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RoD
02-08-2003, 10:34 AM
Through my computer science class i have been given the chance to take a crack at the AP exam, while its still C++. This would be at no cost to me, but i don't want to take it and fail. I don't have the knowledge to take the AP exam, but i don't want to pass up the chance to try it.

My question is to anyone here who has taken it: What was the hardest part? Can you reccomend a prep manual/book? What advice would you offer someone that is going to take it? etc.

I don't expect to pass it, but i plan to give it one hell of a shot. Any input would be welcome, i have been searching the web for information on it and trial tests and such, but it'd be nice to hear from some who have actualy taken the exam.

-KEN-
02-08-2003, 10:37 AM
I'm taking it this year, too.

Read up on the marine biology case study (http://cbweb2s.collegeboard.org/ap/pdf/case_study_update_8_17_00.pdf) is all I can say for sure right now...supposedly it's heavy on that. I can't tell you much more since I've only been in my AP class for a few weeks.

-KEN-
02-08-2003, 10:38 AM
Almost forgot, look up the ap classes...apvector, apmatrix, apstring, etc...(use google! :))

RoD
02-08-2003, 11:13 AM
Thanks for the reply, i'll look into that.

DavidP
02-08-2003, 11:14 AM
I have taken the AP Computer Science exam. I got a score of 4. It was not hard as long as you know C++ and the AP curriculum.

There are some classes you will need to get familiar with (as ken already said):

apstring
apvector
apmatrix
apstack
apqueue

They are not hard classes to familiarize yourself with. They are all pretty simple classes. I do not know if you can find them on the AP Board's website or not, but if you cannot, I have copies of all of them and would be happy to send them to you.

You will also need to familiarize yourself with the case study for this year's AP test. When I took it 2 years ago it was the Marine Biology case study, I do not know if it still is or not, and if it still is, I do not know what has changed in it.

What I do know however, is when I took the exam, the Marine Biology Case Study was very heavy into classes and structs. So much so that it had classes and structs that were not really needed, they just had them to see if you knew your object oriented programming.

So make sure to know OOP.

You will also need to familiarize yourself with the following, very much so:

Linked Lists
Stacks
Queues
Linear Searches
Binary Searches
Binary Trees
Quick Sort
Merge Sort
Bubble Sort
and all the other sorts.

The AP test likes to ask questions about the Big-O of searches and sorts. If you dont know what Big-O is, it is the speed of a search or sort, essentially. Familiarize yourself with that.

That is all the info I can give you. I wish you luck.

DavidP
02-08-2003, 11:15 AM
P.S. I have two 3" binders each completely FULL of AP practice tests, case studies, study guides, etc. If you want any, I might be able to scan some for you.

RoD
02-08-2003, 11:19 AM
Thnx david, thats very helpful. I would appreciate the copies of those classes, that would be very helpful in learning them. How is the scoring done? Is 4 passing?

RoD
02-08-2003, 11:21 AM
Originally posted by DavidP
P.S. I have two 3" binders each completely FULL of AP practice tests, case studies, study guides, etc. If you want any, I might be able to scan some for you.

Anything is appreciated. If you scan anything please only scan what you think is most important, i wouldn't ask for too much of your time.

-KEN-
02-08-2003, 11:31 AM
>> Is 4 passing?

5 is the highest you can get I think, so yeah - 4's really good (good job, DP :))

>> they just had them to see if you knew your object oriented programming.

Ah, that makes sense - I was looking at the full code to the case study and wondering if half of the classes were anywhere near needed...

RoD
02-08-2003, 11:34 AM
I just dloaded the case link -ken- gave, going to read it a bit.

alpha
02-08-2003, 11:40 AM
I am taking it this year as well, and the case study does have quite a few classes that are not needed, at least with what I have worked with it. They also do things kindof weird, and bad design decisions some times.

The APCS classes are at this website from collegeboard:

http://www.collegeboard.com/ap/students/compsci/classes.html

RoD
02-08-2003, 11:41 AM
Thnx alpha. It would be cool to see all three of us pass!

alpha
02-08-2003, 11:49 AM
I hope you saw the edit.

Yes it would be nice, but it shouldn't be too difficult. A 3 and above is passing, but as for college credit, it depends on the college and what score they accept, and how much credit they give for the score, if any credit is given. There are about 8 - 10 classes with the case study, and I believe the case study hasn't changed in the last 4 years. It is still the MBCS, I don't think they would have changed it anyways because AP is in Java next year. From the tests my teacher has given, (from previous APs), they ask a lot of questions on the AP classes, and as said, you would like to familiarize yourself with those. The MBCS plays quite a role in testing, some in multiple choice, some in free response. You definitely will want to familiarize yourself with it.

Thanks DavidP for the info.

I recommend that you take the AB exam, it isn't more difficult than the A test, it just covers more info. The A and AB tests are the same length, so A just covers less info more extensively.

I had to edit my previous post because only one attachment per post I guess, and there are about ten files, five classes.

Well, I hope this helps, and good luck!

DavidP
02-08-2003, 11:51 AM
A passing score is a score of 3. It is very possible, just make sure to study up on your algorithms and classes.

I will look through my binders and find anything that might be useful to all of you who are taking the test and scan some of the stuff into my computer.

-KEN-
02-08-2003, 12:02 PM
Yeah, I was thinking that they did some stupid coding too, but then I realized that they were aiming to be readable to everyone. So while we're scoffing at their lack of optimization, others are thanking God that it's so easily readable.

