2021 Exam Information
AP Exams will cover the full content in each course, giving students the opportunity to receive college credit and placement.
Given the uncertainties of the 2020-21 school year, some students may feel unsure about taking AP Exams in May. So that students feel comfortable registering by the fall deadline, this year there will be no fees whatsoever if a student decides not to test or to cancel their exams. Every AP student should keep their options open by registering for the exam on time because there will still be a $40 fee for late orders.
AP Questions and Feedback Throughout the Year
AP practice exams and past exam questions are available in the AP Classroom question bank. Personal progress checks are also available to ensure your students build mastery of content and skills. The progress dashboard highlights progress for every student and class across units.
Exam questions assess the course concepts and skills outlined in the course framework. For more information on exam weighting, download the AP Computer Science A Course and Exam Description (CED). Scoring guidelines for each of the sample free-response questions in the CED are also available. The updated Java Quick Reference (.pdf/358KB) for the 2020 exam lists the accessible methods from the Java library that may be included on the exam. The Java Quick Reference is included in the exam booklet.
Encourage your students to visit the AP Computer Science A student page for exam information and exam practice.
- THUR, May 6, 2021, NOON LOCAL
AP Computer Science A Exam Day
The AP Computer Science A Exam has consistent question types, weighting, and scoring guidelines every year, so you and your students know what to expect on exam day. The overall format of the exam—including the weighting, timing, and number of questions in each exam section—won’t change.
Section 1: Multiple Choice
40 Questions | 1 Hour 30 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score
The multiple-choice section includes mostly individual questions, with 1–2 sets of questions (typically 2–3 questions per set).
- Computational Thinking Practices 1, 2, 4, and 5 are all assessed in the multiple-choice section.
Section 2: Free Response
4 Questions | 1 Hour 30 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score
- All free-response questions assess Computational Thinking Practice 3: Code Implementation, with the following focuses:
- Question 1: Methods and Control Structures—Students will be asked to write program code to create objects of a class and call methods, and satisfy method specifications using expressions, conditional statements, and iterative statements.
- Question 2: Classes—Students will be asked to write program code to define a new type by creating a class and satisfy method specifications using expressions, conditional statements, and iterative statements.
- Question 3: Array/ArrayList - Students will be asked to write program code to satisfy method specifications using expressions, conditional statements, and iterative statements and create, traverse, and manipulate elements in 1D array or ArrayList objects.
- Question 4: 2D Array—Students will be asked to write program code to satisfy method specifications using expressions, conditional statements, and iterative statements and create, traverse, and manipulate elements in 2D array objects.
Exam Questions and Scoring Information
2020 Free-Response Questions
Sign in to AP Classroom to access resources including the 2020 free-response questions, personal progress checks, the question bank, and practice exams aligned to the current course.
If your students answered free-response questions on the AP Exam in 2020, you can access their responses in the Student Response Portal. Learn more about how to access 2020 FRQs and students’ exam responses.
To preserve the large number of new FRQs for teacher use, only teachers have access to the 2020 FRQs. If you are a higher education faculty member interested in seeing questions, please fill out this request form.
2019 Free-Response Questions
For free-response questions (FRQs) from the 2019 exam, along with scoring information, check out the table below.
Be sure to review the Chief Reader Report. In this invaluable resource, the chief reader of the AP Exam compiles feedback from members of the AP Reading leadership to explain how students performed on the FRQs, summarize typical student errors, and address specific concepts and content with which students have struggled the most that year.
Past Exam Questions and Scoring Information
For free-response questions and scoring information from the 2018 and earlier exams, visit Past Exam Questions.