You may have come across the AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) course online or heard about it at school. But you might wonder: what is this course about? Should I take AP Computer Science Principles? There are several things to consider when deciding whether to take AP CSP, especially if you are trying to decide between AP CSP or AP Computer Science A (AP CSA). Keep reading to learn more about the course and to help you decide whether to take AP Computer Science Principles.

Should I take AP Computer Science Principles?

AP Computer Science Principles (AP CSP) is an introductory computer science course that introduces students to fundamental computer science concepts and analyzes the positive and negative impacts technology has on our society. Students learn how to design and evaluate solutions to a variety of problems involving technology and develop algorithms and programs. AP CSP focuses on exploring how computing innovations and systems work and exposes students to a variety of topics within computer science, such as big data, cloud computing, and the Internet.

If you're considering whether to take AP Computer Science A (AP CSA), read How to Choose the Right AP Computer Science Course to help you decide which course is right for you.

Do colleges look at AP Computer Science Principles?

Like other AP courses, taking AP CSP is an opportunity to earn college credit. Taking AP CSP and earning 3 or higher on the exam shows that you have developed the knowledge and skills expected of a student that has completed an introductory computer science course in college. Most colleges give you college credit or allow you to skip introductory courses based on your score on the AP CSP Exam. You can find out which colleges offer credit and their minimum required score using the College Board's AP Credit Policy Search tool.

What is AP Computer Science Principles good for?

AP CSP is great for exploring a variety of topics in computer science, from how the Internet works to data science to program development. You don't need any prior knowledge or experience in computer science to take the course and be successful. AP CSP introduces you to programming so you can learn the basics of planning and writing algorithms and creating programs to solve meaningful real-world problems.

Which is harder – AP Computer Science A or Principles?

AP Computer Science A (AP CSA) is a very different course from AP CSP. AP CSA focuses entirely on programming and builds on previous knowledge of software and programming to help you learn basic software engineering skills. Take a look at AP Computer Science A: The Ultimate Guide to learn more about AP CSA.

How to Take AP Computer Science Principles

If your school doesn't offer AP CSP or if you want to get a head start, you can sign up for our live online Computer Science Principles classes. Our classes are taught by experienced instructors with a small group of 2-6 students. We cover the content for the AP CSP Exam in 12 sessions, and we offer a companion Create Performance Task class to provide support for students to complete the Create component of the AP CSP Exam. This course is also great for students to take even if they are not planning to take the AP CSP Exam.

Now you know how to decide whether to take AP Computer Science Principles

If you think AP CSP is the right course for you, sign up for our Computer Science Principles classes! Since the content is covered in 12 sessions, you might also consider taking our Python for AI classes either before or at the same time as the Computer Science Principles classes to fully prepare for the course and the AP CSP Exam.

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.