Directions for the 2021 Digital AP Computer Science A Exam

Exam and Section directions will appear in the testing application

Unlike on paper and pencil exams, students taking digital exams will receive directions primarily from the digital testing application, not from a proctor, whether they take the digital exam at school or at home.

On the digital exam, directions will be shown on a pop-up in the digital exam application when the clock starts at the beginning of each section. Students will have a chance to read them before starting to answer questions, and can view them at any time by clicking the Directions link in the upper left corner of the application.  

Please note that the exam timer starts when the directions appear at the beginning of each section. While students should read the directions, they should be aware that the timer will be running while they do so, both at the beginning of each section and while they’re working during the exam.

General Exam Directions will appear in the left column of the directions pop-up, and will be the same for all sections of that exam. Section Directions will appear in the right column, and will be specific to each section of the exam.

When you answer digital practice questions in the digital testing application, these same directions will appear along with a note when practice has a different number of questions than the actual exam.

The following is the full text of the directions that will appear on the digital AP Computer Science A Exam.

Exam Directions

The AP Computer Science A exam is 3 hours long. Section I lasts 90 minutes and has 40 multiple-choice questions. Section II lasts 90 minutes and has 4 free-response questions.

The Java Quick Reference is available by clicking the Reference button in the toolbar at the upper right of the digital application screen.

Please note that you are responsible for pacing yourself. The clock will turn red when 5 minutes remain, but the proctor or app will not give you any other time updates. 

Do not spend too much time on any one question, but remember that you cannot go back to a question once you’ve moved on to the next question.

You may use scratch paper for notes and planning, but credit will only be given for responses entered in this application.

Section Directions–Section I

Section I: 90 minutes, 40 multiple-choice questions.

Determine the answer to each of the following questions or incomplete statements, then select the best answer to each question.

Please note:

  • Assume that the classes listed in the Java Quick Reference have been imported where appropriate.
  • Assume that declarations of variables and methods appear within the context of an enclosing class.
  • Assume that method calls that are not prefixed with an object or class name and are not shown within a complete class definition appear within the context of an enclosing class.
  • Unless otherwise noted in the question, assume that parameters in method calls are not null and that methods are called only when their preconditions are satisfied.

Section Directions–Section II

Section II: 90 minutes, 4 free-response questions.

In this section, you will answer questions 1, 3, and 4 in multiple parts, which will be shown on separate screens. You may move back and forth among the parts of each of these questions while you are answering that particular question. Once you submit your response to the last part of the question and move on to the next question, you cannot go back to any part of the question you just finished. 

You will answer Question 2 in a single screen, and once you submit your response to Question 2, you will not be able to go back to it. 

You are advised to spend approximately 22 minutes answering each question.

Show all your work. Remember that program segments are to be written in Java. 

Please note:

  • Assume that the classes listed in the Java Quick Reference have been imported where appropriate.
  • Unless otherwise noted in the question, assume that parameters in method calls are not null and that methods are called only when their preconditions are satisfied.
  • In writing solutions for each question, you may use any of the accessible methods that are listed in classes defined in that question. Writing significant amounts of code that can be replaced by a call to one of these methods will not receive full credit.

​For prompts that reference a specific question part, you can click on the » symbol shown in the prompt to automatically scroll to the referenced location.

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