Computer Science LearnITWithMrC ⛯ Year 7 Year 8 Year 9 GCSE
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Lesson Tasks

  • Watch the Lesson video
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  • Read the lesson notes
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  • Complete the learning activities
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  • Check the Learning outcomes
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What do I need to Learn?

I need to learn how to explain what a high level of programming languages is.
I need to learn how to explain what a low level of programming languages is.
I need to learn how to explain the main differences between low-level and high-level languages.
I need to learn how to understand that machine code and assembly language are considered to be low-level languages.

Key Terms

high-level languages low-level language machine code assembly language compiled translated instruction set embedded systems library/module

High and low level languages - Learning Activities

High Level Languages

High level languages are written so that they are as close to our human language as they can be, allowing the programmer to focus on the problem to be solved.

You do not need any real understanding of the hardware to use a high level language as they are not tied to a particular computer or CPU

High level languages have to be converted to the language the computer understands, machine code, before they can be run. This process is either interpreting or compiling, depending on the high level language used

Examples include: Javascript, Python, Visual Basic, C++, Java.


  • Easier to modify as it uses English like statements
  • Easier/faster to write code as it uses English like statements
  • Easier to debug during development due to English like statements
  • Portable code – not designed to run on just one type of machine

Low Level Languages

Low level languages are used to write programs that relate to the specific architecture and hardware of a particular type of computer.

They are closer to the native language of a computer (binary), making them harder for programmers to understand.

Examples of low level language:

  • Assembly Language
  • Machine Code

Assembly Language

Not many programs are written using assembly language, it does tend to be used when dealing with hardware items like when creating device drivers or on embedded systems.

It is easy to distinguish it from a high level language as it contains short mnemonic code words rather than standard english words.


  • Can make use of special hardware or special machine-dependent instructions
  • Translated program requires less memory
  • Write code that can be executed faster
  • Can work directly on memory locations

Machine Code

Programmers rarely if ever use machine code (binary) as it is very difficult to understand.

Coding activity

Task: Little man Computer Challenge

Complete Little Man Computer task 'Mini Challenges' by clicking on the image below

Learning Outcomes

  • I can explain the types of errors and how they are caused.
  • I can create a Test Table to catch errors in my code.
  • I can create a Test Table which covers all possible
    test cases including valid, invalid and extereme.