That Blue Square Thing

Syllabus content:
PDF iconUnit 4 languages content - just this section
Note: this syllabus content is a slightly amended version of the one published freely on the web by AQA. I have made very minor adjustments to remove some content less suitable for students to use and it is presented here simply to allow the children I teach to download a usable copy of the syllabus content. It is copyright AQA and reproduced here simply to make access easier for students. No attempt to claim copyright is being made, although I could have copied the text into my own interpretation...

AQA Computer Science GCSE

This page is up to date for the new AQA 8525 syllabus for the 2022 exam.

Computer Systems - Types of Programming Language

There are two basic types of programming language you need to know about:

  1. high-level languages - such as Python or C#
  2. low-level languages - machine code and assembly language

You need to know the differences between each type of language and why each might be used.

PDF iconTypes of programming language - slides from class

PDF iconProgramming languages - textbook double page spread

There is a little more detail in these slides as well:

PDF iconDetail on types of programming language - slides

Assembly language

Assembly language (or assembly code) is a low-level programming language that can be used to program embedded systems directly.

PDF iconHow Assembly Code works - slides from class

You need to make sure that you know why programmers would use assembly code.

This page on BBC Bitesizewiki link might be worth a look to get a better idea about Assembly Language. Note that it's for a different syllabus, but gives a good summary of what it is and why it's used.

A specific example of exactly how assembly code works can be helpful:

PDF iconHow assembly code works - multiplying 6 by 7

PDF iconTrace table to use

Program Translators

All program code has to end up as machine code. This is the 1s and 0s that a CPU actually processes during the Fetch–Decode–Execute cycle.

You also need to know the differences between an assembler, an interpreter and a compiler and the reasons each are used.

PDF iconTranslators - slides from class

PDF iconTranslators detail - textbook double page spread

PDF iconTable to compare translators - to print and complete

Revision

BBC Bitesizewiki link has a handy page on programming languages that is worth a look. The section ends up in different parts of the course (parts that are on Paper 1) but most of it is useful. The first two pages focus on this section of Paper 2.

PDF iconSummary of Low and High Level Languages