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Important Updates

Announcing New AP CSP Endorsed Providers
We're excited to announce that the College Board has endorsed additional AP CSP ready-to-use curricula that come with preapproved syllabi, lesson plans, and other instructional supports, delivered by expert education organizations. Find out more.

AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award Winners
1,020 schools are being recognized for their work toward equal gender representation during the 2020-21 school year. Find out more.

Research on AP Computer Science Principles
See findings of a 2020 research report on diversity in AP Computer Science Principles, the course’s link to college major choice, and more.

AP Classroom and AP Daily
Teachers and students can access short, searchable AP Daily videos in AP Classroom. Videos can be assigned as homework to encourage students to watch on their own, so you can use class time to focus discussions where students need more help. Designed with AP educators, AP Classroom helps you provide students daily practice and personalized feedback throughout the year. Sign in to access your question bank, topic questions, and AP Daily videos. Students can also access the AP Digital Portfolio through AP Classroom.

Sign In to AP Classroom

Course Overview

AP Computer Science Principles is an introductory college-level computing course that introduces students to the breadth of the field of computer science. Students learn to design and evaluate solutions and to apply computer science to solve problems through the development of algorithms and programs. They incorporate abstraction into programs and use data to discover new knowledge. Students also explain how computing innovations and computing systems—including the internet—work, explore their potential impacts, and contribute to a computing culture that is collaborative and ethical.

Course Content

Based on the Understanding by Design® (Wiggins and McTighe) model, the AP Computer Science Principles Course and Exam Description provides a clear and detailed description of the course requirements necessary for student success. The course is designed to be equivalent to a first-semester introductory college computing course. The major areas of study in the course are organized around big ideas that encompass ideas foundational to studying computer science.

The AP Computer Science Principles course framework is organized into five big ideas. As always, you have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like.

Big Idea Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)

Big Idea 1: Creative Development


Big Idea 2: Data


Big Idea 3: Algorithms and Programming


Big Idea 4: Computer Systems and Networks


Big Idea 5: Impact of Computing


Computational Thinking Practices

The AP Computer Science Principles course framework included in the course and exam description outlines distinct skills from computational thinking practices that students should practice and develop throughout the year—skills that will help them learn to think and act like computer scientists. Emphasis is placed on creativity and collaboration as pedagogical strategies to be used to develop a diverse, appealing, and inclusive classroom environment.

Computational Thinking Practice Description Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)

1. Computational Solution Design

Design and evaluate computational solutions for a purpose.


2. Algorithms and Program Development

Develop and implement algorithms.


3. Abstraction in Program Development

Develop programs that incorporate abstractions.


4. Code Analysis

Evaluate and test algorithms and programs.


5. Computing Innovations

Investigate computing innovations.


6. Responsible Computing

Contribute to an inclusive, safe, collaborative, and ethical computing culture.

Not assessed

AP and Higher Education

AP Computer Science Principles was created with significant support from the National Science Foundation and more than 50 leading high school and higher education computer science educators who piloted the program at their institutions. Over 950 colleges and universities offer credit and placement policies for AP CSP and more will be communicated over the next year. The College Board is actively working with institutions to develop and publish their credit and placement policies for AP CSP.

Visit the AP Higher Education site for higher education support and resources, as well as information on recruitment, admissions, and credit and placement policies.

Meet the Development Committee for AP Computer Science Principles.