Computer Science

(12 Posts)
MrsBertBibby Tue 15-Oct-19 21:30:37

Son wants to study CS at uni, and should be looking at top courses with his talent. He's currently looking at sixth forms, one of which only does further maths to AS level.

Does anyone know how CS courses might view that? Is full further maths essential?

OP’s posts: |
Ethelswith Tue 15-Oct-19 21:36:38

It's desirable, not essential.

He needs to make it clear (in his PS? somewhere in the application) that his schools offers it only to AS and tha he has taken it as far as he can. Demonstrating enrichment activities in maths and CS is important too.

Places like Oxbridge and Imperial set their own exam, so how he performs in that will matter. He will need A* in maths, and for Imperial also STEP (I think it's a 2 on level one). What are his possible sucth forms like in prepping for those exams?

MrsBertBibby Wed 16-Oct-19 20:43:04

STEP? Oh man I am feeling more ignorant by the minute. What is that?

The school 6th form (which only does AS for F maths) has a Russell Group programme. The alternative college (which he prefers, but a place isn't guaranteed) has lots of RG success (both get kids to Oxbridge etc, but the school sixth form is a lot smaller than the college.) The college clearly has a decent group doing FM each year, I am pretty sure there was only one FM kid at the school from what the maths teacher said.

Guess we will have to cross everything for a place at college so the question doesn't arise!

OP’s posts: |
Walkingdeadfangirl Wed 16-Oct-19 21:11:08

"STEP (Sixth Term Examination Paper) Mathematics is a well-established mathematics examination designed to test candidates on questions that are similar in style to undergraduate mathematics."

Its an exam top unis use to test how able you in your chosen subject. Done at the end of Y13. It is usually but not always part of a computing offer from Imperial. If they dont have the full Further Maths A level they would need to do very well in a STEP exam.

thesandwich Wed 16-Oct-19 21:27:39

Has he looked at the various schemes gchq offer to students? Also, headstart, smallpeace courses, and taster days?

MarchingFrogs Thu 17-Oct-19 16:29:21

I would only discourage a BTEC if he was looking to go to a Russel group Uni.

Nootingham, Newcastle and Cardiff accept BTEC without A level Maths, grades required ranging from DMM to triple D*.
(All for BSc Computer Science, source: UCAS )

Plus possibly QMUL, which invites potential applicants to contact someone to discuss their particular situation.

MarchingFrogs Thu 17-Oct-19 16:37:09

Ooh, weird, was on other CS/ BTEC...


Ethelswith Thu 17-Oct-19 21:45:05

For Imperial CS 2019 entry, offers were A* in maths, As is all other subjects (quite a lot of candidates were taking 4, as they would have double maths plus two others) and level 2 in STEP 1 (there are 3 levels of STEP - 1 is based on maths A level syllabus, 2 on FM, and 3 for serious maths nerds IYSWIM). They had no places go to clearing/adjustment

MrKlaw Fri 18-Oct-19 08:44:31

STEP 2 would be challenging if you're not doing A level FM though?

Surprised how relatively math heavy the requirements seem to be. For my DD she really doesn't want to do FM but will be doing Maths at A level, plus chemistry and likely Geography/History.

STEP would be difficult for her

ErrolTheDragon Sun 20-Oct-19 12:57:02

When DD was thinking about her A level choices for engineering, which is similar to CS re FM - (not an absolute requirement but desirable for high ranked courses) the consistent advice she got - from eg engineering academics on an MN thread and from admissions tutors (she emailed a few re preferred subjects and got some very nice helpful replies) was that it's advantageous when it comes to actually doing the degree if you've done FM.

I think sometimes we can lose sight of the fact that A levels aren't just a means to the end of securing a uni place, they're an end in themselves for actually learning what you need ( or will make life easier) as a starting point for some courses.

I assume most highly numerate courses have differentiated maths groups, at least to start with, to allow for the different starting points of their students, but what I was told by one academic was that students without FM for his uni/course would have to put in more effort and self study to catch up.

Ethelswith Sun 20-Oct-19 13:04:51

"STEP 2 would be challenging if you're not doing A level FM though?"

Yes, which might be why Imperial uses STEP 1 (required grade level 2) for Comp Sci. It might use STEP 2 for CompSci/maths combined?

STEP 3 is really only for maths itself

And I completely agree with Errol - the reason FM is preferred is because you need that level of maths, and it is generally better to acquire it via A level than by having more to learn in first few terms at university

AtiaoftheJulii Mon 21-Oct-19 07:02:38

Does anyone know how CS courses might view that? Is full further maths essential?

He will just have to look at each choice, there's not really a blanket answer. Ds is doing CS - his highest offers were A star, A star, A - for which Cambridge just said maths was essential but some colleges want FM too (so there you have to delve even deeper), and Manchester (integrated masters) wanted one A star in maths, and the other in either FM/CS/physics/chem/bio.

My opinion is that FM is probably more useful than anything else if he's looking at the more demanding end of the spectrum.

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