- AP Computer Science Principles is one of the easiest AP classes.
- Covers topics like Java programming, data structures, algorithms, and object-oriented programming.
- The average pass rate for the AP Computer Science Principles exam is around 63.5% which is more than the average pass rate of all AP exams 60.2%.
- AP Computer Science Principles Exam includes multiple-choice question and performance task.
Is AP Computer Science Principles hard?
No, AP Computer Science Principles course is considered a relatively easy AP course.
According to a survey done, class alumnae gave AP Computer Science Principles a rating of 1.4/5 for overall difficulty, making it the least difficult AP course.
In 2022, AP Computer Science Principles had a pass rate of 63.5% which is higher than the average pass rate across all AP exams 60.2%.
AP Computer Science Principles is designed to be accessible to students with no prior coding experience and emphasizes collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving skills.
What are the topics covered in the AP Computer Science Principles exam?
AP Computer Science Principles covers various topics related to computer science and computational thinking. The curriculum is designed to give students a broad understanding of the subject matter, rather than focusing on one programming language or platform.
Some of the key topics covered in AP Computer Science Principles include:
|1. Computational Solution Design
|Design and evaluate computational solutions for a purpose
|2. Algorithms and Program Development
|Develop and implement algorithms
|3. Abstraction in Program Development
|Develop programs that incorporate abstractions
|4. Code Analysis
|Evaluate and test algorithms and programs
|5. Computing Innovations
|Investigate computing innovations
|6. Responsible Computing
|Contribute to an inclusive, safe, collaborative,and ethical computing culture
Exam tip: A wide range of topics, from understanding algorithms to exploring the impact of computing and the basics of programming. Our expert-vetted tutors specialize in these areas, offering personalized support. Achieve a thorough understanding of every subject with our expert AP Computer Science Principles Tutoring.
What determines the difficulty of AP Computer Science Principles? 3 key factors
While several factors can influence the difficulty of AP Computer Science Principles, the three key factors which play the most crucial role are:
- Prior knowledge of computer science: Students with little or no experience in computer science may find AP Computer Science Principles more challenging than those who have already taken introductory courses. Understanding basic programming concepts and algorithms is vital for success in the class.
- Interest in the subject: Students naturally interested in computer science and technology may find the course more engaging and easier to grasp. Motivation and passion for the subject can help students stay focused and committed to the coursework.
- Quality of teaching and learning resources: The quality of instruction and available learning resources can significantly impact the difficulty of the course. A skilled and experienced teacher who uses effective teaching methods and provides helpful feedback can make the coursework more manageable.
What is the AP Computer Science Principles exam structure?
The AP Computer Science Principles exam consists of two sections: multiple-choice questions and performance tasks.
Here is a breakdown of the AP Computer Science Principles exam format:
|No. of question
|Type of question
|Single-select (57 questions)
– Single-select with a reading passage about a computing innovation
– Multiple-select (8 questions)
|Explore and create a task
|12 hrs total outside the test time
The performance task section requires students to complete two tasks:
- Explore task
- Create task
The Explore task asks students to analyze and evaluate a computing innovation, while the create task requires students to design, implement, and test a computer program to solve a real-world problem. In the Create task, students are required to submit their code and a written response to prompts provided in the performance task section.
Overall, the AP CSP exam is designed to assess students’ understanding of the fundamental concepts of computer science and their ability to apply those concepts to solve real-world problems.
Source: College Board
How are the AP Computer Science Principles exams scored?
The scoring system for AP Exams is based on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest score.
The scores are determined by a combination of the student’s performance on the multiple-choice questions and the free-response questions.
The multiple-choice section accounts for 50% of the total score, while the free-response section accounts for the remaining 50%.
- A score of 5 indicates that the student is extremely well-prepared for college-level computer science and has a thorough and firm understanding of the subject matter.
- A score of 4 indicates that the student is well-qualified and prepared for college-level computer science and has a good understanding of the subject matter.
- A score of 3 indicates that the student is adequately prepared for college-level computer science and has a basic understanding of the subject matter.
- A score of 2 indicates that the student is not adequately prepared for college-level computer science and has a limited understanding of the subject matter.
- A score of 1 indicates that the student has little or no understanding of the subject matter and is not prepared for college-level computer science.
AP Computer Science Principles Score Distribution:
The AP score distribution is a statistical representation of how students performed on each AP exam. It shows the percentage of students who earned each score (1, 2, 3, 4, or 5) in a given year.
AP Computer Science Principles score distribution for 2022 is as below:
|No. of students
|Percentage of students
AP Computer Science Principles Credit Policy:
Different colleges and universities have different policies regarding AP exam scores and credit. Some may award college credit for an AP Computer Science Principles score of 4 or 5, while others may require a higher score or may not award credit at all.
