Free Response Webinars

It is very important that you practice before doing a free response question and prepare materials ahead of time for the webinar! Practice explaining the algorithm. Practice solving the problem. Practice stepping through the code to explain how it works.

Materials for Free Response Questions

Materials for old free response questions are at This directory has a subdirectory for each year. In the directory for that year there are the questions, the grading rubrics, the sample student responses and how they are graded. Most also have starter classes with code that can be completed and final classes with the completed code.

What to do During the Webinar

  1. Give the participants time to read the question. You don’t have to read it to them. But, it is useful to highlight important points.
  2. Have the participants walk through the examples and explain the algorithm that is being used to solve it. You may have to help them with this.
  3. Ask the participants what type of loop they should use (nearly all free response questions have a loop). Remember that a for-each loop is used with collection classes (Arrays and Lists) when you want to loop through all of the elements in a collection, a general for loop is used when you know how many times the loop needs to execute, a while loop is used when you don’t know the number of times the loop will execute.
  4. Write the code to solve the problem and ask them for input as you do so (what to call variables, what the values should be initialized to, what the boolean expressions should be on conditionals).
  5. Test the solution with the examples. Think of any other examples that might prove that it always works.
  6. Walk through the code using a debugger or print statements to trace the execution.
  7. Ask if anyone has a different solution.
  8. Show them the grading rubric.

Another good practice during a in-person session is to have them write the code for a free response question and then grade it. You can first have them practice grading the sample student responses.

If you make a mistake

It is okay if you make a mistake. Show them how to debug the problem. If you really get stuck then say you will look at it after the webinar and then discuss it on the next webinar.