๐Ÿ“š

All Subjects

ย >ย 

โŒจ๏ธย 

AP Comp Sci P

ย >ย 

๐Ÿ™

Exam Reviews

2021 AP Computer Science Principles Exam Guide

6 min readโ€ขfebruary 24, 2021


Your guide to the 2021 AP Computer Science Principles exam

We know that studying for your AP exams can be stressful, but Fiveable has your back! We have created a study plan that will help you crush your CSP exam. We will continue to update this guide with more information about the 2021 exams, as well as helpful resources to help you score that 5. Create a Fiveable account and join our Discord to stay involved in all things AP exams! ๐Ÿ˜

Format of the 2021 AP CSP exam

This year, all AP exams will cover all units and essay types. The 2021 CSP exam format will be:
  • Performance Task (30% of score)
    • 12 hours in-class time
    • Requirements
      • Video of the program running
      • Your written responses about your program and development process
      • Program code
  • Multiple Choice (70% of score)
    • 70 questions
    • 2 hours
    • Three types of multiple choice questions:
      • Single-select (regular)
      • Single-select with a reading passage (about computing innovation)
      • Multi-select (2 correct answers)

Scoring Rubric for the 2021 AP CSP exam

Performance Task (6 points total)
  • Program purpose and function = 1 point
  • Data abstraction = 1 point
  • Managing complexity = 1 point
  • Procedural abstraction = 1 point
  • Algorithm implementation = 1 point
  • Testing = 1 point
Multiple Choice: Earn a point for each correct answer. There is no penalty for incorrect answers.
Check out our study plan below to find resources and tools to prepare for your AP CSP exam.

When is the 2021 AP CSP exam and how do I take it?

The performance task is due May 20, 2021 @ 11:59 PM ET.
The multiple choice exam will be will be administered in three administrations:ย 
  1. May 17, 2021 at 8 am, your local time on paper, at your school.
  2. May 26, 2021 at 4 pm ET digitally at your school or home.
  3. June 7, 2021 at 4 pm ET digitally at your school or home.
The tests will be taken in person at your school, unless your AP Coordinator has indicated otherwise. Create a Fiveable account to get updates on the latest 2021 exam news.ย 

How should I prepare for the exam?

  • First, download the AP Computer Science Principles Cram Chart PDF - a single sheet that covers everything you need to know at a high level. Take note of your strengths and weaknesses!ย 
  • Review every unit and question type, and focus on the areas that need the most improvement and practice. Weโ€™ve put together this plan to help you study between now and May. This will cover all of the units and essay types to prepare you for your exam
  • ย Join our Discord channel to talk to real students just like you studying for this exam! We have TAs in each subject channel to support you this Spring.ย 
  • Finally, check out our live Cram events so that you can review for the AP CSP exam with a rockstar teacher and study socially among other students!ย ย 

Pre-work: set up your study environment

Before we begin, take some time to get organized. Remote learning can be great, but it also means youโ€™ll need to hold yourself accountable more than usual.ย 
๐Ÿ–ฅ Create a study space.
Make sure you have a designated place at home to study. Somewhere you can keep all of your materials, where you can focus on learning, and where you are comfortable. Spend some time prepping the space with everything you need and you can even let others in the family know that this is your study space.ย 
๐Ÿ“š Organize your study materials.
Get your notebook, textbook, prep books, or whatever other physical materials you have. Also create a space for you to keep track of review. Start a new section in your notebook to take notes or start a Google Doc to keep track of your notes. Get yourself set up!
๐Ÿ“… Plan designated times for studying.
The hardest part about studying from home is sticking to a routine. Decide on one hour every day that you can dedicate to studying. This can be any time of the day, whatever works best for you. Set a timer on your phone for that time and really try to stick to it. The routine will help you stay on track.
๐Ÿ† Decide on an accountability plan.
How will you hold yourself accountable to this study plan? You may or may not have a teacher or rules set up to help you stay on track, so you need to set some for yourself. First set your goal. This could be studying for x number of hours or getting through a unit. Then, create a reward for yourself. If you reach your goal, then x. This will help stay focused!
๐Ÿค Get support from your peers.ย 
There are thousands of students all over the world who are preparing for their AP exams just like you! Join our Discord channel to chat, ask questions, and meet other students who are also studying for the spring exams. You can even build study groups and review material together!ย 

AP CSP 2021 study plan

๐Ÿ•นย  Big Idea 1: Creative Development

This unit is all about computing innovations: what they are, how they work, and how they're made and fixed.

โš™๏ธย  Big Idea 2: Data

This unit is all about how computers represent data, and how they can store and process ever-increasing quantities of it.

๐Ÿ“ฑย  Big Idea 3: Algorithms and Programming

An algorithm is a set of instructions used to accomplish a specific task or solve a problem. Sound familiar? The definition of an algorithm is very close to the definition of a program. That said, there are some major differences. The key difference is that an algorithm represents the problem-solving logic, while a program is how you carry it out. Programs execute algorithms. In this unit, you'll learn all about them.

๐Ÿ–ฅย  Big Idea 4: Computer Systems and Networks

This Big Idea focuses on computer systems and networks: what they are, how they work, and how they can be used to help you speed up your programs. One of the biggest connectors of computer systems is the Internet, and a great deal of this guide also covers how the internet works.

โŒจ๏ธย  Big Idea 5: Impact of Computing

The rise of the internet has led to a rise in the amount of data and human capital available to researchers. This free flow of data and information makes identifying and solving problems easier, and more people have access to the solution once it's found. Think about all the problems you've been able to solve with a quick Google Search, where before you'd have to consult a manual or a professional.
The spirit of collaboration the internet can foster (on a good day) extends to larger, more formal systems as well. Two examples are known as Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing.

More resources:

Join the live cram stream reviews! Get your cram pass now

Was this guide helpful?

๐Ÿ” Are you ready for college apps?
Take this quiz and find out!
Start Quiz
Browse Study Guides By Unit
๐Ÿ•น
Big Idea 1: Creative Development
โš™๏ธ
Big Idea 2: Data
๐Ÿ“ฑ
Big Idea 3: Algorithms and Programming
๐Ÿ–ฅ
Big Idea 4: Computer Systems and Networks
โŒจ๏ธ
Big Idea 5: Impact of Computing
โœ๏ธ
Blogs
๐Ÿ“
Exam Prep
Join us on Discord
Thousands of students are studying with us for the AP Computer Science Principles exam.
join now
๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿฝ Are you ready for the AP CSP exam?
Take this quiz for a progress check on what youโ€™ve learned this year and get a personalized study plan to grab that 5!
START QUIZ
Hours Logo
Studying with Hours = the ultimate focus mode
Start a free study session
๐Ÿ“ฑ Stressed or struggling and need to talk to someone?
Talk to a trained counselor for free. It's 100% anonymous.
Text FIVEABLE to 741741 to get started.
ยฉ 2021 Fiveable, Inc.