5 Steps to a 5 AP Computer Science A 2017 (2016)

STEP 1

Set Up Your Study Program

CHAPTER 2

How to Plan Your Time

IN THIS CHAPTER

Summary: The right preparation plan for you depends on your study habits, your own strengths and weaknesses, and the amount of time you have to prepare for the test. This chapter recommends some possible plans to get you started.

Key Ideas

   It helps to have a plan—and stick with it!

   You should select the study plan that best suits your situation and adapt it to fit your needs.

Three Approaches to Preparing for the AP Computer Science A Exam

It’s up to you to decide how you want to use this book to study for the AP Computer Science A exam. In this chapter you’ll find three plans, each of which provides a different schedule for your review effort. Choose one or combine them if you want. Adapt the plan to your strengths and weaknesses and the way you like to study. If you are taking an AP Computer Science A course at your school, you will have more flexibility than someone learning the material independently.

The Full School-Year Plan

Choose this plan if you like taking your time going through the material. Following this path will allow you to practice your skills and develop your confidence gradually. This is a good choice if you want to use this book as a resource while taking an AP Computer Science A course.

The One-Semester Plan

Choose this plan if you are OK with learning a lot of material in a fairly short amount of time. You’ll need to be a pretty good student who can grasp concepts quickly. This plan is also a good choice if you are currently taking an AP Computer Science A course.

The Six-Week Plan

This option is available if any one of these sounds like you:

  • You are enrolled in an AP Computer Science A course and want to do a final review before the exam.
  • You are enrolled in an AP Computer Science A course and want to use this book as a reference to refresh your memory.
  • You are not currently enrolled in an AP Computer Science A course, but you are a fluent Java programmer and want to know what is tested on the exam.

When to Take the Practice Exams

You should take the practice exams prior to May. The AP Computer Science A exam is usually given during the first week of May. If you wait until May to take the practice exams, you won’t have enough time to review the concepts that you don’t fully understand.

The Three Plans Compared

The chart summarizes and compares the three study plans.

Calendars for Preparing for Each of the Plans

The Full School-Year Plan

SEPTEMBER

  • Read Concepts 0–1.
  • Learn how the book is put together.
  • Determine your approach.
  • Skim the practice exams.
  • Choose an IDE, theintegrated development environment in which you will write your code.
  • Take the diagnostic exam.
  • Learn all of the primitive variables.
  • Learn the basic conditional structures.
  • Learn the basic looping structures.

OCTOBER

  • Read Concepts 2–4.
  • Learn how to create your own class.
  • Learn how to create your own methods.
  • Learn the String class.
  • Learn the methods from the Math class.

NOVEMBER

  • Read Concepts 5–6.
  • Learn the array.
  • Learn the 2-D array.
  • Learn the ArrayList.
  • Learn all the basic algorithms.

DECEMBER

  • Read Concepts 7–8.
  • Learn the advanced features of classes.
  • Learn how to extend classes.
  • Learn inheritance.
  • Learn polymorphism.

JANUARY

  • Read Concept 9.
  • Learn about abstract classes.
  • Learn about interfaces.

FEBRUARY

  • Read Concepts 10–11.
  • Learn how to read recursive code.
  • Learn all the sorting algorithms.

MARCH

  • Read Concepts 12–13.
  • Learn all the advanced algorithms.
  • Learn how to design large-scale object-oriented applications.

APRIL

  • Take Practice Exam 1.
  • Review the material on the exam.
  • Take Practice Exam 2.
  • Review the material on the exam.

MAY

  • Do any last minute reviewing you need to.
  • Good luck!

The One-Semester Plan

JANUARY

  • Read Concepts 0–6.
  • Learn how the book is put together.
  • Determine your approach.
  • Skim the practice exams.
  • Take the diagnostic exam.
  • Choose an IDE, theintegrated development environment in which you will write your code.
  • Be familiar with all variable types.
  • Learn the basic conditional structures.
  • Learn the basic looping structures.
  • Learn how to create your own class.
  • Learn the String class and Math class.
  • Learn the array, 2-D array, and ArrayList.

FEBRUARY

  • Read Concepts 7–9.
  • Learn the advanced features of classes.
  • Learn inheritance and polymorphism.
  • Learn abstract classes and interfaces.

MARCH

  • Read Concepts 10–13.
  • Learn how to read recursive code.
  • Learn the sorting algorithms.
  • Learn all the advanced algorithms.
  • Learn how to design large-scale object-oriented applications.

APRIL

  • Take Practice Exam 1.
  • Review the material on the exam.
  • Take Practice Exam 2.
  • Review the material on the exam.

MAY

  • Do any last minute reviewing you need to.
  • Good luck!

The Six-Week Plan

MARCH

  • Take the diagnostic exam.
  • Read all Concepts: 0–13.
  • Learn
  • all variable types
  • all conditional statements
  • all looping structures
  • all complex data structures
  • how to create a full class
  • inheritance and polymorphism
  • how to read recursive methods
  • all sorting algorithms
  • all the advanced algorithms
  • how to design and implement large-scale object-oriented applications

APRIL

  • Take Practice Exam 1.
  • Review the material on the exam.
  • Take Practice Exam 2.
  • Review the material on the exam.

MAY

  • Do any last-minute reviewing you need to.
  • Good luck!