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Should I take AP computer science A or AP computer science principles?

High School Teacher Communicates with Students Using Digital Devices in Technology Class

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If you’re thinking of pursuing computer science and want to start earning college credit in high school, you’re probably debating between taking the principles of AP computer science and AP A computer science.

These two advanced placement courses contain similar content, but the specifics and forms of the examination differ.

AP computer science A course and exam focusing on Java -related computing skills. The principles of computer science in AP are a broader, conceptual view of the field of computer science. You can take one, the other, or both. Here’s what you need to know to help you decide.

What does AP computer science A cover?

AP computer science One semester and emphasizes the use of Java. Since Java is a broad programming language, the course focuses on object-oriented programming and design.

The AP computer science A course includes 10 units of content. During class, you will gain an understanding of coding by using Java to write and test code as you explore topics such as modularity, variables, arrays, and the impact of computing.

By the time the course is over, you will have the skills to:

  • Design programs
  • Develop algorithms
  • Writing and executing code
  • Test and code the document

As part of the AP computer science A course, you will complete a minimum of 20 hours of hands-on lab work.

No prior computer science course is required to enroll in AP computer science A.

However, the College Board – which oversees the AP exams – recommends:

  • High school level proficiency in English and algebra
  • Familiarity with functions
  • Familiarity with the Cartesian coordinate system

The course builds on basic mathematical reasoning skills. Think about this with your advisor before signing up.

You will take the AP computer science A exam at the end of the semester. It will last three hours and have two sections. Each lasts 90 minutes and counts for half the overall grade.

The first section consists of 40 multiple-choice questions. You can use a dataset to answer many questions.

The second section of the AP computer science A exam includes four free -to -answer questions. You answer each question by writing code. The questions focused on the following topics:

  • Methods and control structure
  • class
  • Array and ArrayList
  • 2D row

What do the principles of AP computer science cover?

AP’s computer science principles are a comprehensive look at the field of computer science. You learn five major concepts from computer science:

  • Creative development
  • Data
  • Algorithm and programming
  • Computer systems and networks
  • Computational effect

The teacher chooses the programming language you use as you progress through the curricula. You will learn to:

  • Make connections between computing concepts
  • Design programs to solve a problem or complete a task
  • Analyze computational work
  • Apply calculation and modeling abstractions

You also get the ability to communicate about technology and calculation and work collaboratively to solve problems.

There are no prerequisites for AP computer science principles. Recommended by the College Board to be familiar with:

  • Algebra in high school
  • Linear functions
  • Problem -solving strategies

If you want to take AP computer science A and AP computer science principles, you can complete them in any order.

The AP computer science principle exam consists of two parts.

You will spend at least 12 hours of class time completing a “Creating a Performance Task.” This makes up 30% of your overall grade. You design and implement code that creatively solves a problem or expresses your interests. You can also create a video and written responses to the prompts.

The final assessment consists of 70 multiple-choice questions that you can complete in two hours.

Multiple-choice questions fall into three categories, according to the College Board:

  • A selection of questions
  • A selection of questions with a reading passage about a computer revolution
  • Multiple-choice questions

This test is 70% of the overall exam grade.

There is no specific schedule for the two AP computer science courses.

However, if you are new to computer science and programming, we recommend taking the AP computer science principles first.

The focus of AP computer science A on Java and object-oriented programming can be intimidating for beginners. In addition, once you understand the big ideas of computer science – as covered by the AP principles of computer science – you can apply them to programming.

The level of difficulty in each course will vary depending on your background, skills, and interests. Many students find AP computer science A more difficult because of its hands-on activities and narrower scope.

The principles of AP computer science cover a broad aspect of the discipline. This can be stressful for some students.

A basic understanding of computer science will benefit you in the same computer science course as the AP.

Computer science can be difficult. However, there are computer science resources to help you manage the requirements of AP computer science courses.

A quick Google search will get study guides for the exams in both courses. The education provider Codecademy offers even an in -depth AP computer science A practical resource.

READ BY: Codecademy Review

In conclusion

Taking an AP computer science course builds knowledge in the field no matter what you have completed.

AP computer science A teaches you about coding and its functions, while AP computer science principles reflect the broad plagues of the discipline.

Any AP course can count toward college credit requirements, another benefit of enrolling in one or more classes.

This article was reviewed by Monali Mirel Chuatico

Monali Mirel Chuatico, a woman with long black hair, smiled with a shot to the head.

In 2019, Monali Mirel Chuatico graduated with her bachelor’s in computer science, giving her the foundation she needs to succeed in roles such as data engineer, front-end developer, UX designer, and computer science instructor.

Monali is now a data engineer at Mission Lane. As a captain in data analytics at a nonprofit called COOP Careers, Monali helps recent graduates and young professionals overcome job shortages by teaching them the tools to analyze data and mentoring them on their journey of professional development.

Monali is passionate about implementing creative solutions, building community, promoting mental health, empowering women, and educating young people. Monali’s goal is to gain more experience in her field, expand her skills, and do meaningful work that will positively impact the world.

Monali Mirel Chuatico is a paid member of the Red Ventures Education Integrity Network.

Last reviewed May 3, 2022.

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