AP Computer Science Principles Exam Guide | Fiveable (2024)

Your Guide to the 2024 AP Computer Science Principles Exam

We know that studying for your AP exams can be stressful, but Fiveable has your back! We created a study plan to help you crush your AP Computer Science Principles exam. This guide will continue to update with information about the 2024 exams, as well as helpful resources to help you do your best on test day.Unlock Cram Modefor access to our cram events—students who have successfully passed their AP exams will answer your questions and guide your last-minute studying LIVE! And don't miss out on unlimited access to our database of thousands of practice questions.

Format of the 2024 AP CSP Exam

Going into test day, this is the exam format to expect:

  • Performance Task (30% of score)

    • 9 hours in-class time

    • Requirements

      • Video of the program running

      • Your written responses about your program and development process

      • Program code

  • Multiple Choice (70% of score)

    • 70 questions

    • 2 hours

    • Three types of multiple-choice questions:

      • 57 Single-select (regular)

      • 5 Single-select with a reading passage (about computing innovation)

      • 8 Multi-select (2 correct answers)

Scoring Rubric for the 2024 AP CSP Exam

Performance Task (6 points total)

Multiple Choice: Earn a point for each correct answer. There is no penalty for incorrect answers.

Check out our study plan below to find resources and tools to prepare for your AP CSP exam.

When is the 2024 AP CSP Exam and How Do I Take It?


The performance task is due April 30, 2024 (11:59 p.m. ET).


The multiple-choice exam is Wednesday, May 15, 2024 at 12:00 PM, your local time on paper, at your school.

How Should I Prepare for the Exam?

  • First, download the AP Computer Science Principles Cheatsheet PDF - a single sheet that covers everything you need to know at a high level. Take note of your strengths and weaknesses!

  • We've put together the study plan found below to help you study between now and May. This will cover all of the units and essay types to prepare you for your exam. Pay special attention to the units that you need the most improvement in.

  • Study, practice, and review for test day with other students during our live cram sessions viaCram Mode. Cram live streams will teach, review, and practice important topics from AP courses, college admission tests, and college admission topics. These streams are hosted by experienced students who know what you need to succeed.

Pre-Work: Set Up Your Study Environment

Before you begin studying, take some time to get organized.

🖥 Create a study space.

Make sure you have a designated place at home to study. Somewhere you can keep all of your materials, where you can focus on learning, and where you are comfortable. Spend some time prepping the space with everything you need and you can even let others in the family know that this is your study space.

📚 Organize your study materials.

Get your notebook, textbook, prep books, or whatever other physical materials you have. Also, create a space for you to keep track of review. Start a new section in your notebook to take notes or start a Google Doc to keep track of your notes. Get yourself set up!

📅 Plan designated times for studying.

The hardest part about studying from home is sticking to a routine. Decide on one hour every day that you can dedicate to studying. This can be any time of the day, whatever works best for you. Set a timer on your phone for that time and really try to stick to it. The routine will help you stay on track.

🏆 Decide on an accountability plan.

How will you hold yourself accountable to this study plan? You may or may not have a teacher or rules set up to help you stay on track, so you need to set some for yourself. First, set your goal. This could be studying for x number of hours or getting through a unit. Then, create a reward for yourself. If you reach your goal, then x. This will help stay focused!

AP CSP 2024 Study Plan

🕹 Big Idea 1: Creative Development

This unit is all about computing innovations: what they are, how they work, and how they're made and fixed.

  • Intro to Big Idea 1: Creative Development and Collaboration

  • Program Function and Purpose

  • Program Design and Development

  • Identifying and Correcting Errors

⚙️ Big Idea 2: Data

This unit is all about how computers represent data, and how they can store and process ever-increasing quantities of it.

  • Intro to Big Idea 2: Data and Binary Numbers

  • Data Compression

  • Extracting Information from Data

  • Using Programs with Data

📱 Big Idea 3: Algorithms and Programming

An algorithm is a set of instructions used to accomplish a specific task or solve a problem. Sound familiar? The definition of an algorithm is very close to the definition of a program. That said, there are some major differences. The key difference is that an algorithm represents the problem-solving logic, while a program is how you carry it out. Programs execute algorithms. In this unit, you'll learn all about them.

  • Variables and Assignments

  • Data Abstraction

  • Mathematical Expressions

  • Strings

  • Boolean Expressions

  • Conditionals

  • Nested Conditionals

  • Iteration

  • Developing Algorithms

  • Lists

  • Binary Search

  • Calling Procedures

  • Developing Procedures

  • Libraries

  • Random Values

  • Simulations

  • Algorithmic Efficiency

  • Undecidable Problems

🖥 Big Idea 4: Computer Systems and Networks

This Big Idea focuses on computer systems and networks: what they are, how they work, and how they can be used to help you speed up your programs. One of the biggest connectors of computer systems is the Internet, and a great deal of this guide also covers how the internet works.

  • The Internet

  • Fault Tolerance

  • Parallel and Distributed Computing

⌨️ Big Idea 5: Impact of Computing

The rise of the internet has led to a rise in the amount of data and human capital available to researchers. This free flow of data and information makes identifying and solving problems easier, and more people have access to the solution once it's found. Think about all the problems you've been able to solve with a quick Google Search, where before you'd have to consult a manual or a professional.

The spirit of collaboration the internet can foster (on a good day) extends to larger, more formal systems as well. Two examples are known as Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing.

  • Beneficial and Harmful Effects

  • Digital Divide

  • Computing Bias

  • Crowdsourcing

  • Legal and Ethical Concerns

  • Safe Computing

More resources:

  • Exam Prep and Test Strategies

  • Best Quizlet Decks for AP Computer Science Principles

AP Computer Science Principles Exam Guide | Fiveable (2024)


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