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!