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AP4All Course: AP Computer Science A

AP Computer Science A is equivalent to a first-semester, college-level course in computer science. The course introduces students to computer science with fundamental topics that include problem solving, design strategies and methodologies, organization of data (data structures), approaches to processing data (algorithms), analysis of potential solutions, and the ethical and social implications of computing. The course emphasizes both object-oriented and imperative problem solving and design using Java language. These techniques represent proven approaches for developing solutions that can scale up from small, simple problems to large, complex problems. The AP Computer Science A course curriculum is compatible with many CS1 courses in colleges and universities.

Lab Requirements: The AP Computer Science A course must include a minimum of 20 hours of hands-on structured lab experiences to engage students in individual or group problem solving. Thus, each AP Computer Science A course includes a substantial laboratory component in which students design solutions to problems, express their solutions precisely (e.g., in the Java programming language), test their solutions, identify and correct errors (when mistakes occur), and compare possible solutions.

Computer Language: The AP Computer Science A course requires that solutions of problems be written in the Java programming language. Because the Java programming language is extensive with far more features than could be covered in a single introductory course, the AP Computer Science A Exam covers a subset of Java

Recommended Prerequisites: The assumed prerequisites for entering the AP Computer Science A course include knowledge of basic English and algebra. A student in the AP Computer Science A course should be comfortable with functions and the concepts found in the uses of function notation, such as f (x) - x + 2 and f (x) = g(h(x)). It is important that students and their advisers understand that any significant computer science course builds upon a foundation of mathematical reasoning that should be acquired before attempting such a course. More information can be found on the AP Computer Science A Course Overview website.

AP Computer Science A and AP Computer Science Principles are two different courses. Students have the option of taking either course or both.

  Computer Science A Computer Science Principles
What it’s about The fundamentals of programming and problem solving using the Java language. The fundamentals of computing, including problem solving, working with data, understanding the internet, cybersecurity, and programming.
Goals Developing skills for future study or a career in computer sciences or other STEM fields. Broadening your understanding of computer science for use in a diversity of majors and careers.
The Exam
  • One end-of-year exam: multiple choice and free response.
  • Two projects during the course.
  • One end-of-the year exam: multiple choice.

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