Advanced Placement Computer Science is currently offered in two forms, A and AB. Computer Science A focuses on methodology, problem solving, and algorithm development. It is roughly equivalent to a single semester of university-level CS. The A level course briefly touches upon data structures and abstraction. Computer Science AB includes all the topics of Computer Science A, but its study of algorithms, data structures, and data abstraction has more depth and detail than that of the A course. Topics exclusive to Computer Science AB include binary trees, the use of recursive data structures, and dynamically allocated structures.

Topic Outline

Asterisks indicate topics covered in the AB course only.

I. Program Design II. Program Implementation III. Program Analysis IV. Standard Data Structures V. Standard Algorithms VI. Computer Systems

C++ has traditionally been the programming language of choice for AP Computer Science, but the program will switch to Java beginning in the 2003-2004 academic year. For more information about APCS, visit

Back to Advanced Placement Metanode.

A slight correction... The Advanced Placement(AP) CS programs use of C++ is a fairly new addition to the program, and with plans to start using Java in place, a short-lived one. When I took test back in 1995 they were using Pascal and judging by the condition and age of the texts, Pascal had been in use for about ten years prior.

My personal experience w/ APCS was interesting. On the first day of class, we had ~20 students. By the end of the first week the number had dropped to 10. When time came to take the test only 3 remained. The three of us breezed through the test having 15-20min left over at the end. Unfortunately, due to College Board rules, the proctor was unable to let us leave early so we were forced to covertly fling skittles at each other.

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