AP Computer Science Principles

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About the Exam

Important Update

Updated April 8  You can now download the digital testing application and take digital practice to prepare for the testing experience. See below for more information on digital practice and taking the digital exam.

2021 AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) end-of-course exams will be offered on paper in early May and as a digital exam in late May and early June.

All versions of the end-of-course exam will cover the full scope of course content, giving you the opportunity to qualify for college credit and placement. Both the paper and digital versions of the end-of-course exam will contain the typical multiple-choice section.

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP Computer Science Principles only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

Learn more about 2021 testing.

As the exam approaches, take advantage of AP Daily: Live Review sessions April 19–29.

Exam Overview
The AP Computer Science Principles Exam has two parts: the Create performance task—which you’ll complete over the course of the year and submit online for scoring through the AP Digital Portfolio—and the end-of-course multiple-choice exam. Both measure your proficiency in and grasp of the course practices and content, and both contribute to your final AP score on a scale of 1–5.

Digital Practice and Testing Information

Updated April 8

Digital Practice Now Available

Starting April 8, you can try out the test-day experience, by answering example questions in the digital testing application. See the Digital Practice page for general information about practice options.

AP Computer Science Principles students will have two options to answer example questions in the digital testing application. Both provide approximately the same time limit per question as the full exam.

  • Digital Practice has a shortened multiple-choice section: 17 questions, 30 minutes.
  • The App Demo is an even shorter subset–5 questions–of the Digital Practice.

We highly recommend you take the Digital Practice, and strongly advise that if you can’t take the Digital Practice, at least take the App Demo. Both can be taken multiple times, and can be accessed directly in the digital testing application. You can access your answers and an MCQ answer key for Digital Practice. Note: Taking the App Demo after completing Digital Practice may override your answers from Digital Practice.

Taking the Digital Exam

You should be aware of some aspects of testing digitally that you’ll encounter–in the Digital Practice and on exam day:

  • The AP CSP Exam Reference Sheet can be accessed with the Reference button in the upper right button bar of the application. The interface and layout are different in the digital testing application than in the paper exam booklet, so you should take a look when you take digital practice.
  • You cannot go back to questions you’ve already answered, and cannot skip ahead. 
  • Exam directions will not be read by a proctor–they’ll appear entirely in the application. You’ll see them at the beginning of each section, and can access them at any time during the exam. Please note that the exam timer starts when the directions appear. While you should read the directions, be aware that the timer will be running while you do so. You can view the full text of the exam and section directions in advance of the exam.

Exam Dates

Exams Previously Scheduled for May 13

To avoid conflicts for students observing Eid al Fitr, no exams are scheduled for Thursday, May 13. Exams previously scheduled for May 13, including the AP CSP end-of-course exam, will instead be administered on Monday, May 17.

  • Thu, May 20, 2021,
    11:59 PM EDT

    AP Computer Science Principles Create Performance Task Due Date

    You must submit your final Create AP Computer Science Principles performance task via the AP Digital Portfolio by this time.

  • Mon, May 17, 2021,
    8 AM Local

    Paper, In School

    AP Computer Science Principles End-of-Course Exam

    This is the Administration 1 date for the AP Computer Science Principles Exam.

  • Wed, May 26, 2021,
    4 PM EDT

    Digital, In School and At Home

    AP Computer Science Principles End-of-Course Exam

    This is the Administration 2 date for the AP Computer Science Principles Exam.

  • Mon, Jun 7, 2021,
    4 PM EDT

    Digital, In School and At Home

    AP Computer Science Principles End-of-Course Exam

    This is the Administration 3 date for the AP Computer Science Principles Exam.

Exam Components

Note on 2021 Exams

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP Computer Science Principles only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

The 2021 AP Computer Science Principles end-of-course exams is multiple choice and can be taken as either paper (early May) or digital (late May, early June). Regardless of which End-of-Course Exam you take, your Create performance task is due by 11:59 PM EDT on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

12hrs 30% of Score

For this part of the exam, you’ll develop a computer program of your choice: one that solves a problem, enables an innovation, or helps you express personal interests.

You’ll be given a minimum of 12 hours of in-class time to complete the task. You’ll submit these items through the AP Digital Portfolio application for scoring:

  • A video of your program running
  • Individual written responses about your program and development process
  • Program code

2hrs 70 multiple-choice questions, 4 answer options, 70% of Score

The end-of-course multiple-choice exam is a paper-and-pencil written exam. It contains three types of multiple-choice questions:

  • Single-select multiple-choice: You select 1 answer from 4 options
  • Single-select with reading passage about a computing innovation: You select 1 answer from 4 options.
  • Multiple-select multiple-choice: You select 2 answers from 4 options

How We Score Your Work

The Create performance task, like the end-of-course exam given in May, is scored by College Board. The scoring is done by trained, experienced educators called AP Readers.

Exam Preparation

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