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AP CSP exam overview

Studying for the exam? This overview will give you an idea of what to expect and what we cover here.

Exam format

The 2021 AP Computer Science Principles Exam is 2 hours long and includes approximately 70 multiple-choice questions.
There will be three types of questions:
  • Single-select questions (57 questions)
  • Single-select questions based on a reading passage (5 questions)
  • Multi-select questions (8 questions)
Make sure you read the questions carefully and select as many answers as requested.

Exam topics

The AP CSP exam covers the following topics:
Big ideaApproximate % of exam questions
Big idea 1: Creative Development10-13%
Big idea 2: Data17-22%
Big idea 3: Algorithms and Programming30-35%
Big idea 4: Computer Systems and Networks11-15%
Big idea 5: Impact of Computing21-26%

Exam reference sheet

The AP CSP exam includes a reference sheet which describes a common pseudocode for programming questions. The reference sheet is on page 205 of the exam description.
Keep the reference handy during programming questions to help you understand the code used in the questions.

More details

For the official description of the AP Computer Science Principles exam, please consult the College Board AP CSP exam site.

Want to join the conversation?

  • aqualine tree style avatar for user The Marvelous Cracker (TMC)

    I do not know where I should ask this so I will ask it here.

    I am home schooled and I do not have an AP CSP instructor. I am prepping for the test and it is very difficult, so I was wondering if you could answer a few questions for me.

    *1.* For the Create Performance task, may I use the Khan Academy JavaScript environment?

    *2.* If I can use it, what environment or code editor should I say I'm using?

    *3.* Could you please give me some tips on learning hexadecimal?

    4. Could you give me some tips or links to lessons on how to do both the Performance tasks?

    Please answer me as soon as possible since I am taking the test in May and so have only 6 more months to prepare.

    Thank you so much for your help. :)
    (6 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user 265721
    Hi, can the Khan Academy team give an update on the Exam Format for the 2023 APCSP Exam?

    (7 votes)
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  • primosaur ultimate style avatar for user Gregg Sanchez
    How much is a 5 on the AP CSP exam?
    (1 vote)
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    • stelly green style avatar for user Maria M
      From what I have heard the score percentages are not decided until all the tests have been graded, from there they will divide up the scores. For example, if the highest scores were not 100% you wouldn't need a 100% to get a 5.
      (1 vote)
  • duskpin sapling style avatar for user Shadowlit
    Do you guys have an updated version for the 2020 exam after the pandemic happened? I know they've removed some units, but I'm not sure exactly what the changes are, and this still shows the old exam format.
    (0 votes)
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    • stelly green style avatar for user King
      This year, there will be no two hour exam that tests the knowledge of the units that have been taught throughout the school year.

      Instead, you are asked to create the Create and Explore performance tasks by May 26th at PM EST.

      Create will take 60% of your overall score.
      Explore will take 40% of your overall score.

      No further documentation needs to be provided by your instructor to prove that you have learned the concepts.
      (2 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user HI
    I am trying to self study this test. How do I send performance task?
    (0 votes)
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