4 Ways to Prepare for the AP Computer Science A Exam

Posted on May 30, 2021

The AP Computer Science A is a course and exam offered to high schoolers as an option to earn an equivalent of a Computer Science college semester. It essentially covers the basics of object-driven programming paradigm based on the Java programming language, such as problem detection and solution, creating algorithms, and programming concepts. It also introduces data ideas and abstraction procedures.

If you want to jumpstart your college degree in Computer Science, this article will give a few pointers on how to best prepare for the exam.

Training Program for AP Computer Science A Exam #

The training program for the AP Computer Science A exam should be simple, straightforward, and tackle such areas of computer programming as:

  • Computing: at the very basic level, you need to establish connections between concepts in computing
  • Abstractions: learn how to apply abstractions, one of the key concepts in object-oriented programming, in modeling and computation
  • Communication: understand how to communicate ideas on technology and computation Skills application: design a program that solves a real-life problem or performs a task
  • Analysis: learn to analyze computational work; it’s essential for picking up on someone else's code or mistakes in your own
  • Collaboration: learn how to work in a team; it’s a must for any programmer but also helps to study and become a professional

You get more information from the article, "Where to Learn and How to Pass the AP Computer Science A Exam"

How to Prepare for the AP Computer Science A Practice Test? #

According to the official data from the College Board, about 70% of students achieved a passing score back in 2020. That’s a good percentage meaning that it’s relatively easy to achieve a passing grade. It all depends on how much you want to get it and how much effort you’re willing to put into the preparation.

Here are a few ideas on how to prepare for the AP Computer Science A exam.

1. Learn the course framework and the exam structure #

You can check out the College Board’s web page to learn about the course and exam structure, framework, and guidelines. It also notes the percentage of the grade you can get for each exam unit.

In brief, the AP Computer Science A exam duration is three hours; it has two sections both taking half of the time frame and being equally judged for the exam results scoring:

  • Free-response. Here you’ll have just four questions but they need broad answers.
  • Multiple choice. Here you need to pick the right answer in forty questions.

Note that there’s another one-semester equivalent course and exam – AP Computer Science Principles. This exam has two parts:

  • Multiple choice. Here you have two hours to answer 70 questions.
  • Performance task. Here you get at least 12 hours to create a program and give a written and video response.

2. Get familiar with the topics included in both AP Computer Science Exams #

The training program for the AP Computer Science A Exam is quite simple in that it covers the basic skills in programming since the course itself requires only prior knowledge of English and algebra. First of all, you can cover the primary levels of the course which are:

For the A exam:

  • Writing Classes
  • Types and Objects
  • Arrays
  • Boolean Expressions
  • Recursion
  • Inheritance

For the Principles exam:

  • Algorithms in Programming
  • Data
  • Creative Development
  • Computing Systems and Networks
  • Impact of Computing

3. Make the preparation process more fun with CodeGym #

Since AP Computer Science includes Java programming, CodeGym is a good option to fit into your preparation routine. The platform offers 1200+ tasks to help you learn object-oriented programming concepts and practice the Java language.

CodeGym can make your training fun and entertaining because of the gamified environment of learning and a lot of practical tasks. In fact, 80% of the Java course is practice-based.

At the primary level, the course covers the following topics:

  • Boolean expressions, if statements, and iteration
  • Primitive data types and using objects
  • Introduction to objects: writing objects, their lifetime, etc
  • Writing classes and using constructor
  • Basics of OOP
  • Arrays and ArrayList

4. Watch AP Computer Science videos on YouTube #

You can seek help on YouTube by watching AP Computer Science tutorial videos. A lot of software engineers and educators have their own channels and gladly share their knowledge.

A few good examples are:

Conclusion #

Training for the AP Computer Science Exams can be easier if you have a solid plan – a training program. To build this plan, first learn the knowledge and skills the exams require, i.e. what units the exam consists of and the exam structure.

Then, study the required material and look up some videos on YouTube to learn about the real-world experience and programming skills.

You can also boost your training sessions with a practical course that offers hands-on experience with coding.