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The Student News Site of Dos Pueblos High School

The Charger Account

The Student News Site of Dos Pueblos High School

The Charger Account

Tips to study for the AP Computer Science A exam

Alex Ortiz

Preparing for the AP Computer Science exam may seem daunting. However, following these tips from a computer science student can refresh Java skills in time for the exam on May 8.

Review past assignments
The first step to effectively study for an exam is to cover the basics. Going through past assignments and tests will force the brain to recall the information necessary to understand the content. This will also isolate areas of weakness to practice more in-depth later down the road.

Watch YouTube tutorials
YouTube videos explaining Java concepts can be an alternative for auditory learners to review material. Sean Wirtz (11), a past AP Computer Science student who received a four on the exam, recommends the video “AP CSA Review in 45 minutes (Units 1-7)” for a concise overview of the preliminary units as well as a helpful explanation on DeMorgan’s law.

Utilize free coding websites
For additional practice, free coding websites like Codecademy and freeCodeCamp offer a new perspective on Java that can expand on previous knowledge.

Codecademy offers 28 Java courses ranging from beginner to advanced. One such course is “Study for the AP Computer Science A Exam (Java),” which can be accessed by creating an account and starting a free trial. All of the courses are interactive, and users receive detailed feedback based on practice problems.

freeCodeCamp contains lessons, articles, and videos explaining specific Java concepts from the perspective of its community members. A popular article featured on their website is “String to Array in Java – How to Convert Strings to Arrays” by Shittu Olumide that explains the concept of string conversion with a mixture of words and visuals. The range of voices present in freeCodeCamp’s articles suit many different learning styles and skill levels.

Make games from scratch
Creating games from scratch is a useful way to remember information, apply skills, and troubleshoot problems. This method also allows for creativity and personalization, meaning the incentive to study will be greater. When designing a game, try implementing a range of skills to prepare for more complex problems on the exam. For additional understanding, have someone play the game, and explain the code to them afterwards. Repeating information verbally can help the brain’s ability to recall it later on.

Take practice exams
Taking practice exams is one of the best ways to predict performance on the actual exam. College Board has a list of past free-response questions along with scoring rubrics and sample responses. Taking an exam and grading the answers based on the rubric and past responses will demonstrate how well someone is going to do on the exam. If the practice exam is timed, this can also increase efficiency in answering questions and confidence in working under pressure.

Taking these steps to study for the AP Computer Science exam will boost performance by applying knowledge of Java to a variety of situations. Aside from that advice, other important things to keep in mind are to stay healthy and try your best.

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About the Contributor
Alex Ortiz
Alex Ortiz, Copy Editor
Alex Ortiz (11) coding a website template for others to use. They have been creating games, learning various languages, and coding LED sculpture programs. “It's really fun to just spout out lines of code, and then just see, wow, that's the thing I created,” Alex said.
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