St John Plessington Catholic College


You have not allowed cookies and this content may contain cookies.

If you would like to view this content please

Head of Department:

Mrs K Penny 




GCSE in Computer Science


A GCSE in Computer Science will give you a fantastic opportunity to work with a variety of technologies and offers you choices such as games design or computing, making it engaging and enjoyable to study. The qualification has been designed to nurture digital literacy, and provide you with up-to-date skills, knowledge and understanding of the rapidly developing digital world around you. Computer Science encourages candidates to be inspired, moved and challenged by following a coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course of study.


The qualification has a straightforward structure with six comprehensive topic areas, assessed through two externally-examined papers. One of these is a written paper focused on computational thinking, data, computers, networks, and issues and impact of computing in the world today. The other is a practical on-screen assessment, which focuses on the ability to analyse and solve problems by designing, writing, testing and refining programs.

The qualification’s combination of written and practical elements balances theory and practical application, providing pupils with a rounded experience of computer science.

Paper 1: Principles of Computer Science

This unit covers the body of knowledge about computer systems on which the examination will be based. This paper consists of five compulsory questions, each one focused on one of the topic areas. The questions consist of multiple-choice, short-, medium- and extended-open response, tabular and diagrammatic items. The written paper lasts 1 hour 30 minutes and is worth 50% of the overall qualification.

Paper 2: Application of Computational Thinking

This unit investigates problem solving within programming. This practical paper requires you to design, write, test and refine programs in order to solve problems. This assessment consists of an on-screen examination which lasts 2 hours and is worth 50% of the overall qualification.


A GCSE in Computer Science opens up an incredible world of opportunities for work both in the technology industries and in supporting roles within other industries. IT people not only need technical skills and knowledge but also other characteristics such as an ability to communicate clearly with all levels; planning and project management skills; and excellent self-motivation, decision-making and problem-solving abilities.

Edexcel’s Computer Science GCSE opens doors to diverse career paths such as games desig