design algorithms and programming routines that validate and verify data

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​System software

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​Principles of programming

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​Software engineering

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​Program construction

​Stages involved during compilation

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​Security and data management

​​Generations of files

​Calculate compression ratios

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​Ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society

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​2

​Component 2

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​Problem solving

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​Algorithms and programming constructs

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​Programming languages

​Object oriented languages,
few more tags of HTML & few mnemonics of  assembly language

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​Data structures and data types

​​Lifetime of variables

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​Security and authentication

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​If you’ve come to this page, then it’s highly likely that you’re preparing to take your WJEC GCSE Computer Science exams. Well done, you’ve almost made it! As the school year draws to an end and your exams creep closer, you may be starting to get overwhelmed about all the assessments you’ll have to sit in all the different subjects that you’re taking. Many studies have found that GCSEs are in fact the most difficult hurdle for most students. The good news is, that once you complete them not only is the world your oyster, but you’ll be prepared for anything! The other good news is that we at Teach Computer Science are here for you! We’ve gone ahead and prepared tons of revision material to keep your busy in the next few weeks and help you get the grades you want. 

At Teach Computer Science, we like to emphasise that the devil is in the details. While most people think that it doesn’t matter what exam board you’re sitting your exams with, it, in fact, is a fairly important bit of information. The exam boards are broadly similar in how they assess students, but they do have small particularities about them which if you know them in advance can work to your advantage. The WJEC exam is unique in the way that its exams are structured. One will test you in the form of assessment, the second one will ask you to use computer software and the third one will test your practical skills. These are all things you must take into account when planning your revision.

About the Board

WJEC, formerly known as the Welsh Joint Education Committee, is an examination board based in Cardiff, Wales that provides exams and educational resources to schools in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. They were first formed in 1948 as a consortium of the Welsh Local Education Authorities. WJEC assesses GCSE Computer Science in a “linear” way. This means that you’ll be taking all of your exams at the end of your one- or two-year GCSE course at school.

How Long Will the Course Take to Complete?

How long your GCSE Computer Science course takes to complete will depend entirely on your school or educational facility. Most schools tailor their GCSE programs to last exactly two years, with students taking their GCSE exams at the end of Year 11. However, some will change things up and may space out your lessons so that the GCSE lasts three years. On the other hand, you could also complete it in just one academic year if you wanted to and your school allowed for it.

Is Any Prior Knowledge Required?

The WJEC examination board states in their specification that GCSE Computer Science learners are not required to have acquired any prior knowledge prior to starting the course. However, they do note that the course builds on subject content taught at key stage 3 level. They also note that is at the school or college’s discretion whether they will require certain knowledge before letting you take GCSE Computer Science. Therefore, you’re advised to speak to your teachers and be aware of any policy your school might have in regard to this.

What Will I Study?

As a student of WJEC GCSE Computer Science, you will cover a large variety of topics within this field which will introduce you to the various aspects of computer science. These include topics about understanding computer science which are hardware; logistical operations; communication; organisation and structure of data; system software; principles of programming; software engineering; program construction: security and data management; and, ethical, legal and environmental impacts of digital technology on wider society. Students will also learn about topics on computational thinking which include problem solving; algorithms and programming constructs, programming languages, data structures, and data types; and, security and authentication. Finally, GCSE learners will cover software development.

What is the Examination Process Like?

The examination process for the WJEC GCSE in Computer Science consists of three assessments. The first assessment will be a written examination. It will last 1hour and 45 minutes and count for 50% of the final grade. Students will be tested on their knowledge of all topics within Unit 1: Understanding Computer Science. Next, students will sit a 2-hour on-screen exam, meaning that they’ll be taking the test on a computer. This exam will count for 30% of the final mark and will test the students’ knowledge on all topics within Unit 2: Computational Thinking. This non-exam assessment will last a total of 20 hours and count for 20% of the final grade. It will test students on software development, the third and final unit, which basically means that students will be tested on their abilities to apply the knowledge learned through the first two units. 

Study Tips

The best way to prepare for your WJEC GCSE Computer Science exams is to 1) start early, 2) devote plenty of time (3-4 hours a day should do), 3) plan thoroughly and 4) stick to your plan! We also recommend that when planning your revision you spice things up with active learning methods. These include mind maps, flashcards, and interactive quizzes. This way not only can you make revision actually enjoyable and not tedious, but you’ll also be more prepared for whatever the examiners throw at you.
Don’t forget to rid yourself of distractions while you study. Today, social media, computer games and just being on your phone, in general, are the top distractions for students. Instead of having your phone around as a temptation all the time, set it aside during revision time and return to it once you’re done. This will keep you focused and motivated to get work done. Ready to get started now that you have all this info? Head over to our resources page!