Links to resources on collegeboard.org:
- Course Description
- Exam Quick Reference
- GridWorld Case Study Student Manual
- Support materials for the GridWorld Case Study
Software and References for AP Computer Science
Eclipse Standard and the latest version of the Java Development Kit (JDK not JRE) are recommended
AP Computer Science Free Response Questions
Each of the 4 free response questions on the AP Comp Sci Exam is worth the same number of points, regardless of difficulty. The free response section is worth half of the total points on the exam. At least 1 question references arrays and ArrayLists and often many do. Other topics vary based on the content of the multiple choice section. Writing a class in response to a requirement description is often tested as is inheritance.
The AP Computer Science Exam is administered on paper. You will not be able to use Eclipse, BlueJ, or any other IDE. You should complete practice free response problems in a text editor rather than in your IDE. You should also practice a few problems entirely on paper, though it is not necessary to complete every problem on paper.
The Quick Reference
You will be given a printed copy of the Quick Reference on the exam. Before you attempt any free response practice problems, download a copy of the Quick Reference from the Resources section. Print it and become familiar with it before the Exam.
Appendix A contains documentation for Java Library classes with which you are required to be familiar. The rest of the Appendices contain documentation for GridWorld, the AP Computer Science Case Study. (Note: GridWorld will not be tested on the 2015 and subsequent AP CS Exams.)
You may assume that all classes from the Quick Reference been imported. You do not need to write import statements.
You may assume that preconditions for methods are met and that parameters are not null unless otherwise specified.
You must use accessible methods of the classes in the problem where appropriate. You will generally not receive full credit if you write code that could be replaced by a call to an accessible method. This is true even if you were asked to write the method in a previous part and you know you wrote it incorrectly.
You may see the statement, “Assume that method blah works regardless of what you wrote in part (a).” That statement is a strong hint that you need to call method blah. You don’t need to worry about whether you wrote method blah correctly. Just pretend it works as intended, not as you wrote it.
You will have have 1 hour and 45 minutes to complete the 4 free response questions on each exam. The free response section is administered after the multiple choice section and the timing does not overlap.
Well prepared students are unlikely to be constrained by the time limit. Skimming the problems, rather than carefully reading each part, is the most common mistake my students make.
The problems almost never specify extraneous information. Take the time to read each part of the problem, each class, and each example thoroughly. Sketch out your approach before you start writting code.
You should know exactly how you’re going to approach the problem before you write any code. Writing the code itself is the quickest part of solving the problem. Understanding the problem and developing an approach take far longer. If you are uncomfortable with this, practice with problems from previous exams and with the problems on this site.