Mister C
02-08-2003, 03:20 PM
Go to the following web site: cs.colgate.edu/APCS/

Also, you score is based from 1 to 5 there really is no "passing" scores. Different university/colleges usually accept scores 3, 4, or 5.

bob20
02-08-2003, 04:05 PM
I too am taking the A.P. computer science boards in may. The biggest problem that I have had so far is finding a good book to work out of, but I found a few that suit me rather well.

RoD are you going to take the A or AB boards? I will be taking the AB. I'm just about through with the material that I need to cover. Does anyone know a good test prep site?
Thanks!

ZerOrDie
02-08-2003, 04:54 PM
i skipped out on ap when i found out i would have to dish out 150$ and it would be of no real value to me...

AP dont count for software engineering :mad:

bob20
02-08-2003, 04:58 PM
the AP test is only $80.

AP dont count for software engineering
why would you say that it doesn't?

ZerOrDie
02-08-2003, 05:54 PM
Originally posted by bob20
the AP test is only $80.

why would you say that it doesn't?

its actually 150$ cnd...

and my university does not accept AP for the software engineering course so it is redundant

bob20
02-08-2003, 06:01 PM
Well, the test that I will be taking will cost me $80. As for the tests use, I guess that it is all dependent upon which university that you are attending. The university that I am attending does take AP create, so I will take the test.

alpha
02-08-2003, 08:27 PM
Yes it is dependent on which college you go to and if they accept credit. no point in the test if they don't accept it. but the class gets you started with learning programming and/or furthering your knowledge.


Also, you score is based from 1 to 5 there really is no "passing" scores. Different university/colleges usually accept scores 3, 4, or 5.

As you said, universities usually accept 3, 4, and 5 scores. I have yet to see a college accept a 2 or lower, so it is inferred that 3 and above is passing.

Terrance11
02-08-2003, 08:35 PM
My suggestion is to prep for the test by programming. Go to Barnes and Noble, find a good c++ book (The complete reference by Herbert Schildt- 4th edition), and a data structure book, and actually write a linked list, bubble sort, and binary trees on your own.

The only way to learn how to program is by programming, and looking through some books stores will allow you to find a book that best suits your needs.

Good luck,
Terrance

Terrance11
02-08-2003, 08:39 PM
Originally posted by ZerOrDie
its actually 150$ cnd...

and my university does not accept AP for the software engineering course so it is redundant

And how can you say it's redundant? Are you going to throw away the results of the test just because your college doesn't accept it for credit?

Programming can't be learned by just studying the theories, you have to "get your hands dirty" and invest a lot of time actually programming. That's the only way you'll learn. Knowing even a little programming will give you a huge advantage in college, and it will allow you get more practice time actually programming while your classmates are still trying to grasp the theories.

Terrance11
02-08-2003, 08:49 PM
Originally posted by ZerOrDie
its actually 150$ cnd...

and my university does not accept AP for the software engineering course so it is redundant

Sorry, can't edit posts as a guest.

I didn't read your first post, I can understand why you didn't want to pay if it didn't count.

But anyways, it's the learning experience that counts, and preping for the test, and doing well will give you a big boost in life as a future programmer(whether it counts or not).

golfinguy4
02-08-2003, 09:22 PM
http://apcentral.collegeboard.com

Register and check out the sample test questions.

ZerOrDie
02-08-2003, 09:33 PM
(The complete reference by Herbert Schildt- 4th edition),


herbert schildt = crap...

try something by strousup instead...

oh by the way im already in university and i dont regret not taking ap considering my 3.3 in the first year c++ programming class...

RoD
02-09-2003, 09:48 AM
Thnx for all the really good information, lets prep lol.

Dalren
02-09-2003, 06:25 PM
I took the ap CS exam (AB) last year (got a 5, sorry couldn't resist), and I'm also a TA for the AP CS class at my school. The best book I found was the AP study guide from Barron's its almost good enough to use as a text book. Lets see... of the 4 free response questions (ones where you actually write code) only one of them is on the Marine Biology case study and usually you barely need to know any of the case study to complete it. Also 10-13 of the 60 multiple choice questions are on the Case Study. So read up on the case study and your theory (big-O notation, and sorts). You should also check out the College board's website they have both the A and AB exams for the last 2-3 years available in PDF. One last thing you only need about 60% of the possible points for a 5 (it changes every year but it is usally around 60%)

the Wookie
02-09-2003, 07:47 PM
i took A last year, taking AB this year. yeah know the case study!!! it shows up alot. i got a 4 on the A exam, the AB has alot of stuff doing with binary trees and such


Originally posted by ZerOrDie
herbert schildt = crap...

try something by strousup instead...

oh by the way im already in university and i dont regret not taking ap considering my 3.3 in the first year c++ programming class...

i like shildt..i learned easier from his book. i think i have book by strousup, but out of all the ones i have i like schildt the best

Mister C
02-09-2003, 09:54 PM
We have had the the Herb Schildt discussion before. Some people like him some dont.

Terrance11
02-10-2003, 09:25 AM
Schildt is less on the theories, more on the code. I use his books as more of a reference, and learn the theories from the courses I'm taking.

The C++ complete reference and MFC from the ground up are probably the two best references I've read on each respective subject.

cozman
02-10-2003, 09:46 PM
I'm in AB right now.. and It's real easy for me (I knew C++ real well before taking it) but people in my class have a harder time, so for anybody out there I'd recommend having a good grasp on C++ before beginning. My teacher is strong on theory but weak in C++ (the only language she's "mastered" is Pascal) I recommended the Schildt book to her for this reason, and it seems to be helping her and the rest of the class out a lot.