Computer science – 1970s-style

Wednesday 6 Apr 2016

The discovery of AQA's Computer Science A-level specification and exam papers from the days before most people had computers has made national news.

Our Computer Science team discovered the documents from 1971 – the syllabus, exam paper 1 and exam paper 2 – while they were looking through our archives.

Back in the early 70s, computers were rare and expensive, costing thousands of pounds. Most schools wouldn't have had their own, so teachers had to send us proof that they had access to a computer before they were allowed to enter students for exams.

Some of the questions on the exam paper remind us how much technology has changed in the past 45 years.

One question asks students to write an essay about the possible use of computers in various industries, including banking. Another asks students to design a program to calculate the number of passengers passing through a railway station. It's hard to imagine not using computers today to either manage our bank accounts or book travel online.

Read the BBC News story about our discovery, which features an interview with our Head of Computer Science, Steven Kenny.

And have a look at our new AS and A-level specifications to see just how much things have changed.