AP Computer Science Principles Crash Course

AP Computer Science Principles Crash Course

by Jacque Corricelli


$13.46 $14.95 Save 10% Current price is $13.46, Original price is $14.95. You Save 10%.
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Monday, November 26

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780738612348
Publisher: Research & Education Association
Publication date: 02/09/2018
Series: Advanced Placement (AP) Crash Course
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 74,316
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 15 - 17 Years

About the Author

Jacqueline Corricelli earned her B.A. in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Connecticut and her M.S. in Mathematics Secondary Education at Westfield State University in Massachusetts.

In 2013, she received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching, the United States' highest honor for K-12 teachers of mathematics and science (including computer science).

In 2017, she was one of just 10 teachers to be honored with the Computer Science Teaching Excellence Award. This international award is sponsored by Infosys Foundation USA; the Association for Computing Machinery, the world's leading computing society; and the Computer Science Teachers Association.

Ms. Corricelli teaches AP Computer Science Principles at Conard High School, West Hartford, Connecticut, and serves as an independent consultant to the College Board for the AP Computer Science Principles Course.

Read an Excerpt


Keys for Success on the AP Computer Science Principles Exam

The AP Computer Science Principles course and exam can be completed successfully by anyone who has access to a computer and a love of learning. In your research about this AP course and exam, you have probably realized that there are quite a few different ways to learn what you need to know. You may have even followed the "rabbit holes" of information online and learned that you need a way to (1) get the essential knowledge, (2) figure out what you need to do to score well, and (3) find one resource (rather than twenty different tabs) that you can trust.

This Crash Course is designed to help you get the best score on your AP Computer Science Principles exam by providing the information that you need to know, helping you manage your time to complete the performance tasks, and helping you find resources that you can trust.

Remember: Succeeding on the AP Computer Science Principles exam is definitely within your reach, especially when you study strategically with this Crash Course book!


The AP Computer Science Principles exam consists of three parts: two performance tasks and an End-of-Course multiple-choice exam. 40% of your score comes from the two performance tasks and 60% of your score comes from the End-of-Course Exam. The two performance tasks are completed and submitted to the College Board prior to taking the End-of-Course Exam, which is administered in May.

The Explore Performance Task

The actual title of this task is "Explore — Impact of Computing Innovations." This task is worth 16% of your AP exam score and takes about 8 hours to complete. In this task you will research a computing innovation that interests you.

To complete the task, you will submit a computational artifact and written responses to prompts provided by the College Board. Part I of this book is devoted to helping you prepare for and execute the Explore Performance Task.

The Create Performance Task

Also known as the "Create — Applications from Ideas" task, this task is worth 24% of your AP exam score and takes about 12 hours to complete. This task involves creating a program as a way to express yourself, solve a problem, or understand something better.

In this task you will design a program of your choice and submit a video of your program running and your program code. You will also submit written responses about your program and your development process to prompts provided by the College Board. Part II of this book focuses on helping you with the Create Performance Task.

Both performance tasks will require that you have access to a computer to type your responses and find solutions to research questions and programming problems.

The End-of-Course Exam

The final part of the AP Computer Science Principles course is the End-of-Course Exam. This is a multiple-choice exam that contains approximately 74 questions with four answer choices: (A) through (D). It is worth 60% of your AP exam score, and 2 hours is allotted to complete the exam.


Your Explore Performance Task, your Create Performance Task and your End-of-Course Exam will all be scored independently.

The End-of-Course Exam is scored by machine. There are two types of questions and there is no partial credit for either question type.

(1) Single-Select Multiple Choice — only one answer choice is correct

(2) Multiple-Select Multiple Choice — two answer choices are correct

Each of the 74 questions is worth one point and your score is based on the number of questions answered correctly. Points are not deducted for incorrect answers, and no points are awarded for unanswered questions. For the multiple-select multiple-choice questions, you must choose both of the correct answers to receive credit.

The Explore Performance Task and Create Performance Task are scored during the annual AP Exam Reading, which takes place in June. AP Computer Science Principles teachers and college instructors apply a scoring guide for these items and award points based on those guidelines.

The scores from your performance tasks and the end-of-course exam are then combined and converted to a 1-to-5 AP scale.

The College Board uses a formula (which changes slightly from year to year) to rank your combined performance task grades and your End-of-Course exam grade into five categories:

5 = Extremely Well Qualified

4 = Well Qualified

3 = Qualified

2 = Possibly Qualified

1 = No Recommendation

Some colleges and universities accept scores of 3, 4, or 5 for college credit, but some only accept 4s and 5s. Some colleges do not award credit for an AP test, so it is important that you research the policies of the colleges you are interested in attending. Also, be aware that colleges and universities can change their AP acceptance policies at any time. Stay up-to-date by checking the latest AP policies on their websites.


