Thursday, February 28, 2013

INTRODUCTION AND GUIDE TO The GCSE examination in Computer Studies

INTRODUCTION AND GUIDE TO The GCSE examination in Computer Studies


The GCSE examination in Computer Studies has created major changes in the way the subject is studied. The new Standard Grade examination will do much the same in Scotland. The changes include:

1 The type of work covered. This has moved away from programming and how devices work towards the applications of computers.

2 The way pupils learn the subject. More emphasis is placed on activities. Students spend less time on theoretical work.

3 The way work is examined. Coursework and examination questions are geared to pupils' different abilities more precisely than before.

However, most of the assessment is still by written examinations. Candidates still need a revision book to help them perform well and to get the best from it you are advised to follow the procedure outlined below:

Using the table of analysis of syllabuses

1- There are important differences between the various syllabuses. You need to know which one you are studying. Your teacher will help you with this.

2- Find your syllabus in the table of analysis immediately after this introduction. In the appropriate column you will find:

(a) The total number of written papers set.

(b) The number of written papers you have to do. For many syllabuses there is a choice of papers depending on the type of grade you hope to get. You can tell that there is a choice if the 'number of papers candidate takes' is less than the 'number of written papers set'.

Further details of papers and questions are given in the section on the GCSE after the Table of Analysis of Examination Syllabuses.

(c) The total time for the written examinations for each candidate.

(d) Whether any of the papers includes some multiple choice questions. (e) Whether the papers include a case study and some details if they do.

(f) Whether it is necessary to do some programming as part of coursework. All syllabuses allow programming projects but only the Scottish Standard Grade demands that they be done. (g) The percentage of the total marks which are allocated for coursework.

3- The table also tells you which topics are on your syllabus. The symbols in your column of the table tell you which of the units of the book apply to your syllabus.

The key to the symbols in the columns is:

•    unit is required for the syllabus

o   unit is only needed by those attempting higher grades (see end of table)

P    unit is not needed for written papers but is useful if you are doing a programming project

a blank space means the unit is not required.

4- Further information about the various syllabuses is given in the section on the GCSE which follows the Table of Analysis.

5- The Table of Analysis is only intended as a guide. Ask your teacher if you are in any doubt about which topics to revise.


1- Select a topic. If you have enough time, tackle topics in the order in which they appear in the book. Otherwise. select one which you have been taught but are not confident about.

2- Find the appropriate unit in the main part of the book. Work through it. The units are set out so that for quick revision you can miss out the examples and the worked questions, concentrating only on the main text. However, it is better to start your revision in plenty of time and work through the complete text.

3- Do some examination questions for that unit (at the back of the book). Possible answers are provided. Exceptions to this are:


(a) Where the answer can easily be looked up in the book. In that case a reference has been given to the appropriate unit.

(b) Where the Examining Group setting the question will not allow answers to be given.

It is best not to use the answers until you have completed the set of questions for the unit. If you cannot do many of the questions, go back and work through the appropriate unit again. Make a note of any sections you find difficult for later quick revision.

To carry out this programme properly for a summer examination you will have to start soon after Christmas. In the final week you can go through the questions again and revise the units you noted as being difficult.

General notes

You will find in the section on Projects and Coursework some useful advice about coursework.


Throughout the book, when an important computing term is introduced it is printed in bold type and a definition is given. If you want to know what a term means look it up in the index at the back of this book. Usually one of the page numbers given there will be in bold type. This refers you to the definition and explanation you want.

Most syllabuses accept the definitions given in the booklet A Glossary of Computing Terms for Introductory Courses published by the CUP on behalf of the British Computer Society. Whenever possible, the definitions given here are compatible with those given in that glossary.