How much can you make if you know a certain programming language?

Here is cool article on what it pays if you know how to program in a particular language.

It seems students always want to know which languages they need to learn and why.
This will definitely provide some of that information.


2016 AP Computer Science A Free Response Solutions

Well, I was tardy in getting my predictions up on the blog.  Too many irons in the fire.

Here is a quick summary of my predictions.
1 – Class Creation with Inheritance  [ I was close, but I figured Abstract class ]
2 – ArrayList of Some Class [ This one is easy as its on the exam every year ]
Just happened there were several parts this year with ArrayList of Some Class.
By Some Class, I mean Some Class that is new to the testers like CookieOrder or ClimbInfo.
3 –  Matrix of Some Class [  2014 had the Matrix of Student  –   Crossword was fun this year ]
4 –  I said String or 1D Array [  Good lord I had no idea there would be 3  YES 3 String Questions ]

I was pretty close on several of my predictions.
I was not even close on the number of STRING questions.
Do not get me wrong – I love me some STRINGS, but good lord – Really?  3 Questions with Strings?  Enough about that.

Check out my A+ curriculum materials if you need awesome support for any of the concepts tested on the multiple choice or Free Response.

I have posted slides with my solutions and a java student project that has shells and no solutions.  This project will allow students to punch in their code and see if works.

There are review slides for the AP Computer Science A exam for years 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.  There are student java projects in place now for many of the AP Computer Science Free Response sections.

Have a great summer and check out my workshop offerings if you are free this summer.

I also do local workshops for schools and school districts.  If you need specialized local training, email me and we can discuss specifics.

Computer Science Contest Materials

Looking for the BEST Computer Science Contest Prep Materials?
Looking for Computer Science practice problems with solutions?
Looking for Computer Science practice multiple choice questions with explanations?
Looking for live practice programming problems with tutorials that are auto-graded?
Looking for materials to host a Computer Science programming contest?

A+ Computer Science has the BEST Prep Materials for Computer Science Contests.
Get the 2016-2017 Order Form


High School Programming Contests Rock!

What are high school programming contests?

High School programming contests are team events where students from different schools attempt to solve as many problems as possible in a 2-4 hour time frame.  Most teams consist of 3 members and are allowed to use 1 computer.

Why should I take teams to programming contests?

Well, it is a great way to get more students interested in computer science.  It is great team building and it is a ton of fun.  If you have teams that win, that is even better.  Winning a contest or two can really pump up your stats on that college application.

Which contests are out there that my students can attend?

HP CodeWars is fun and growing every year with new sites popping up all over.
Lockheed Martin Code Quest is another contest with sites all across the planet.
Check out my contest page with links to many contests in Texas and beyond.

Can I get materials to help my teams prepare or to host a contest at my school?

Sure.   Check out my contest materials page for information on materials to prep for contests, live online programming problems, and contest hosting materials.  Hosting a local contest in your area is really fun and a great experience for students.  It is also a great way to promote Computer Science and get more schools involved.

If I have to give up lots of my time to get students ready to compete and to take them to contests, is it worth it?

It is very well worth it.  Contests are great opportunities for students to learn more about team work and problems solving.  Students learn many cool algorithms preparing for contests that often show up in technical interviews.  Several of my former students that have interviewed with big software companies were asked to explain how to solve problems in technical interviews that we worked on preparing for programming contests.  I have been fortunate to have coached several state championships in my 15+ year of coaching Computer Science teams.  Those experiences are well worth the time spent making that happen.

2016 AP CS 2 day workshop

Judy Hromcik and I will be conducting an AP Computer Science 2 day workshop on January 22-23 in Richardson, Texas.

We will cover the new AP CS A Labs, changes to the AP CS A exam, Tips to get all students to make a 5, and lots of general information about AP Computer Science A and a bit about AP CS Principles.

We will cover lots of cool AP Computer Science topics.
Download the agenda.

You can find registration information here.

Email me at if you have questions.

Hope to see you there.


Looking for Awesome AP Summer Institutes for Computer Science?
Check out my workshops page.


2015 AP Computer Science A Scores Posted

2015 AP Computer Science A scores are now posted.
Login at College Board website to get your scores.

 “Can’t wait to see the new A+ Computer Science Materials! Your materials work – happy again with the recent AP scores!”    DK from Ohio

The new A+ 2015-2016 curriculum materials are ready for download.   New samples are also posted.  Login and download when ready.

Email me at if you want a login so you can check out A+ Computer Science Curriculum Materials.

AP Computer Science A exam numbers are growing big time!

The number of exams taken for AP Computer Science A has grown from roughly 20,000 just 5 years ago to almost 50,000 in 2015. That is incredible growth!  Teachers across the country are delivering great content in an interesting and relevant way. Keep rolling AP Computer Science A!

Looking for relevant Computer Science curriculum with real world projects?  Check out the A+ Computer Science materials.

Email me at if you want to check out A+ Computer Science Curriculum Materials.

2015 AP Computer Science Free Response Question Solutions

Well, my predictions for the 2015 AP CS A Free Response were close this year as usual.

There was a matrix question again this year.  It was pretty simple and was not a matrix of references this year.  This question had part a, b, and c with b and calling a and c calling b.

There were 2 class creation questions  again this year.   I guess you can say that is a trend.
One was a string question just involving simple class creation.  The other was writing and implementing an interface.

There was an ArrayList of classes again.  The sparse array was a cool way of creating a matrix.  It seemed much like an old AB question as we used maps to to make grids back in the day.

