The Course

AP Computer Science A

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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 and Exam Description

Course Resources

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


 Unit 2: Using Objects


 Unit 3: Boolean Expressions and if Statements


 Unit 4: Iteration


 Unit 5: Writing Classes


 Unit 6: Array


 Unit 7: ArrayList


 Unit 8: 2D Array


 Unit 9: Inheritance


 Unit 10: Recursion


Computational Thinking Practices

The 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.


 2. Code Logic

 Determine the output, value, or result of given program code given initial values.


 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.


 5. Documentation

 Describe the behavior and conditions that produce identified results in a program.


AP and Higher Education

Higher education professionals play a key role in developing AP courses and exams, setting credit and placement policies, and scoring student work. The AP Higher Education section 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 AP Computer Science A Development Committee

The AP Program is unique in its reliance on Development Committees. These committees, made up of an equal number of college faculty and experienced secondary AP teachers from across the country, are essential to the preparation of AP course curricula and exams.