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FAQs for IGCSE Computer Science (0478 & 0984)


Is there a set answer/method for the Computer Science pre-release tasks?

The pre-release tasks are open ended to allow more-able students to expand their program or programs. They can also be interpreted in different ways, as there is no one single solution to the tasks. The purpose of the tasks is to allow students to develop their problem solving and programming skills, to create a suitable solution(s) to the tasks. As you will see in the Mark Schemes of previous papers, the answers shown are only one example of a suitable solution. Please be aware that the pre-release tasks are live examination material so we are not in a position to answer specific queries relating to them.

What are the software requirements for IGCSE Computer Science?

In respect of programming software, we do not stipulate any specific IDE/source code editors that candidates must use. Candidates are free to choose any industry standard and widely used and popular IDE/source code editor to write their program code for one of the permitted three programming languages: Python, Java, and Visual Basic (.net).

When will the pre-release material for IGCSE Computer Science be available and how do I access it?

From 2023 onward pre-release materials are no longer required for IGCSE Computer Science (0478) and IGCSE 9-1 Computer Science (0984).

This is outlined in the ‘Changes to this syllabus for 2023, 2024 and 2025’ section at the back of the 2023 – 2025 syllabus document for each subject.

For more information and materials on these syllabuses, please visit our School Support Hub: 

What high-level procedural language should candidates use?

Centres are free to use any high-level procedural language of their choice, the ones mentioned in the syllabuses are just the most popular choices. The choice is normally down to the experience of the candidate or teacher’s experience in teaching the language to candidates. The pre-release can be undertaken in any high-level procedural programming language, again the choice is down to the centre/candidate. We would recommend that candidates learn a full high-level procedural language such as Python or Visual Basic, so that they have good foundations for their future coding and are able to understand programming code questions within Paper 2.

For this syllabus (last examination in 2022) how many bytes are there in a kilobyte?

Candidates should be taught to use the division/multiplier of 1024 for the IGCSE Computer Science syllabuses. However, in the examination, where candidates do not have access to a calculator, candidates are permitted to use division/multiplication by 1000 in their examination calculations. 

For the new syllabus (first examined in 2023) when candidates are asked to perform calculations or conversions as part of their answer?

Candidates should be taught to use the division/multiplier of 1000 and 1024 at the appropriate time for the IGCSE Computer Science syllabuses.
Candidates will be told which suffix to use, for example an answer must be in KB or KiB. If they are told KiB then they will need to use 1024. If they are told KB then they will need to use 1000.

Input and output devices - for the new syllabus first examined in 2023, are candidates still expected to know how each device physically functions as it is with the current syllabus last examined in 2022?
For the current syllabus last examined in 2022, candidates need to know how each device operates. For example, how does an input device scan a barcode and convert it to digital?
However, for the new syllabus first examined in 2023, candidates only need to understand what each device does, why it does it, and when it might need to be used, but not how it physically functions.

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