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AP Computer Science Advice

2010 June 16
tags: ,
by Hélène Martin

I’m heartbroken to see my seniors leaving but I’m also looking forward to following their adventures.  They all have exciting plans ranging from studying some type of engineering (computer?!) at MIT to computer science at Westpoint.  What a smart, talented and cool bunch of students!  I can only hope to have classes as amazing as this year’s AP CS again.

I asked everyone to leave some advice for upcoming AP CS students and I think they came up with great stuff:

The Five Tenets of Programming
1. If you feel like you’re falling behind, ask for help, if not from Ms. Martin, then from other students.  You’ll save yourself hours of frustration.
2. Don’t be afraid to try your own thing if you get the chance, even if you think it’s beyond your level.  You’ll learn faster if you’re interested in the project.
3. Temp variables are awesome.  So are ArrayLists.
4. Don’t let the sometimes snooty programming club people argue with you — by the end of the year, you’ll probably know more.
5. And NEVER tell yourself you’re bad at coding.  EVER.  This just leads to failure.  See tenet 1.

Don’t trust the GridWorld.  Never code a method unless necessary.

BE PATIENT!  It’s frustrating, yes, but when you think about it calmly and figure out what needs to be done and what you need to do that, end results will be exhilarating!  Side story: I refused, eventually, to help my friend on his work for another programming class because instead of thinking everything out, he gets angry and rants about how much CS sucks.  Honestly, being patient and drawing things out will be more helpful than sitting around and crying.

PAY ATTENTION DURING GRIDWORLD INTRO.  If you don’t you’ll be mighty confused.

Take loads of notes, pay attention and GO TO GOOGLE.

I didn’t sign up for AP CS, so I was surprised when it became my favorite class and Ms. Martin my favorite teacher.  Appreciate that your teacher is passionate and knowledgeable about her subject.  Don’t be afraid to ask for help, don’t give up when you get frustrated, always make your code as pretty as possible, and celebrate when you complete a task.

Use Ms. Martin — she’s a great resource.  Don’t be afraid to look at what other coders have done before you.  Stay ahead of deadlines if you can.  Enjoy yourself, work hard, this class can be a blast.

Learn to speak in code.  It helps on history papers when you write an essay in Java.  Also become a fan of curly braces and other lingo that can make or break your program.  Also love Ms. Martin.  She’s an awesome teacher and is driving herself broke by teaching.

Use Eclipse and come in after school.  The teacher actually teaches and helps — whoa!

for(int days = 1; days <=  365; days++) {

Stay on top of things and don’t get behind!  Stay after school to get extra help.  Work with others and form connections for help later in the class.

Work hard, listen to Ms. Martin.  This IS the best class at Garfield, so be sure to make the most of it.

Do all work early and finish as soon as possible.  Ask Ms. Martin for help when needed and use patience.

AP computer science is one of the funnest and most interesting classes I have ever taken.  Remember to always compile your code so that it saves and so that you can fix your errors as you go rather than having a giant amount of errors by the time you finish.  Participate in programming competitions — they’re fun and you learn a lot by working with others.

GOOD LUCK!  Don’t get frustrated because the concepts become easier as a person codes more and learns more.  Also, take advantage of class time!

Be good at pinball.  Be committed if you are going to take this class and study hard and often.  Make sure to stay on top of your projects and don’t get behind.

Don’t jump in second semester!  Or I guess you can if you really wanna!

Pay attention in class, don’t let yourself get behind or it will suck.  Hard work doesn’t guarantee success so be patient.  Ms. Martin is hella scary so don’t ask her for anything. ;)

Eclipse is your best friend.  Neglect your other classes because this one is better.

It is a fascinating logic-based environment with simply the best and most competent teacher at Garfield.

3 Responses leave one →
  1. June 16, 2010

    I love it! You’re awesome.

    I wish I had done this with my kids…. Next year!

  2. Michael Rosenberger permalink
    October 9, 2010

    “sometimes snooty programming club people”


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