Part III of this book focuses on helping you get ready for these questions and includes sample multiple-choice questions.


Using the College Board's Digital Portfolio, a Web-based application, you will submit five final performance task artifacts, three artifacts for the Create task and two artifacts for the Explore task.

Your AP Teacher will receive approval at the start of the school year to access the Digital Portfolio. He or she will set up a class that you will need to access. If you have taken an SAT or PSAT, you most likely already have an account with the College Board.

You will use the same information to go to www.collegeboard.org/ digital-portfolio to connect your account to your AP Computer Science Principles class. Your AP teacher will confirm your enrollment.

Once done, you'll be all set to submit your artifacts, your written responses for the performance tasks, and indicate your intent to take the End-of-Course Exam.

Remember, your final performance task artifacts and written responses must be submitted by the end of April.


REA's Crash Course contains essential information for the AP Computer Science Principles tasks and End-of-Course Exam. You should, however, supplement this book with materials from your course and the College Board.

The AP Computer Science Principles Course Description booklet from the College Board shares information about the course and the exam, and includes sample questions. Additionally, the College Board's AP Central website (www.apcentral.collegeboard.org) contains review materials, including sample responses for the performance tasks and scoring guidelines.


1. Plan to show up at the exam site at least 20 minutes before the scheduled start time for the exam.

2. Bring two fresh No. 2 pencils with clean erasers and two working blue- or black-ink pens.

3. Be prepared to turn in your cell phone and other electronic devices at the beginning of the exam. You might want to just leave them home!

4. The exam proctor will read a lot of instructions — be patient. Plan to spend more than the allotted 2 hours at the exam site.

5. Answer every multiple-choice question, even if you have to guess. Remember, there is no deduction for an incorrect answer but no points can be earned for unanswered questions. If you're stuck, give it your best guess.

6. When you're done, relax ... sit back and wait for your passing score to arrive!


Introduction to the Explore Performance Task


A. The Explore Performance Task consists of three main parts:

1. Researching a computing innovation.

2. Creating a computational artifact.

3. Writing responses to prompts in the task, including in-text citations.

B. The task is worth 16 percent of your AP Computer Science Principles score.

C. In the Explore Performance Task, you will do research to create a computational artifact. This artifact is visual, graphical, or video content created using a computer. The research you will be doing to complete this task has to do with a computing innovation.

D. The Explore Performance Task should take a minimum of 8 hours to complete. For example, if you spend 45 minutes each day on this task, it will take you a minimum of 11 days to finish it.

E. This task, along with the Create Performance Task (see chapters 8–15), needs to be completed and submitted to the College Board using the Digital Portfolio by April 30.


A. The Explore Performance Task is a focused research project about a computing innovation.

B. The Explore Performance Task must be done independently by you. No collaboration with others is permitted.

C. Be sure to read about the Explore Performance Task, as well as the scoring guidelines, available online at apcentral. collegeboard.org.

D. To maximize your score, answer each prompt and always cite any source you are using.


A. Brainstorm

1. Your topic is the center of your Explore Performance Task. The topic should be a computing innovation that satisfies all of the following requirements:

i. The innovation must be a computing innovation. To determine if it is a computing innovation, ask yourself the following question: Does a computer or program/ code make it work? If your answer is "no," it is not a computing innovation, and you should not use this innovation for this project. If your answer is "yes," this innovation may be a good fit for this project.

ii. The computing innovation will have, did have, or already has had the potential to have both beneficial and harmful significant effects on a society, a culture, or an economy.

iii. The computing innovation consumes, produces, and transforms data.

iv. The computing innovation raises at least one data storage concern, data privacy concern, or data security concern.

2. In the Explore Performance Task, you will also create an artifact that should educate a viewer about the innovation you have chosen. Your artifact should be largely non-text, such as an illustration, video, or audio that explains the computing innovation's intended purpose, function, or effect.

3. Your artifact must accomplish all of the following:

i. clearly identify the innovation by name;

ii. provide an illustration, representation, or explanation of the innovation's purpose, function, or effect;

iii. show that you understand that the computer is a tool to express your innovation's purpose, function, or effect in a way that you could not do by words alone;

iv. be a video, audio, or pdf file created by you using a computer.

4. When brainstorming your topic, choose a topic that is meaningful to you.

5. Your written responses and your artifact are based on your research of the computing innovation.

6. When generating ideas, ask yourself the following questions:

i. What computing innovation has made a difference in my life?

ii. What computing innovation inspired me to want to learn more about computer science?

iii. What computing innovation is related to my future "dream job"?

iv. What computing innovation do I use in my spare time?

