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Important Updates

Support for Students and Schools Impacted by Coronavirus
In response to school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re providing free, live AP online classes and review lessons. We’ll also offer at-home testing for 2020 AP Exams. Note that any related adjustments to 2020 AP Exams, such as length or content covered, may not be reflected on all AP Central pages. Visit Taking the Exams for the latest exam information.

College Board–Endorsed Curricula Available
AP Computer Science A teachers can now adopt innovative curricula delivered by educational organizations. All these curricula are endorsed by College Board, are aligned to the updated course and exam description, and come with syllabi, lesson plans, and other instructional supports for teachers. Teachers who adopt one of these curricula can still use all the instructional resources that are accessible on AP Classroom.

Explore endorsed providers

Updated Java Quick Reference
The AP Computer Science A Java Quick Reference has been corrected to match the version that appears both in the course and exam description (CED) and on the AP Exam. We encourage teachers to make sure that they have the updated version.

AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award: 2019 Winners Announced
See the full list of 2019 winners of this College Board award, which recognizes schools that have expanded young women’s access to AP computer science courses. Out of the 20,000 institutions that offer AP courses, 818 achieved this important result.

Learn more about the award

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 description (CED) and the errata sheet.

New AP Resources
AP Classroom is now available. Designed with AP educators, it helps you provide students daily practice and personalized feedback throughout the year. Sign in to access AP unit guides with aligned resources, topic questions, personal progress checks, the progress dashboard, and your question bank.

Sign In to 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.

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.

 Unit
 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.

 Skill
 Description
 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 Development Committee for AP Computer Science A.