We are currently researching what curriculum to use/adapt for the 2019-2020 school year. It will be our first year offering AP CSA. The students taking the class will have had 3-7 years of computers science classes and plan to go into a computer science program.

Anyone have strong feelings on what AP CSA curriculum to use?

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    $\begingroup$ Hi Allison, welcome to Computer Science Educators! Could you add in a bit of detail about what sorts of things were covered in those 3-7 years? That sounds like enough time to cover AP CS A and then some. Also, what are the ages of the students? Sophomores? Seniors? Freshmen? $\endgroup$
    – Ben I.
    Commented Jan 31, 2019 at 1:34
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    $\begingroup$ Are there some books/curricula you’re considering? Have you done some research already? More context will help yield some better answers. $\endgroup$
    – Peter
    Commented Jan 31, 2019 at 18:53
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Ben, thank you for your response. The 3-7 years is a combination of working in Scratch, HTML/CSS, AppLab, and JavaScript. When they are Sophomores they take the AP CSP class. Depending on when students join our network, most students would enter the AP CSA class with the above content covered. Students would take the AP CSA class as juniors and seniors. $\endgroup$
    – Allison
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 17:36
  • $\begingroup$ Hi Peter, I am in the middle of researching curricula and currently not excited about any free options. $\endgroup$
    – Allison
    Commented Feb 11, 2019 at 17:37
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry I missed this earlier. Do you know about the APCS mailing lists run by the College Board? These sorts of things are widely discussed there. $\endgroup$
    – Buffy
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 15:28

1 Answer 1


With the amount of preparation you're describing, the only thing your students will likely need is a course that teaches them Java syntax and object oriented programming, as the AP CSA exam assumes knowledge of Java:


(from https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap-2020exam-sample-questions-computer-science.pdf)

Code.org has a nice list of Java curricula that specifically target the AP CSA outcomes, but really any "Fundamentals of Java" course or online tutorial would likely be just fine.

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    $\begingroup$ Sorry, no. There is more to APCS than Java syntax, and it is weak in OO principles in any case. But you will need something of data structures as well. $\endgroup$
    – Buffy
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 15:26
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    $\begingroup$ @Buffy there certainly is. But given the background the OP says their students already have, ( 3-7 years combination of working in Scratch, HTML/CSS, AppLab, and JavaScript, plus the AP CSP course), I would imagine most of the rest of the AP CSA topics have been covered. Though without knowing exactly what was taught there, it would be hard to tell for sure. $\endgroup$
    – lfalin
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 17:43
  • $\begingroup$ Unlikely to be much of anything about data structures. $\endgroup$
    – Buffy
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 17:57
  • $\begingroup$ It may have changed since I last looked, but I didn't think AP CS A covered any data structures besides arrays. I didn't see anything else listed under the Course Content here: apstudents.collegeboard.org/courses/ap-computer-science-a $\endgroup$
    – lfalin
    Commented Jun 11, 2020 at 18:01
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    $\begingroup$ In my AP CS A course we went over linked lists and array lists - don't remember if it was on the AP test though $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 19, 2020 at 20:02

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