AP Computer Science Principles Exam Tips

These strategies will help you do your best work when completing the Create performance task.

Read all task directions and guidelines.

The AP Computer Science Principles Student Handouts (.pdf/1MB) includes tips to read before completing the performance task, such as reviewing the performance task directions and the guidelines you must adhere to while completing the Create performance task. An updated Student Handouts document was posted in fall 2023. Underline key points as you read.

Plan out your time.

Your teacher will give you at least 9 hours of in-class time to complete the Create performance task. We recommend taking time to map out your approach and what you plan to accomplish each day. This will help you stay on track and meet your goal of completing on time with a quality submission. At the end of each class, write down in a journal what you accomplished and what you plan to accomplish next. If the amount of class time provided is insufficient, you may work on your performance task outside of class.

Complete all components.

Be sure to complete and submit all components of the performance task as final in the AP Digital Portfolio by April 30, 2024, 11:59 p.m. ET. This way, your work can get scored by College Board. The Personalized Project Reference that you’ll receive on the end-of-course exam will be the one that you submitted as final in the AP Digital Portfolio. If you fail to submit your Personalized Project Reference as final by the deadline, you’ll not have access to this resource.

Answer succinctly.

Read and reread your responses to the prompts. Be sure you have answered what was asked. 


Throughout the year, your teacher will most likely give you multiple programming tasks to prepare you for completing the performance task on your own. Take these opportunities to review and understand the feedback your teacher gives you on your work. Your teacher can’t give you feedback on your final Create performance task that you upload for scoring, so these practice performance tasks are your only opportunity to get important feedback on your program.

Credit contributors.

When completing the Create performance task, you’re allowed to incorporate program code that is not your own with significant modifications, extensions, or improvements. When using the creative work or innovations of another individual, you’re required to acknowledge the creators or owners.

You can acknowledge program code that isn’t your original work by adding comments in the code. This program code cannot be used in your Personalized Project Reference, as the reference sheet should include only program code that you wrote.

Failure to acknowledge the ideas and works of others is considered plagiarism, and if the performance task contains plagiarism it will be given a score of 0. Before submitting your performance task, check that you have acknowledged all contributors.

Digital portfolio submissions.

Review these instructions to submit AP Computer Science Principles work in the AP Digital Portfolio.