AP Computer Science

Course Overview

APCS is a computer science course that explores most of its topics in the context of hands-on computer programming using the Java programming language. This APCS course is meticulously designed to prepare the student to take the Advanced Placement Computer Science (A) Exam. It is audited/certified by the AP College to meet specific requirements. According the AP College, "AP Computer Science A is equivalent to a first-semester, college-level course in computer science."

The typical student is in Grade 11 or 12, and plans to attend college or university. Most students hope to pursue a career in computer programming, engineering, networking, or any career that involves computer science. Some students are adults. And some students do not have explicit intentions to major in programming or to major in computer science, but will take this course for its value in teaching logic, reasoning, and problem solving. The student will experience a deep immersion in computational thinking, and this will generalize well to most disciplines.

Some of the things you will do include:

  • An abundance of hands-on computer programming
  • Many console apps (text-based)
  • Many graphical apps
  • The AP Magpie Chatbot Lab — a lab series that develops a text-based program that will chat with you
  • The AP Picture Lab — a lab series of image-based programs that manipulate photographic images
  • The AP Elevens Lab — a lab series of graphics-based programs that result in a fully playable card game
  • A large custom graphics project that reflects your own personal interest, your own personal sense of relevance, and your own individual ability

Course Credits:

If you successfully complete the course, you will earn 4 High School Credits. If you also succeed on the AP Exam, you may earn 3 University Credits, plus you may earn an increased probability of placement in your post-secondary program (check with the particular institution).


Time Commitment:

This course was designed with the assumption that a student will spend 90 minutes per school day studying the material and/or writing the programs. The course is divided into 38 weeks to accommodate identical pacing for both the APCS Exam and the regular school year.

An Accelerated Pace:

The pace required for AP Exam readiness, and the pace for course completion within the regular school year are identical. The APCS Exam takes place in early May. Then, there are 5 weeks of required course content after the AP Exam.

If the student is not concerned about the APCS Exam and is not concerned about the regular school year, he/she will have 1 calendar year from enrollment to complete the course.


In order to take this course, you will need:

  • A computer (Windows, Mac, or Linux)
  • The JDK (Java Development Kit) from Oracle — free of cost
  • A Java IDE (jGRASP is recommended) — free of cost
  • No additional textbook or materials are required; you will download the relevant learning activities as part of each lesson.
Download Scope and Sequence Enrollment Information

Enrollment Options

Your child is...

  • An enrolled HCOS student

    If your child is already an enrolled HCOS student, you can add a new online course in your parent Encom account. Here are the steps to do this:

    1. Sign into Encom: encom.onlineschool.ca
      What if I don't remember my login info?
    2. In Encom, click on the Course Selection button. 
    3. This will show you all of the courses that are available. If you do not see a specific course that you were looking for, please contact your individual teacher (grades 5-9) or regional grad advisor (grades 10-12).
  • A new student wishing to enroll with HCOS

    To enroll your child with HCOS, go to onlineschool.ca/enrollment-options/enroll-or-register-now/. Read the information and requirements, then click the Proceed with DL Enrollment button, and complete the enrollment form.

    Once you have completed this process, you will receive an email with your username and password for Encom. Then follow the steps for an enrolled HCOS student to add new courses.

  • Attending another school, but wishes to take an HCOS course

    If you attend another school but wish to take just one, or a few courses with HCOS, please go to bconlineschool.ca for more information about how to cross-enroll. Click the Sign Up! button, near the top right corner, to get started: