Tag Archives: ap computer science

Good luck on the 2017 AP Computer Science Exams!

Good luck to all on the 2017 AP Computer Science exams!

Here are my predictions for this year’s 4 AP CS A Free Response Questions.  DISCLAIMER :: I have no idea what the questions will be, but I have fun each year trying to guess the topics before the exam.   I have gotten pretty good at predicting the free response topics as I do spend considerable time working with the released free response questions.

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.  Sparse Array from 2015 was another cool List of classes question.  I think making something like Sparse Array but with a list of lists is quite possible.

2.  Make a Class from scratch – Every student should know how to make a class, implement an interface, and extend an abstract class.  In 2014, the Trio question marked the return of the interface FR which means an abstract class Free Response can’t be too far behind.   Be prepared create an interface / abstract class in part A and then use Part A to make a new class in Part B as was the case in 2015.  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 or String – String – String –  I missed the boat on the Strings last year as there were a whopping 3 questions that did something with Strings.  They will not get me this year as I am including both arrays and Strings here.  I know it is kinda like cheating, but I am covering my behind this year.  I predict a basic algorithmic array or string question.  Look back at BatteryCharger from 2009 or the Sound question from 2011.  Those questions are pretty good algorithm questions.  Find a particular something in an array or string.  I am also betting part A must be called by part B and / or part B must be called by part C.

4.  Matrices – Be on the lookout for another matrix of classes question.  I predicted this in 2013 and was wrong, but I went with it again in 2014 and hit pay dirt 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 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 2017 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.

A few review points to emphasize before the exam.

Multiple Choice [ 90 minutes ] –   Manage time and get through the 40 questions more than once.  Skip the longer questions the first time through.

Free Response [ 90 minutes ] – Answer the easiest question first and do not leave any questions blank.  Make sure to return and to call part A from B if the question says you MUST do that.

If you want some great reviews the AP Computer Science A Exam,  I have quite a review slides posted   AP Exam review slides   with Java code projects ready for students to complete.  The Java code projects have runner files and everything students need to test student hand-written free response code.  Feel free to use them to help your students.  It is very beneficial for students to write the free response code on paper and then type it up.

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 to get students ready 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!

High School Computer Science Contests

Looking for a way to get kids excited about learning Computer Science?
Take your students to a programming contest.

Why?  They learn teamwork and how to problem solve under pressure.
Also, they get a chance to dominate the planet.  Who doesn’t like winning?

Check out HP Codewars and Codequest.
http://www.hpcodewars.org/
http://www.lockheedmartin.com/us/who-we-are/community/codequest.html

Also, ask your local colleges to see if they host a high school contest.
Many college ACM groups host high school programming contests.

Host your own high school contest.  Why?  It is fun and you will be helping out others in your area.

Need help preparing your team for contests?  A+ has a ton of great stuff to help.
Want to host a local high school contest?  A+ has a ton of great stuff to help.

Email me at stacey.armstrong@apluscompsci.com and I will help you find a local contest or help you learn how to host one in your area.

Computer Science contests rock!

AP Computer Science 2 Day Workshop – San Antonio, TX – Feb 17-18

There will be an AP Computer Science 2 day workshop in San Antonio, Texas on February 17 and 18.

http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/InstitutesAndWorkshops/viewEvent?eventid=5143

Lots of great sessions will be presented.
*   How to get your students ready to make 5s
*   Introducing OOP with Greenfoot
*   Teaching Arrays, Lists, and Matrices early
*   Lots of discussion of best practices

Email me if you have any questions.   stacey.armstrong@apluscompsci.com

 

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.
http://www.apluscompsci.com/ap_computer_science_free_response.html

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.    http://www.apluscompsci.com/workshops.htm

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

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 stacey.armstrong@apluscompsci.com 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 stacey.armstrong@apluscompsci.com 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 stacey.armstrong@apluscompsci.com 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.
http://www.apluscompsci.com/ap_computer_science_free_response.html

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.    http://www.apluscompsci.com/workshops.htm

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!

AP Computer Science Summer Institutes 2015

Well, it is almost summer time so get ready to rock and roll with some summer fun learning more about Computer Science.

http://www.apluscompsci.com/workshops.htm
Check out my workshops page to see what I have going this summer.

Check out Glen Martin’s page to find some other AP SIs for the summer of 2015.
http://www.martin.apluscomputerscience.com/workshops.html

Have a great summer and good luck to all on upcoming contests and the 2015 AP CS A Exam.

2 day APSI for AP CS A in Addison, Texas

Looking for some great professional development for AP CS A?   Look no further.

Judy Hromcik and Glen Martin will be running a spectacular 2 day event on Feb 6th and 7th in Addison, Texas.
If you need help withe AP CS A, check it out.
The new AP CS A Labs will be discussed in great detail.

http://apcentral.collegeboard.com/InstitutesAndWorkshops/viewEvent?eventid=5056

If you are looking for an awesome AP CS A Summer Institute, check out my workshops page.