B. Research

1. In this step, you will decide on your topic and research it.

2. Later in this performance task when you write responses to the prompts (see chapters 4–7), you will need to cite at least three online or print sources.

i. Two of the sources must have been created after the end of the last academic year.

ii. At least two of the sources must be available online or in print; your third source may be online, in print, or a personal interview with an expert on the computing innovation.

3. You will use the Internet for much of your research. Be sure you are using credible sources.

4. Keep in mind the following criteria when evaluating whether a source is credible or not:

i. Purpose — The article should be written to inform, not persuade or sell.

ii. Author — The author(s) should be named and related to the field that you are researching.

iii. Date — The date of the source should be current for your innovation. Remember, at least two sources need to have been created after the end of the last academic year.

5. Here is a partial list of reputable sources to help begin your research:

i. ACM TechNews (technews.acm.org) — This collection of computer science innovations is usually current, and the edition date is found on the homepage. The archives also contain resources that may be timely enough to use for your task.

ii. Science Daily (sciencedaily.com) — This is a constantly evolving collection of articles on scientific innovations. Most articles are current. Many of the discoveries noted are a direct result of computing innovations.

iii. National Public Radio (NPR) Technology News (npr.org/sections/technology) — This is a collection of technology articles and/or recordings related to current issues.

iv. Google Scholar (scholar.google.com) — This Google search tool returns scholarly articles on topics. It may be best to use this tool after you have narrowed down your choices on the innovation you want to write about for your task.

v. Futurism (futurism.com) — This is a website with links to cutting-edge science articles, infographics, and stories.

6. Make sure you have researched the impact of your topic.

i. When doing your research, be on the lookout for both the harm and the benefit of the innovation to a society, a culture, or an economy.

ii. Look for at least three good sources when you begin. If you need more sources, you can find them while you are writing.

iii. One of the effects (harmful or beneficial) needs to be significant. To maximize your score for this performance task, you need a statement that shows broad social, economic, or cultural impact. The impact needs to affect more people than just those who own or use the innovation.

iv. Cultural Impact: To show cultural impact, you will need to show evidence that the innovation has caused rules of behavior to change among people in society. Below is an example of how you might give evidence of cultural impact.

* Example of an innovation with cultural impact: social media

* Evidence: You might cite the following research:

– Source 1: An article stating that elections have been impacted by social media "get-out-thevote" campaigns that result in higher voter turnout.


Excerpted from "AP Computer Science Principles Crash Course"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Research & Education Association, Inc..
Excerpted by permission of Research & Education Association.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

About Our Book v

About Rea vi

About Our Author vii

Chapter 1 Keys for Success on the AP Computer Science Principles Exam 1

Part I The Explore Performance Task

Chapter 2 Introduction to the Explore Performance Task 9

Chapter 3 Creating the Explore Performance Task Computational Artifact 23

Chapter 4 Written Responses Related to the Artifact (Prompts 2a and 2b) 35

Chapter 5 Written Response Related to Effect (Prompt 2c) 41

Chapter 6 Written Response Related to Data (Prompt 2d) 45

Chapter 7 Completing Your Explore Performance Task (Prompt 2e) 51

Part II The Create Performance Task

Chapter 8 Introduction to the Create Performance Task 59

Chapter 9 Creating Your Program 75

Chapter 10 Using a Video to Introduce Your Program 87

Chapter 11 Written Response to Prompt 2a: Introducing Your Program 93

Chapter 12 Written Response to Prompt 2b: Your Development Process 97

Chapter 13 Written Response to Prompt 2c: Showing and Explaining an Algorithm 103

Chapter 14 Written Response to Prompt 2d: Showing and Explaining Your Abstraction 109

Chapter 15 Completing Your Create Performance Task 113

Part III The End-of-Course Exam

Chapter 16 Overview of the End-of-Course Exam 123

Chapter 17 Practicing Programming Languages 127

Chapter 18 Key Topics Related to Algorithms 169

Chapter 19 Key Topics Related to Programming 189

Chapter 20 Key Topics Related to Abstraction 201

Chapter 21 Key Topics Related to Data and Information 211

Chapter 22 Key Topics Related to the Internet 217

Chapter 23 Key Topics Related to Global Impact 235

Chapter 24 Strategies for Success on the End-of-Course Exam 243

Part IV Appendices

Appendix A Glossary of AP Computer Science Principles Terms 247

Appendix B Programming Languages and Resources to Learn Programming 261

Appendix C Converting Between Number Systems 263

Appendix D High-Level to Low-Level Abstractions 269

Appendix E Explore Performance Task Checklist 271

Appendix F Create Performance Task Checklist 277

Appendix G Exam Reference Sheet 281

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews