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Important Updates

New AP Course Pacing Guide
This pacing guide (.pdf/199.97 KB), designed for classrooms that have only completed approximately 25% of typical course content by January, can help students develop their knowledge and skills by May. If your students are ahead of this pace, you’ll be able to incorporate additional days or weeks to spend more time on challenging topics, practice course skills, or begin reviewing for the exam.

AP Daily and AP Classroom
Short, searchable AP Daily videos can be assigned alongside topic questions to help you cover all course content, skills, and task models, and check student understanding. Unlock personal progress checks so students can demonstrate their knowledge and skills unit by unit and use the progress dashboard to highlight progress and additional areas for support. As the exam approaches, assign AP practice exams in the AP Classroom question bank and encourage students to take advantage of live online review sessions April 19–30.

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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

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 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.