Advanced Placement (AP®) Computer Science A is designed to prepare students for the College Board’s AP® Computer Science A Exam. The course curriculum covers the topics and activities of a first-year computer science course at the undergraduate level. It is designed to be engaging and motivating for the high school student.
AP® Computer Science is a course designed to awaken and support students’ problem solving skills. The course will introduce the Java programming language while emphasizing universal language techniques like syntax, semantics and readability. Students will gain mastery in programming concepts by using a subset of Java features that are covered when needed throughout the course content. This allows the student to understand and master important concepts that will apply to programming problems in many additional languages.
Students in AP® Computer Science will begin by encountering situations that involve solving problems with the use of primitive data types, methods, and control statements. Later, this inquiry will evolve into the use of Object Oriented Programming (OOP), which is today’s most common and practical way to develop software.
Throughout the course, students will also grow to understand how computers process information. This understanding will deepen as students apply concepts like string manipulation, the behavior of elements in arrays and lists, and the use of external data to interact with algorithms.
The College Board’s AP® Computer Science curriculum presents three hands-on laboratory practice sets that will help students synthesize course concepts. These labs will expand and secure their knowledge of programming and prepare them thoroughly for the AP® Computer Science exam in May.
Students enrolled in Advanced Placement VHS courses are expected to take the AP® exam, and are required to report their AP® examination scores to VHS (note: students who are failing their AP® class are not required to take the exam). Upon receipt of the student's exam score, each score will be recorded by VHS and assigned an anonymous tracking number to ensure student anonymity and confidentiality. By enrolling in an AP® VHS class, the student authorizes their school site coordinator and school administration to report AP® examination scores to VHS. Exam results will not affect the student's VHS grade or future enrollment in VHS courses.
Computer science is founded upon mathematical reasoning; this foundation is regularly referenced and applied throughout the course. Students must feel comfortable with function notation when expressed as f(x) = x+2 and f(x) = g(h(x)). Typically, these concepts are introduced in an Algebra 2 course.
There are no programming language prerequisites for AP® Computer Science.
This course has an AP® fee of $75/year for each enrollment.
- To be able to discuss and debate about programming languages, the software development process and computer technology.
- To be able to design and implement computer-based solutions to problems in a variety of applications.
- To be able to design and analyze portions or complete code structures to drive decisions towards improvement and implementation.
- To be able to use and implement well-known algorithms.
- To be able to develop and select appropriate algorithms and data structures to solve problems.
- To be able to code fluently in an object-oriented paradigm using the Java programming language.
- To be able to use standard Java library classes from the AP Java subset.
- To be able to read and understand the College Board's APCS Case Studies.
Please refer these requirements to your school's technology staff prior to registering for the course. Schools must install and allow student access to the resources listed here, in order for a student to participate in the course.
Please see software manufacturers' websites for further information and system requirements.
*Please note: There is a $75/year AP fee for each enrollment in a VHS AP course.*
In addition to VHS system requirements:
Software used: The most recent stable release of the Java Standard Edition (SE) Development Kit (JDK); the Eclipse Kepler Standard IDE version 4.3.2 or newer for Windows or Mac OS.
Specific URLs accessed: multiple addresses at domains: “oracle.com,” “eclipse.org," “collegeboard.com”
Computer Science and Technology
10, 11, 12, 13
F16, SP17, F17, SP18
Media Kit Shipped:
Media Kit Purchased:
MA NCES Code:
AdvancED, Certified by NCAA for initial-eligibility (VHS School Code: 221356), Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools, University of California A-G Course Approval