Check out my A+ curriculum materials if you need awesome support for lists, arrays, matrices, interfaces, and all of the rest.

I have posted slides with my solutions and a java student project that has shells and no solutions.  This project will allow students to punch in their code and see if works.

There are review slides for the AP Computer Science A exam for years 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015.  There are student java projects in place now for many of the AP Computer Science Free Response sections.

Have a great summer and check out my workshop offerings if you are free this summer.  My workshop is full in Houston with a ton on the waiting list, but you never know if some spots may open up.

I also do local workshops for schools and school districts.  If you need specialized local training, email me and we can discuss specifics.  My system works great and gets students ready to ROCK the ap exam!

Good luck to all on the 2015 AP Computer Science A Exam!

Good luck to all on the AP CS A Exam and on the alternate exam in a few weeks!

I will run my last review at 6am Texas time this Thursday the 7th.  My 6 am review is a tradition I started a few hundred years ago.  My students look forward to it every year.  Well, they look forward to the donuts more than anything.

What will I review at 6am you say?  Here are my predictions this year’s 4 Free Response Questions.  Obviously, I have no idea what the questions will be, but I am pretty good at predicting as I do spend considerable time looking at the past questions trying to find trends.

1.  ArrayList of Classes / References –  You gots to know how to write code to manipulate an ArrayList<NeverSeenThisClassBefore> as it is on the exam every single year going all of the way back to 2006.  This question type involves lots of drilling down to get to the various pieces.  You must be comfortable with abstraction to handle this type of question.  2010 had the CookieOrder question and 2012 had ClimbInfo if you need a few somewhat recent examples.

2.  Make a Class from scratch – Every student should know how to make a class, implement an interface, and extend an abstract class.  Last year’s Trio question marked the return of the interface FR which means an abstract class Free Response can’t be too far behind.   Be prepared to override some methods and make something new from something old.  You know you will have to create a complete class or create something really similar and it will be super!   Look at the 2005, 2006, and 2007 AP FR questions if you want some past FR examples.

3.  Processing an Array –  I reviewed the Horse[] question last year at 6am and it turned out that there wasn’t a standard array question on the test, but the Matrix question from 2014 was basically the HorseBarn in matrix form.  I was sooooooooo close.  I think there will be an array question in 2015, but it most likely will not be an array of references.  I am thinking the array question will just involve some algorithmic stuff with numbers like finding smallest, largest, difference between smallest and largest, etc.  We shall see.

4.  Matrices – I told my troops in 2013 and 2014 to be ready for a matrix of classes as I thought that would be a really cool question.  I was wrong in 2013, but in 2014 I was spot on as the there was a Student[ ][ ] question on the exam.  Finally!  There will certainly be a matrix question again this year and with PictureLab being one of the new AP CS A Labs, I am thinking a matrix of references is again a distinct possibility.

I will post follow-up comments after I see the 2015 Free Response questions.  Hopefully, my predictions will be right on this year.  I have been pretty close in the past, but this year is a new year.

If you want to see what I review with my students for the AP Computer Science A Exam,  I have quite a few of my  AP Exam review slides   posted with Java code projects ready for students to complete.  The Java code projects have runner files and everything students need to test their hand-written free response code.  Feel free to use them to help your students.  My students turn the old free response questions in working programs as part of their review.

Do you need great AP Computer Science Curriculum that covers all of the topics I have listed above?  Do you need labs, slides, tests, quizzes, and worksheets that cover arrays, arrays of references, ArrayList, ArrayList of References, Matrices, Matrices of References, Interfaces, and Abstract Classes? Take a look at the A+ Computer Science Curriculum.

The A+ Computer Science Curriculum was designed to provide students with multiple opportunities to master the core concepts covered on the AP Computer Science A Exam.

If you like my humor and want to spend a few days hearing more about how I prep students to ROCK the AP exam, check out my workshops going on over the summer or email me about setting up a custom training at your school or for several schools.  I will show you how to get any student ready to make a 5!  My system works like a champ and it is super simple to follow!

First Bytes – The University of Texas at Austin

If you are looking for some great professional development this summer for Computer Science, check out First Bytes at UT Austin.  You will enjoy the workshop.

The First Bytes outreach program at The University of Texas at Austin (UT-Austin) announces our 10th annual First Bytes Collaborative Workshop for Computer Science Teachers, June 24-26, 2015 at the UT-Austin campus.  The goals of the workshop include:

  1. Improve Computer Science education in Texas,
  2. Learn about new technologies in Computer Science,
  3. Exchange effective teaching methods and best practices among colleagues,
  4. Build relationships between Computer Science high school teachers and UT-Austin faculty.

The First Bytes Teacher’s Workshop is an opportunity to meet with peers from across the state to explore the challenges and opportunities for Computer Science education in Texas high schools and to invent ways to improve collaboration that will impact student learning and achievement.  Participants will earn AP CS Continuing Education credit for full participation.

Private dormitory room accommodations for up to 3 nights (June 23-25) on the UT-Austin campus, including breakfast and lunch, will be provided for free.

We appreciate all you do to teach Computer Science in your schools and to recommend your excellent students to attend our UIL competitions, our First Bytes Computer Science Summer Camp, and our Turing Scholars Program!

If you are interested in attending, please reply to this email by Friday, May 1.  Our funding allows us to bring 40 teachers to our campus in 2015.  We will open the registration process on Tuesday, May 5.

Mary Esther Middleton can be reached via email at if you have any questions.