Home FAQ and Resources Unit F451 Computer Fundamentals

Unit F452 Programming
Techniques and logical Methods

Unit F453 Advanced
Computer Theory
Unit F454 Computing







Resources and Frequently Asked Questions

Want to learn to be a really good programmer? Click here for some excellent resources, help and suggestions.

Frequently Asked Questions
1) How is the A Level Computing assessed?
There are 4 units in total. The first year of the A Level (the AS year) consists of units F451 and F452. Each of these are tested by a written exam. The exams are one and a half hours long and worth 100 marks each. The second year (the A2 year) consists of units F453 and F454. F453 is a examined by a two hour exam and is worth 120 marks. F454 is a programming project and worth 80 marks. In total, the whole A Level is out of 400 marks.

2) What resources are available to cover the theory on the A Level Computing course?
You need to be using a number of different sources, in addition to the Internet. Obviously, this website is excellent and will really help. There is also a superb textbook used in hundreds of schools. You can get the details on this website. There is a textbook called 'OCR Computing for A Level' available and a book called the 'BCS Glossary of Computing and ICT', both of which are helpful and are available from places like Amazon. You may be able to pick-up cheaper or second hand copies from eBay.

3) Can I do the AS year without doing any programming?
Possibly, but you are highly unlikely to get a good result. You are strongly advised to learn a programming language at the same time as looking at theory in the first year of the A Level. It is difficult to see how you can understand much of F452 without putting into practice what you have learnt from notes. You will also need to do a project which has to have a substantial programming element in the second year.

4) What programming language should I learn?
It makes little difference what language you learn as the basic ideas of programming are found in most languages. Your teacher will guide you. Many students start by playing with Scratch or Alice for a few lessons. Then they download and set-up VB.net 2010 (which is free) or Lazarus for freepascal (which is also free). My own students start with Scratch, move on to Pascal coding and then move on to Object Oriented programming using VB.net. We also dabble using Little Man Computer, BASIC and free assemblers, to build up experience and knowledge. Not only are these languages free, there are many hundreds of thousands of tutorials and examples to help you. Programming comes with practice and will take a while to get going. However, it gets easier with time and with experience. Work very hard on learning your first language and don't give up! Burn the midnight oil. Once you have learnt one language, most other languages can be quickly mastered as they all use the same basic concepts.

5) Where can I get past exam papers?
The OCR website has many past papers. The old Computing syllabus (the legacy syllabus)on the OCR site as well as the new syllabus and other exam boards' websites are good sources. Past papers can also be found at websites like this one.

6) What is Report Writing Style?
You should not write your project as if it were an English or Geography piece of coursework, for example. You should write it using a style that is to-the-point and very fast and easy to read. Click here for details of report writing style or use Google to find and decide upon your own report writing style. Another important thing is consistent presentation, so set up and use templates in Word or Open Office or whatever you are using, before you even begin your coursework!




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