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Your AP Computer Science A Resource Center

Overview of AP Computer Science A

AP Computer Science A is a college-level course offered by the College Board to high school students who are interested in studying Computer science at an advanced level. It was opted by 96,000 students in 2023 as it is one of the preferred AP courses. The difficulty rating of AP Computer Science A is 4.4 out of 10 by class alumnae on a reddit survey. The course is demanding and assumes that students have a solid foundation in basic programming concepts and a knack for mathematical reasoning.

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Course content

Unit 1: Primitive Types

You’ll learn the fundamentals of Java, a programming language, as well as other foundational concepts for coding.

  • Primitive data types including int, double, and Boolean
  • Evaluating arithmetic expressions in program code
  • Using assignment operators to produce a value
  • How variables and operators are sequenced and combined in an expression to create a result

  • Objects and classes as ways to describe instances, attributes, and behaviors
  • Creating objects by calling constructors with and without parameters
  • Utilizing class libraries, including Integer and Double
  • Defining an object’s behavior using methods, including static and Math class
  • Calling non-static void methods with and without parameters
  • Using String objects and methods
  • Using application program interfaces (APIs) and libraries

  • Finding Boolean values with expressions involving relational operators
  • Using conditional statements to execute different statements based on input values
  • Building on conditional statements to create multiple possible outcomes
  • Creating the same value using equivalent Boolean expressions
  • Referencing objects with aliases

  • Creating a loop to run an expression repeatedly until certain conditions are met
  • Standard arithmetic-based and String algorithms
  • Representing iterative processes in code using for and while loops
  • Nesting loop and iteration statements

  • The makeup of a class, including whether attributes are public or private
  • Setting an object’s attributes using constructors
  • Using comments to describe the functionality of code
  • Defining behaviors of an object using non-void, void, and static methods
  • Where variables can be used in program code
  • Breaking problems into smaller parts by creating methods to solve individual subproblems
  • Intellectual property and ethical concerns in programming

  • Representing multiple related items as array objects
  • Traversing an array by accessing the elements using iteration statements
  • Standard algorithms that utilize array traversals to perform functions

  • Representing collections of related object reference data using ArrayList objects
  • Traversing an ArrayList by accessing the elements using iteration statements
  • Standard algorithms that utilize ArrayList traversals to perform functions
  • Searching and sorting using standard algorithms
  • Ethical issues around data collections

  • Representing collections of data as arrays of arrays, or 2D arrays
  • Traversing a 2D array by accessing the elements using nested iteration statements

  • Using common attributes and behaviors to group existing objects into superclasses
  • Defining and overriding methods within subclasses and superclasses
  • Creating references using inheritance hierarchies
  • Associating subclass objects with superclasses to create polymorphism

  • Executing recursive methods
  • Searching and sorting using binary search and merge sort algorithms

Exam Date

AP Computer Science A Exam

Will be conducted on

Wed, May 8, 2024 | 12 PM Local

AP Computer Science Principles Exam Guide

AP Computer Science is known for its demanding structure. It requires basic programming concepts and mathematical reasoning. In the AP Computer Science exam guide, we provide you with the exam structure, topics, study resources, and student performance in AP Computer Science exams to put together the comprehensive AP Computer Science exam guide.

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AP Computer Science A Course Resources

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AP Computer Science Principles Course

The College Board website offers a variety of extra resources to help AP CSA students succeed on the exam. These resources include the AP CSA Course at a Glance, the AP CSA Course and Exam Description, the AP CSA CED Scoring Guidelines, the AP CSA Lab Requirements, the AP CSA Java Quick Reference, and more. To help students prepare for the AP CSA exam, we have provided a list of extra resources below.

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AP Computer Science A Course at a Glance

Excerpted from the AP Computer Science A Course and Exam Description, the Course at a Glance document outlines the topics and skills covered in the AP Computer Science A course, along with suggestions for sequencing.



AP Computer Science A Course and Exam Description

This is the core document for this course. It clearly lays out the course content and describes the exam and the AP Program in general. The CED was updated in the summer of 2020 to include scoring guidelines for the example questions.



AP Computer Science A CED Scoring Guidelines

This document details how each of the sample free-response questions in the course and exam description (CED) would be scored. This information is now in the online CED but was not included in the binders teachers received in 2019.



The Difference Between AP Computer Science Principles and AP Computer Science A

Learn the similarities and differences between these two courses and exams.



AP Computer Science A Lab Requirements

Learn about the required laboratory component included in AP Computer Science A and download lab student guides.



AP Computer Science A Java Quick Reference

The Java Quick Reference is included in the exam booklet and lists the accessible methods from the Java library that may be included on the exam. This version should be used in conjunction with released free-response questions from 2020 and later.


AP Computer Science A Free Response Questions

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