View Full Version : GCSE ICT

Stephen Coates
10th February 2007, 20:44
I remember from the old forum, some of you said that you did GcSE ICT quite a long time ago.

Well, I was just wondering what sort of things you actually learnt about in the lessons and did about in the coursework/exams?

Our coursework is boring. Unit 3 was about how I use a computer, how an adults work has changed because of computers, how a disabled person uses computers etc. Unit 2a/b was about how the 4 functional areas at Tesco use ICT and 2c which we are doing now is having to make a database system for a video shop (the only piece of practical work. This last unit is probably the most interesting).

Unit 1 is the exam which covers Word Processing, Presentations, Speadsheets and Databases. I did this final exam in January and think I did pretty well in it as they are easy. It's just the coursework that I find hard.

11th February 2007, 18:28
I did it probably the most recent of everyone on here (Summer 2004 exam). It was (I think) the first year it was called ICT as opposed to IT. It was the WJEC exam board's course.

Theory stuff included a lot of shop stuff (POS, barcodes etc. - the one question that always caught people out was "What information is contained in the barcode" - everyone used to put down price of the item), banking (ATM, cheques, online banking), communications (internet, teletext, WAP). 40% of the marks for this theory bit (2 exams).

Then the coursework side of things we had a portfolio and a project. The portfolio was three exercises - a Word exercise, an Excel exercise and an Access exercise. Worth 30%. Then the project required you to create a system for a company/event. For this you had to create a database, spreadsheet, and two presentations as well as a brief, evaluation etc. I think I did it on a sports tournment, with a database for people who'd ordered tickets, a spreadsheet to work out expenses and profits etc. and a poster and website as my two presentations. This project was also worth 30%.

I didn't find the coursework itself difficult, I found getting the idiot of a teacher I had to give me marks for stuff was the problem. How it worked was you'd do something, show it to him, show him the bit on coursework mark sheet it corresponded to and the idea was he'd then mark that off. Often though he'd tick a completely different box or at a later date just take the mark off. My coursework met 90% of the criteria (there were some bits that were way to much work to get the last few marks) but was given a final mark by the teacher which was in the C grade bracket (I think he gave me ~60%). I got an A grade overall after getting what must have been very high marks in the exams.

Oh and if you think it's hard Steve, spare a thought for me - I had to do the ICT course in Welsh.

11th February 2007, 20:53
Hmm, welsh. Interesting....

12th February 2007, 09:49
I remember from the old forum, some of you said that you did GcSE ICT quite a long time ago.

Well, I was just wondering what sort of things you actually learnt about in the lessons and did about in the coursework/exams?

I learnt that my teacher was not very good, and that I knew probably more about computers than she did.

Didn't really try too hard, got an A anyway. It was an easy one for me, a lot of people did struggle though - I guess as I was into computers and read about them a fair bit I had absorbed more than enough info for exam/coursework.

12th February 2007, 19:06
Roughly the same for me as JT. My IT teachers knew a lot less than me. I was often asked to format floppy disks for the teachers as they didn't know how to do it themselves. Don't forget though that this was in 1989/90 and computing wasn't as common place as it is today, especially in the workplace and in day to day life.

It's a long time ago now and I can't really remember what I had to do for the IT exam. I do remember having to do coursework about IT in the workplace, having to write a report style essay on an example of IT being used in the workplace, and finally some computing tests under exam conditions where we had to follow a set of instructions and word process a document, setup a spreadsheet etc... and I think that was all we had to do.

I didn't really need to try all that hard in GCSE IT and still got an A. In fact I didn't really have to try all that hard in any of my GCSE exams and passed them all with A's and Bs. We had been taught to O-Level standards as we were originally to take O-Levels (then the GCSE's were introduced and we were the first to ever take them that year). When we did the mock GCSEs we couldn't believe how easy the exams were. Based on this I still think GCSE's are much too easy compared to the odler exam systems. Maybe they need to be to try and show children as not getting thicker! Who knows. ;)

Stephen Coates
29th May 2008, 10:01
Just got this in my PC Pro newsletter:


I have always found ICT a strange subject but that does sound like AQA made the exams last year a bit too strange. I will have to get that exam paper and have a look at it.

Looks like they seem to ask alot of questions about ICT. When i did my exam last year, with Edexcel (not AQA), we were just given a set of documents and tasks to do stuff to them. 'Put this letter in the correct order'. 'Change the font/size to something more appropriate'. 'Make a formula which will do this'. 'Print a report from this database' etc.

I do wonder what grade I should have got. As I did my ICT exam in January, we had the score and grade boundries avaliable before we finished school, so we added the exam score to the coursework score and found out what grades we all got. I was on a C, and needed one mark to get a B, so I stayed behind for about 45 minutes and printed about 10 pages off to get an extra mark to take me up to a B, then when I got my results in August I found out I had got a C!

29th May 2008, 11:56
AFAIK grade boundaries for exam results are not set in stone and are actually percentages of the total grade spread. Therefore the actual marks needed for each grade change depending on the actual scores achieved across the whole of the marked results. So for example if everyone scored 60% or less then the A grade boundary would be adjusted (lowered) to put the correct percentage of students into that grade. Therefore the actual boundaries are student percentages, not actual scores.

In regard to the questions highlighted in the PCPro article, I actually disagree with them on this. The multiple choice question they highlight as have 2 correct answers doesn't. They argue that option 1, The formulae could be wrong, is also a valid answer along with option 3. However if you read the question it asks what the disadvantages of using a software package have over a calculator, pen and paper. Now you have to consider what is unique compared to the manual method. 1 isn't as you would still be using a formula to calculate the answer with a calculator so the answer can only be option 3.

I do however agree with the Testing question's answer as requiring those two words specifically is mad. No two people are likely to word something in the same way and they would still describe what testing is without having to use these two words.

Exam questions have never been well worded. I remember having some real nightmare questions in my exams over the years. A-Level questions were much worse than GCSE though. Some of those were near impossible to work out purely because of how they were worded.

All this just proves what I already knew. GCSEs are a pointless waste of the paper they are printed on. All a GCSE exam is for is to get you into higher education. To prove to the College that you have the academic ability to cope with further education. They have no real worth in the real world.

Any job you end up applying for that has exam grade requirements will at a minimum be looking for A Level grades and more likely a specific degree level (usually 2:1). I've yet to see a reasonably well paid job advertising specifically for certain grades in GCSEs. The only case where GCSE grades are mentioned would be for lower scale jobs where the employer knows that the job wouldn't attract highly intelligent applicants so they might stipulate that the applicant has 5 GCSE passes which must include English and Maths. And this is just to ensure that they are not getting illiterate morons turning up for interview.

Stephen Coates
29th May 2008, 12:12
You are correct abut the pen/paper question. I did see that a moment after reading it, but it could have been better.