AP Computer Science, A Exam, 1996, Question 3 in C++ Although the phrase "fewer operations" may be open to interpretation, the key to answering the question correctly comes in how the answer is justified. I assume that an operation refers to something fundamental like integer arithmetic, but this is not explicitly stated. So, the answers here are open to intepretation. Note the use of the word "should" in the question, as in "should require fewer operations". Again, justification of answers is important. Certainly operator < and operator ++ require MORE operations when alternative I is used than when alternative II is used. For example, Operator < Using the absolute number of days from 1/1/1 (alternative II), the integer values can be simply compared. However, when alternative I is used, years must be compared, then if years are equal months must be compared, then if months are equal days must be compared. This is more "operations", i.e., 3 integer comparisons vs. 1 integer comparison. Operator ++ Again, using alternative II the single integer is incremented. Using alternative II the day must be incremented, then if there is roll-over off the end of the month (e.g., March 31) the month must be incremented and the day reset, then if there is roll-over off the end of the year (e.g., December 31), the year must be incremented and the month/day reset. Operator << What about operator << (printing a date)? Using alternative I can be done simply by indexing a string array/vector of 12 month names to get the name of the month, then simply printing the day and year. However, using alternative II will require some complicated arithmetic to translate the absolute number of days into a month/day/year for printing. Of course if we really wanted to waste storage, we could use a HUGE array (or store in a random-access file) a string equivalent for every possible day and use the absolute date to index this structure. I assume that the intent of the question is to write that operator << requires fewer "operations" using alternative I than using alternative II.