For details refer to our AP Computer Science Principles Credit Policy Guide.
AP Computer Science Principles Exam Pass Rate and Mean Score Trends (2017-2022)
According to the College Board’s AP exam data, the AP exam pass rate [Students scoring 3 or more] for the AP Computer Science exam has been hovering between 74.5% and 63.5% over the past 6 years from 2017 to 2022.
For year-on-year data, refer to the AP Computer Science Pass Score Trends Graph below:
Note that the College Board does not officially classify 3 as a passing score.
The mean score of AP CSP is 2.9 for 2022.This means that students generally perform better on the AP Computer Science Principles exam than on the average AP exam.
How to study for the AP Computer Science Principles exam?
Preparing for the AP Computer Science Principles test requires dedication, discipline, and a structured approach. Here are some tips on how to study effectively for the exam:
- Review the course material: Before diving into the exam preparation, make sure to review the course material thoroughly. Review the textbook chapters, lecture notes, and lab reports.
- Practice problems: Practice problems are key to mastering the concepts and skills needed for the exam. Use the review materials provided by your teacher or textbook, or seek out additional resources online.View our AP Computer Science Principles practice test resource.
- Create flashcards: Flashcards can be a great way to memorize key concepts, equations, and terminology. Make a set of flashcards with important information and review them frequently.
- Join study groups: Study groups can provide an opportunity to work through challenging material with peers. Meet with other students to review material, discuss concepts, and work on practice problems together.
- Take practice exams: Practice exams can help you get familiar with the format and structure of the actual AP Computer Science Principles test. Use past AP Computer Science Principles Exams or practice tests from online resources.
- Seek out additional resources: There are many online resources available to help students prepare for the AP Computer Science Principles Exam. Consider using online review materials, video tutorials, and online study groups. Some popular AP Computer Science Principles exam prep resources include
- The College Board’s AP Computer Science Principles course and exam description
- Crash Course’s AP Computer Science Principles videos on YouTube
- Barron’s AP Computer Science Principles book
- Take 1-1 private tuitions: The Wiingy AP Computer Science Principles tutoring program adheres completely to the AP Computer Science Principles course outline. The platform has expert AP Computer Science Principles tutors who can help you with concepts, coursework homework help, and test-prep to help you get a top grade on the exam
Power Tip: Refer to the Wiingy AP Computer Science Principles Exam Guide for detailed information on the AP Computer Science Principles Exam and strategies to ace the test.
Remember, effective studying requires consistent effort over time. Start preparing early, stay focused, and stay positive.
Compared to other AP courses like AP Calculus, AP Physics, and AP Chemistry, AP CSP is typically considered to be a relatively easy AP course. With rigorous practice sessions and focused learning, anyone can achieve great scores in this subject and get good college credits.
The course covers a wide range of topics, including problem-solving, data analysis, algorithms, programming, and the societal impacts of computing. By engaging in hands-on projects and collaborative activities, students gain valuable insights into the power of computing and its relevance in today’s world. The AP Computer Science Principles exam consists of two main components: the Create Performance Task and the Explore Performance Task.
In 2022, the passing rate for AP Computer Science Principles was 63.5%, higher than the average for other AP exams. The mean score for AP CSP in 2022 was 2.9, indicating that students tend to perform well on this exam compared to the average AP exam.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is AP Computer Science Principles harder than AP Computer Science A?
The difficulty level of AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) and AP Computer Science A (CSA) can depend on individual strengths and prior knowledge. However, AP CSA is generally considered more challenging due to its focus on programming concepts and more advanced topics. At the same time, AP CSP has a broader focus on computing principles and their impact on society. The difficulty rating of both the subjects are similar , as well as the passing rate and mean score. It indicates that the difficulty varies based on students who prefer theoretical subjects and those who prefer practical applications.
Is it worth taking AP Computer Science Principles?
Yes, it can be worth taking AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) as it provides an introductory-level understanding of computer science concepts, including programming, data analysis, and the impact of computing on society. It can also help to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which can be valuable in various careers. Additionally, earning a high score on the AP CSP exam can earn college credit, saving time and money on future college courses.
Can you take AP Computer Science Principles with no experience?
In AP computer science A students learn about Java programming, algorithms, data structure, and software development principles, while in AP computer science principles students learn about different concepts of computing, including data analysis, programming, and social implications of technology. Students can learn AP computer science principles without any prior experience but they need some prior experience in computer science for AP computer science A.
How long is the AP CSP exam?
The AP Computer Science Principles test comprises one multiple-choice part that takes two hours to complete. The exam also includes a Create Performance Task that must be done outside of test time.
Is AP Computer Science Principles for beginners?
Yes, AP computer science is the best AP course for beginners who are interested in taking an AP computer science course. You don’t need any kind of experience or knowledge related to computer science for this course.