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How to Prepare for the ‘AP Computer Science A’ Practice Test

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AP Computer Science A or AP CompSci is a programming class and exam for high school students. It is a core part of the exam you will take for Advanced Placement (AP) in computer science. Scaling the exam is one of the ways to enhance your career as a computer enthusiast.

How to prepare and pass the AP Computer Science A exam

It takes a lot of commitment to read through the required materials. In this section of this article, you will find out how you can prepare for the exam.

Major challenges

The AP Computer Science Exam comes with some challenges. At the core of the examination, you may encounter time pressure because there is limited time to study the allocated courses that will help you ace the exams.

Main strategies

Here are some of the ways to prepare for the exam.

Take online courses

The first strategy is to take an online course. Many computer students learn Java from scratch at CodeGym, because the platform offers a variety of courses designed to help students learn and excel in their exams.

Taking an online course also comes with the perks of multiple-choice questions that would likely be asked in the exam. You will also find sample answers and several tips that would help you pass your exam.

Practice

Learning from different sources is one step. The other important step is to practice what you have learned. You can start your practice by attempting some of the multiple-choice questions in the courses you take. That way, you will compare your response to the questions to the sample answers to see if you are getting close to mastering the subject.

Be clear and organized in your programming

AP Computer Science A exam will boost your programming skills. To get it right, it is pertinent to indent, organize and assign meaningful variable names before you start writing your codes. You may also want to leave some lines of code so you can easily insert any codes you may have mistakenly left out.

What you will achieve after passing it

So, what does the test offer you aside from acing the exam? Here are some of the benefits of taking and passing the exam:

Improve your coding skill

The exam has a lot to do with coding. You will also practice a lot before the exam. So, you can rest assured that your coding skills will improve in the process.

Enhance code logic and code testing

You will also learn how to test codes to find potential issues. In the process, you will learn more about the logic that helps code to work.

How to Prepare for the AP Computer Science Practice Test - Woman Upset Laptop
Image: Stefan Amer / Scopio

Understand program design and algorithm development better

Acing the AP Computer Science A exam will also help you to have a better understanding of how algorithms and program designs work together to bolster programming.

The AP Computer Science A exam: What you need to study

Preparing for the exam is usually tasking because you have a lot of grounds to cover, in terms of the theoretical courses to take. The courses you are taking or enrolling for the exam are meant to help you master the basics of computer science, as well as how these computer science basics are applied in a wide range of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)-related fields.

Some of the concepts you will study in AP Computer Science A courses are:

  • Implementing the programs
  • Computing in context
  • Object-oriented program design
  • Standard operations and algorithms
  • Analyzing computers programs
  • Standard data structures

Where to learn AP Computer Science A

You now understand the importance of Advanced Placement (AP) in Computer Sciences, especially in helping you improve your academics. The exam can also help you become better prepared for the tasks ahead in your college education. Here are some of the best ways to learn and master it:

Online courses like CodeGym

Taking online courses is one of the best ways to pass the exam. This is because you will get to study at your pace, as well as access to some important questions. A better way to approach this is to learn Java on CodeGym that has a lot of practical tasks and auto-validation of your code.

Advantages:
  • Individual approach
  • Affordable
  • Online courses are flexible, meaning that you can learn at your pace.
Disadvantages:
  • Online courses require self-organization, which may not be ideal if you are not always organized.

Traditional ways

You can also take the traditional route of learning more about Advanced Placement in Computer Science from your university or college. This is ideal for computer enthusiasts who are already in a university or college.

Advantages:
  • Easy access to software tools and additional information about computer science
  • Highly proven track records
  • Lots of qualified teachers are available to teach you in big schools, such as MIT
Disadvantages:
  • Lack of flexibility and challenging environment
  • No transparency so you don’t know what you are paying for
  • Extremely expensive

How to Prepare for the AP Computer Science Practice Test - Happy Woman Laptop
Image: Gili Dailes / Scopio

Self-Learning

You also want to learn at your own pace by doing independent research, reading blog posts and articles to learn more about computer science.

Advantages:
  • Cheap/affordable
  • Flexible
Disadvantages:
  • Lack of socialization
  • Requires self-organization
  • Lack of guidance
  • You need to buy lots of educational materials.

Conclusion

Reading more about computer science and taking the AP Computer Science A exam helps you to challenge yourself academically. This is what many students don’t envisage. So, they often become bored and opt for a different course.

However, you would be on your way to improving in your academics and getting over the rigorous college work if you can take the time to prepare for the exam.

It is all your choice, but it would be in your best interest to learn more about AP Computer Science A so you can learn something new ace the exam. Are you looking for how to get started? Consider taking some courses to learn Java. If you are interested in watching videos, you can also check out the feature clip below.


YouTube: AP Computer Science A Study Tips (Will Yang, Albert.io)

Photo credit: The feature image has been done by Julian Tay. The photo “Tired woman working on her laptop” has been taken by Stefan Amer. The picture “Woman in pink sweater using laptop computer” was prepared by Gili Dailes.

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