AP CS A 2020 Exam Musings

Each year, I try my best to predict the AP questions.

Normally, I get somewhat close.

It is not quite as much fun as in the past as all four questions have been labelled so we know the concepts tested for each of the 4.

Here are my unofficial musings for the 2020 exam.

For this year, we have 2 questions : 1 array / ArrayList question and 1 method / if / loop question

For question 1, we have a couple things to consider.  First, will the question be an array or an ArrayList.  Second, will be the array or ArrayList house types for which we are familiar like integers and / or Strings or some type [ class ] we have never seen before.

Over the years, one dimensional array questions have been nearly non-existent as compared to the number of ArrayList questions.  The HorseBarn question from 2012 was an array of Horse [ Horse[] ].  That was fun.  Part b of that question had a bit of sorting to it.

There have been several List< String > and List< Integer > questions over the years.  Digits from 2017 is a good example.

The AP CS A exam has a long history of List < THING > questions going all of the way back to 2006.  The Cookie Order Question from 2010 [ List< CookieOrder > ] is a great example of a list of some class as is the Climbing Club [ List< ClimbInfo> ] question from 2012.  WordPair from 2018 and Gizmo from the 2020 sample questions are in the same group.

For question 1, I envision a List < THING > question like CookieOrder / Gizmo / WordPair with some type of sort algorithm component.  Order all of the THINGs in some order based on some specific value housed in the THING.

For question 2, we have a couple things to consider.  First, will the methods be part of a class with instance variables and such or will the methods be static utility methods.

Frog simulation from 2018 is a very good example of a class with instance variables where methods are calling other methods with ifs and loops possibly in the mix.

Self Divisor [ focus on % 10 and / 10 ] from 2007 and Calendar from 2019 provide examples of a class with all static methods with one method calling another method.  CheckDigit from the 2020 sample questions is another.

For question 2, I envision a Frog simulation type question with non-static methods doing some type of String manipulation.  String stuff would involve use of substring and indexOf.   2017 Phrase is along the lines of what I am thinking in terms of concepts and layout, but that question is way harder than I would expect to see this year.

DISCLAIMER – I have no earthly idea what will be on the exam, but it is quite fun to look at the old questions and try to guess.  I am operating totally on feel.

Email me or visit my site if you have questions or need any help.

If you need any last minute ap exam prep, I am still providing FREE access to the A+ Practice Site.
I recently loaded in a new set sorting free response review problems. There are also tons of other free response review problems in the site.

Take Care,

Stacey