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Why Should You Take AP Computer Science Principles?

Why Should You Take AP Computer Science Principles

In today’s digital age, computer science has become an integral part of our lives. From communication to entertainment, education to finance, every aspect of our daily routine is now intertwined with technology. This is where AP Computer Science Principles comes in. The course provides an opportunity for high school students to learn about computer science and its role in shaping the world.

AP Computer Science Principles is designed to be accessible to all students, regardless of their coding experience. The only prerequisite is completion of Algebra I. This means that anyone with an interest in computer science can take the course and benefit from it. During the course, students will learn the fundamental principles that support the science of computing and develop the critical thinking skills that computer scientists use.

The course provides students with hands-on experience in creating solutions to real-world problems using the tools and processes of computation. This means that students will not only learn about computer science theory, but they will also apply it to practical situations. Some of the projects that students may work on include creating health apps, designing and building robots, and creating tools for collecting donations for charitable causes.

The Advantages of This Unique Course:

One of the main benefits of taking AP Computer Science Principles is that it allows students to use their creativity to build programs that interest them. Whether it is designing a new app or creating a robot, students have the freedom to explore their interests and apply their skills in a meaningful way. In addition, the skills that students learn in the course can be applied to a wide range of careers and majors. From engineering to medicine, education to finance, computer science is a valuable asset in today’s job market.

Another benefit of taking AP Computer Science Principles is that it challenges students to think critically and develop problem-solving skills. By working on projects that address real-world issues, students will gain confidence in their abilities to tackle complex problems. In addition, the course provides an opportunity for students to work collaboratively with their peers, developing important teamwork skills that are highly valued in the workplace.

Taking AP Computer Science Principles can also open up new opportunities for students. As technology continues to shape the world, the demand for computer science skills is increasing rapidly. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of the STEM jobs available in the next decade will require computer science experience. This means that students who take AP Computer Science Principles will be well-equipped to pursue careers in a wide range of fields, from technology to healthcare, engineering to finance.

Also Read: Everything You Need To Know About AP Computer Science A

Furthermore, taking AP Computer Science Principles can lead to scholarships, paid internships, and other opportunities for high school and college students interested in computer science. By demonstrating their skills and knowledge in the course, students can stand out to college admissions officers and potential employers.

In conclusion, AP Computer Science Principles is an excellent course for high school students who are interested in computer science and its role in shaping the world. The course is designed to be accessible to all students, regardless of their coding experience, and provides hands-on experience in creating solutions to real-world problems. By taking AP Computer Science Principles, students will develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, gain confidence in their abilities, and open up new opportunities for their future careers. Talk to your school counselor to see if AP Computer Science Principles is available at your school and how you can enroll.

The Syllabus:

In this course, there essentially is no fixed syllabus. There also is no obligatory computer programming language that students must follow but this will rather be decided by the teacher. However, students will learn with respect to some basic major areas of study which are below:

This is what you’ll be learning in AP Computer Science Principles:

Major Areas of Study What you’ll learn
Creative Development Developers have the option of utilizing either a formal, iterative design process or a more flexible experimentation-based process when creating computing innovations. Regardless of the approach, developers must navigate several phases, including investigation and reflection, design, prototyping, and testing. Collaboration is a critical tool that can be employed at any stage of development.
Data Computing innovations heavily rely on data as they serve to convey initial conditions to programs and represent new knowledge.
Algorithms and Programming By integrating algorithms and abstraction, programmers are able to create programs that serve both creative and problem-solving purposes.
Computing Systems and Networks Essentially, the utilization of network will enable the sharing and transfer of important value of data
Impact of Computing Computers and technology have brought about a revolution in our daily lives. However, it is important to understand the ethical, privacy, and security concerns associated with using computing technology in a responsible and safe manner.

Additionally, by the end of this course, students would have obtained and honed the following skills listed below:

  • Computational Solution Design: Design and evaluate computational solutions for a specific problem or cause.
  • Algorithms and Program Development: Develop and implement algorithms that are feasible for programming
  • Abstraction in Program Development: Develop programs that incorporate abstractions of various features
  • Code Analysis: Evaluation and testing of the algorithms and programs devised and produced
  • Computing Innovations: Investigate computing innovations
  • Responsible Computing: Reside and contribute to an inclusive, safe, collaborative, and ethical computing culture

The Exam Template:

The AP Computer Science Principles exam overall is 2 hours long but in evaluation of your score, students are required to create a performance task during the course. It’s split into two sections – Multiple Choice, with a duration of 2 hours and Performance Task, with a duration of a minimum of 12 class hours. There will be a short break between the two sections, and you will be allowed a calculator throughout the test (standard four-function, scientific, or graphing calculators only).

Section Time Duration About the questions
Multiple Choice (70%) 2 hours This section has 70 questions both individual and in sets. The set of questions can pertain to the same graphic or data presentation. 


Single-select questions are each followed by five possible responses, only one of which is correct.

Performance Task (30%) A minimum of 12 class hours The Performance Task in AP Computer Science Principles is a major component of the course and is designed to allow students to demonstrate their understanding of computational thinking, programming concepts, and the application of computer science principles to real-world problems. The task involves developing a computer program to solve a specific problem or to create a computational artifact, such as a website or mobile app.

Students must also submit documentation of their decisions, requirements and understanding whilst doing the task. They must also submit videos of their programs running.

Grading Your Exam Papers and Previous Paper Score Statistics:

AP exams are graded on a scale of 1-5 where 5 is an extremely good score and the most you can receive. Colleges generally look for a 4 or 5 on the AP Computer Science Principles exams if you want college credit, but some may grant credit for a 3 as well. AP Computer Science Principles is not too difficult to learn as a decent majority of students do pass the examination. See the table below to find out what percentage of students scored 1-5. 

Score Percentage of students that scored
5 11.4%
4 21.0%
3 31.1%
2 19.9%
1 16.6%

In a sense, obtaining a 5/5 in this course will be quite challenging as only 11.4% of students received a 5 and a majority of students obtained a 3. However, it’s not too challenging to pass as long as you put in the effort and ask questions and receive feedback from your reach and properly reflect upon it. 

The pass rate for AP Computer Science Principles:

The percentage of students who pass the AP exam is one indicator of how challenging a particular AP class is. Scores for AP exams range from 1 to 5, with a 3 considered a passing grade like all other AP subjects. You may get a sense of how challenging the exam is for students by comparing the AP exam pass rate for AP Computer Science to the overall average. The table below shows a comparison of the pass rate and the perfect score rate for the computer science exam versus the average of the other AP subjects. 

AP Exam Pass Rate (3 or higher) Perfect Score (a 5)
AP Computer Science Principles 63.5% 11.4%
Other AP classes 64.2% 16.8%

The pass rate and percentage for AP Computer Science Principles is pretty good compared to other AP classes. Pass rates on the AP exam, however, are not a reliable indicator of how challenging a subject is. Essentially, if you are able to comprehend and implement the features and basic concepts of the course and know various programming concepts, then the subject would actually become quite simple.

In conclusion, AP Computer Science Principles is a very versatile and useful AP course that you should consider taking as it expands your career options if you haven’t decided yet and regardless of whether your major needs it or not, it still decorates your college application and proves your academic capability. It’s also not a very difficult AP course and is easy if you pay attention during classes and if you comprehend the basic principles of the concepts taught along with the syntax. 

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