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Important Updates

AP Computer Science A Updates and New Resources for 2019-20

To help more students prepare for—and succeed on—the AP Computer Science A Exam, we’ve clarified the course’s focus starting with the 2019-20 school year and are introducing new resources for your classroom. We’ve also moved exam registration to the fall, a best practice that improves students’ chances of earning college credit and placement.

Download the new course and exam decription

New AP Resources

This August, we’re introducing AP Classroom, with a suite of new resources designed in collaboration with AP educators that will help give students personalized feedback throughout the year. These include in-depth unit guides, personal progress checks and a dashboard to measure student progress, and a question bank of real AP questions.

Learn more about AP Classroom

Course Overview

AP Computer Science A is an introductory college-level computer science course. Students cultivate their understanding of coding through analyzing, writing, and testing code as they explore concepts like modularity, variables, and control structures.

Your new course and exam description (CED) for the 2019-20 school year more clearly outlines all required course content and skills and defines how they will be assessed on the exam.

Course Content

Based on the Understanding by Design® (Wiggins and McTighe) model, this course framework provides a description of the course requirements necessary for student success, with a focus on big ideas that encompass core principles, theories, and processes of the discipline. The framework also encourages instruction that prepares students for advanced computer science coursework and its integration into a wide array of STEM-related fields.

The AP Computer Science A framework is organized into 10 commonly taught units of study that provide one possible sequence for the course. As always, you have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like.

 Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)
 Unit 1: Primitive Types  2.5%-5%
 Unit 2: Using Objects  5%-7.5%
 Unit 3: Boolean Expressions and 'if' Statements  15%-17.5%
 Unit 4: Iteration  17.5%-22.5%
 Unit 5: Writing Classes  5%-7.5%
 Unit 6: Array  10%-15%
 Unit 7: ArrayList  2.5%-7.5%
 Unit 8: 2D Array  7.5%-10%
 Unit 9: Inheritance  5%-10%
 Unit 10: Recursion  5%-7.5%


Computational Thinking Practices

The new AP Computer Science A framework included in the course and exam description outlines distinct skills, called computational thinking practices, that students should practice throughout the year—skills that will help them learn to think and act like computer scientists.

 Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)
 1. Program Design and Algorithm Development  Determine required code segments to produce a given output.  30%–35%
 2. Code Logic  Determine the output, value, or result of given program code given initial values.  40%–45%
 3. Code Implementation  Write and implement program code.  Not assessed in the multiple-choice section
 4. Code Testing  Analyze program code for correctness, equivalence, and errors.  12%–18%
 5. Documentation  Describe the behavior and conditions that produce identified results in a program.  12%–18%

Important Updates

Higher education professionals play a key role developing AP courses and exams, setting credit and placement policies, and scoring student work. The AP Higher Education site features information on recruitment and admission, advising and placement, and more.

This chart shows recommended scores for granting credit, and how much credit should be awarded, for each AP course. Your students can look up credit and placement policies for colleges and universities on the AP Credit Policy Search.

Meet the current Development Committee for AP Computer Science A.