How I MESSED UP My A Level Project BUT Still Did Well Overall!!


So a lot of you are GCSE / A Level Computer Science students so I think this post will help you all to do better in your projects. In the past, I've touched briefly about how I made mistakes during my A Level Project and I thought it would be good to reflect on them and to summarise them.

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How The Project Works:

I'm sure most of you know this but most A Level Computer Science courses work on an 80:20 basis (the ratio may vary). Essentially, the majority of the course is assessed by exams (I had 2) and the other is a project which is assessed by coursework.

Original Plan:

So to start with, I was struggling for ideas. I didn't want to do something boring like a 'revision tool' (one of the exemplar projects) but equally; I didn't want to pick something too difficult like a robotics project.

I decided to make a booking system style app using Java which at the time; sounded easy however I've never used Java before and had no idea what I was in for 😂!!

Issues With That Plan:

Like I said, I'd never used Java before 😂 and had severely underestimated the size and difficulty of this project. On top of that, I had planned to add authentication, an SQL database, data analysis/visualisations and payment processing using stripe; which was very ambitious!!

As with any programming project, there were lots of errors.

What I didn't know at the time was that Java was actually outdated for Android Development.

In hindsight, I wish I would've been allowed to use React JS because that would've been much simpler to create a more complete solution.

Looking back, the exam board were quite annoying with restrictions. For example, JavaScript could only be used for projects in games. I wish they were a bit more lenient!!

What I Did to Solve Those Issues:

First of all, I new that I wouldn't of been able to complete all those requirements so I decided to focus on the database and authentication parts of the solution. This meant conveying to my client that I wouldn't be completing all of the criteria.

Next, I needed to ditch SQL and find a NoSQL approach. THANKFULLY! I stumbled across FireBase which made life easier for me.

After a lot of hard work and failed tests (make sure to document them all!!) I completed 'enough' and had a strong writeup (over 100 pages) which helped me to get a good mark in the end.

Final Things:

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