Taking AP Computer Science A may sound like a big challenge to take on, but it is definitely a rewarding experience! While you could take AP Computer Science A without taking any previous computer science or programming courses, taking courses to prepare yourself first will make it easier to expand your skills and knowledge instead of starting from scratch. A foundation in computer science and programming concepts helps you make connections as you learn Java and software design principles in AP Computer Science A. Let's take a closer look at five best AP Computer Science A prep courses you can take to get started on your path to learning about software engineering.

Join the best AP Computer Science A prep courses

These AP Computer Science A prep courses are ideal for helping you develop a foundation in computer science and programming concepts. Taking courses in a live setting with other students led by an experienced teacher gives you the guidance and support you need as you learn new skills and to help you debug your code when you run into errors. Our courses in the Coding Essentials pathway will expose you to a variety of programming languages, teach you computational thinking and problem-solving skills, and prepare you for AP Computer Science A.

1. Accelerated Scratch

In the live online Accelerated Scratch course, students create games, stories, and animations while learning key coding concepts. Scratch is a beginner-friendly coding language with a student-friendly interface that allows students to focus on the problem-solving and critical thinking aspects of programming and computer science. Students are encouraged to be creative and solve tough problems as they explore the functionality of loops, conditionals, variables, sensing, functions, and lists.

Best for: Students who are new to coding or have some experience with Scratch basics

Grades: 5-12

2. Mobile Coding for Apps and Games

In the Mobile Coding for Apps and Games course, students create powerful mobile apps and games using a block-based programming language that is similar to Scratch. Students learn about event-driven programming and consider how users will interact with their apps as they create apps that analyze data, recognize input and images, and incorporate cloud-computing concepts. Students gain experience developing apps like they have seen or interacted with in the real-world and learn how to consider the end-user of a software application.

Best for: Students who are familiar with Scratch and basic coding concepts

Grades: 4-12

3. Python for AI

In the live online Python for AI course, students learn Python, a popular programming language used in many programs and apps. Python is an ideal language for beginner or intermediate students to learn, as it allows students to focus on translating steps and solutions into code without dealing with the many syntax rules that exist in other programming languages. Students can expand their computational thinking skills to develop games, animations, and real-world projects using the Python programming language.

Best for: students who are familiar with basic coding concepts and are ready to learn a real-world programming language

Grades: 5-12

4. Build Your Web

In the Build Your Web course, students learn about how the Internet works and how to develop websites using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. Students create websites and apps that respond to user interactions and online games. Students develop an understanding of the role the Internet plays in our daily lives and explore the inner workings of the Internet, web browsers, and websites they use every day.

Best for: students who want to more about how the Internet works and how to design websites

Grades: 5-12

5. AP Computer Science Principles

The AP Computer Science Principles course introduces students to the fundamentals of computer science, including big data, the Internet, and computing systems. Students learn about computer science beyond programming to explore how computing systems work and their potential impacts on society. AP Computer Science Principles teaches students to evaluate the role of technology in our society and consider solutions to improve our daily lives.

Best for: Students who want to learn more about how technology works

Grades: 6-12

Don’t miss the best AP computer science prep courses

These prep courses will help students develop the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in AP Computer Science A. Students can develop fundamental programming skills and gain foundational knowledge of computing systems and technology to inform how they design software as they learn the Java programming language. Students can also strengthen their knowledge and skills by participating in coding clubs!

Written by Jamila Cocchiola who has always been fascinated with technology and its impact on the world. The technologies that emerged while she was in high school showed her all the ways software could be used to connect people, so she learned how to code so she could make her own! She went on to make a career out of developing software and apps before deciding to become a teacher to help students see the importance, benefits, and fun of computer science.