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Cambridge IGCSE Computer Science (0478)

This course enables learners to develop their understanding of the main principles of problem solving using computers. They can apply their understanding to develop computer-based solutions to problems using algorithms and a high-level programming language. Learners also develop a range of technical skills, as well as being able to effectively test and evaluate computing solutions.

This course available from September 2020, for first exams in June 2022.

Course Structure

Year 1

  • Operating systems and architecture
  • Pseudocode and flowcharts
  • Binary systems and hexadecimal
  • Programming concepts
  • Input, output and storage
  • Problem-solving and design
  • High/Low level programming languages

Year 2

  • Logic gates and circuits
  • Communications technology
  • Databases
  • Security and ethics
  • Programming and problem solving

In each year there is also time for revision and trial examinations, and in Year 2 students will prepare for their programming paper.

Activities and assessments

The course includes the following activities: readings on current topics, worked examples, quizzes, self-assessments, programming tasks and marked written assignments.

Teachers can review and grade assignments during the course. There are also unit discussions to support students with each topic.

The final examinations for students on this course consist of 2 externally-assessed papers, covering:

  • Paper 1 (Theory) —1 hour 45 minutes, 60%, Short answer and structured questions
  • Paper 2 (Problem-solving and programming) – 1 hour 45 minutes, 40%, Short answer and structured questions with some pre-released material

Advice from our teachers

In order to succeed in IGCSE Computer Science, we recommend students set aside five to six hours a week to study. It is important that students regularly keep up with the readings and the course activities in a timely manner. And that they contact their teacher if they fall behind or need help with assignments.

Equipment and practical work

Paper 2 is largely practical in nature and it is the responsibility of the school to ensure that students have access to adequate facilities. No particular programming language is assumed by CAIE. However, the syllabus does recommend that a high level language such as Visual Basic, Pascal/ Delphi or Python is used. Our course and the supporting resources from Hodder Education use JavaScript and/or Python when presenting examples. We recommend that schools make sure that students have access to one of these. The school must also ensure the student has adequate supporting hardware, file storage and back up systems, for use in school and when working independently.

Hodder Education eTextbook

This course is dependent on student etextbooks provided by Hodder Education and hosted on the Dynamic Learning platform. Please ensure you check the Hodder Dynamic Learning guidance to ensure your systems are able to access this service. This service is provided as part of the Pamoja course fee - find out more

Benefits to students

Taking IGCSE Computer Science will enable students to:

  • become experienced in a wide range of technical and social tools
  • develop skills like time management, communication and digital literacy
  • develop technical skills that can be applied to problem solving in everyday life

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