First of all, good on you for choosing to self-study for the exam! It’s challenging, but definitely within reason and can be done in a number of months, if done correctly.

Since I studied for the exam in my freshman year of high school and got a 5/5, I would like to share the 3 top tips that I wish that someone had told me when I was preparing for the exam:

  1. Learn the absolute fundamentals of Java/CS and practice them until you are 100% comfortable with them. I would recommend this EXLskills Intro to Java Course to get started and practice for free
  2. Next, you’ll want to gain a solid understanding of the AP curriculum. This may be confusing at first, but I suggest that you use some free online resources like this course EXLskills AP CS Course and continuously practice until you are able to code basic constructs, like classes, for loops, and strings/arrays with ease
  3. After you are comfortable with the core curriculum, it’s time to practice real coding. Look around online for real-world Java problems, algorithms questions, and previous years' FRQs on the College Board website. This will ensure that you’re able to get a 5 and ace the written code section of the exam

Remember to start studying well ahead of time (at least 1-month at the very least) and you should have it in the bag! Good luck and you can get that magic 5/5 if you put in the effort and commit to executing these steps!