Digits free response answer 11

Digits free response problem from the 2017 AP Computer Science A Exam.

Digits is #1 from the from the 2017 AP Computer Science A Free Response problems.


Part (a) – Digits constructor

Adding to the beginning of an ArrayList isn’t my favorite approach, since all of the elements have to shift. Given the simplicity though, I think it’s a reasonable tradeoff.

This is both my time constrained and considered approach.

public Digits(int num)
  digitList = new ArrayList<Integer>();
  digitList.add(0, new Integer(num % 10));

  int numRemaining = num / 10;
  while(numRemaining > 0)
    digitList.add(0, new Integer(numRemaining % 10));
    numRemaining /= 10;

Part (b) – isStrictlyIncreasing method

The use of compareTo here is optional. Java will automatically unbox the Integer objects into primitive types if >= is used.

This is both my time constrained and considered solution.

public boolean isStrictlyIncreasing()
  for(int i = 1; i < digitList.size(); i++)
    if(digitList.get(i - 1).compareTo(digitList.get(i)) >= 0)
      return false;

  return true;

2017 AP CS Exam Free Response Solutions

Please note: The College Board has not yet released scoring guidelines for the 2017 AP CS A FR (as of this writing). Questions of the form, “How many points would I lose for ___?” can’t be answered.

11 thoughts on “Digits free response answer

  1. Reply Ryan May 4,2017 9:46 pm

    In Part a, you need to test for when num == 0 and then do digitList.add(0).

    • Reply Brandon Horn May 4,2017 9:54 pm

      The line digitList.add(0, new Integer(num % 10)); handles 0 without the need to explicitly check for it. If num is 0 then num % 10 is 0.

  2. Reply Maddie May 4,2017 11:29 pm

    Do you need “new Integer” ? I thought auto boxing already did this, so on mine I just used ints.

  3. Reply Mark Moylan May 5,2017 6:47 am

    This is another approach, but it does step outside the AP subset, because it doesn’t cover the Integer constructor that takes a string, and has the same behavior as parse int.

    public Digits(int num){
      digitList = new ArrayList<Integer>();  
      String snum = "" + num;
      for(i = 0; i < snum.length(); i++){ 
        digitList.add(new Integer(snum.substring(i,i+1))); 
  4. Reply Noah May 5,2017 9:24 am

    It doesn’t look like your code in part a checks for when a number ends in 0. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    • Reply Brandon Horn May 5,2017 9:48 am

      While it is necessary to handle numbers that end in 0 it isn’t necessary to check for them explicitly. My code in part (a) handles numbers that end in 0 on the 2nd line.

  5. Reply David May 5,2017 11:43 am

    I didn’t use .compareTo(), but just used a >= symbol. Will this lose me points? Isn’t it still valid code because the Integer objects get unboxed into primitive ints?

    • Reply Brandon Horn May 6,2017 10:22 am


      Interestingly, the same would not be true of using == instead of the equals method in a similar circumstance.

  6. Reply Reed May 12,2017 1:35 pm

    In part b, if isStrictlyIncreasing() were called upon a number with only one digit (7, for example), wouldn’t there be an indexOutOfBoundsException when you look at index 1 in digitList (since there is only one number at index 0)?

    • Reply Brandon Horn May 13,2017 9:55 am

      The loop condition is i < digitList.size(). The loop would never run for a number with only one digit.

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