AP® Computer Science Principles

The world according to code.

  • Practice questions: 176
  • Practice exams: 5
  • Pages of review: 55

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Feeling the burn from computers popping up everywhere—literally everywhere? Want to figure out why in the world a sneaker would need to access your Facebook account? 

Check out the Shmoop guide to AP Computer Science Principles for all your computer-themed needs.

In this guide, you'll learn

  • what the AP exam is all about, how it's scored, and why guessing can be a good thing.
  • how computers work and why they're so powerful.
  • why even the simplest program can make a global impact.
  • when computing can be called creative (hint, hint: the answer is always).
  • how programming robots is a lot simpler than you might think.

Robot dance moves sold separately.

Looking for AP Computer Science A? We got you covered.

What's Inside Shmoop's Online AP Computer Science Principles Test Prep

Shmoop is a labor of love from folks who love to teach. Our Test Prep resources will help you prepare for exams with fun, engaging, and relatable materials that bring the test to life.

Inside Shmoop's guide to the AP Computer Science Principles exam, you'll find

  • a diagnostic exam to highlight your strengths and weaknesses.
  • a full-length practice exam that's just as good as the real thing.
  • answer explanations to figure out where you went wrong…or right.
  • test-taking tips to help you weather a lengthy exam.
  • tons of practice problems.
  • a complete walkthrough of every single subject that's likely to show up on the exam, broken down into bite-sized chunks by topic—we're talking abstraction, algorithms, programming, the internet and more.

Sample Content: Presenting Data

A picture speaks a thousand words—except in English class when three pictures don't count as a three thousand-word essay. Le sigh.

In computer science, though, and particularly in data science, pictures count more than words. Patterns and trends in data displayed in tables, diagrams, and textual displays is much more useful than just looking at the numbers. A bar graph can illustrate which countries have a higher population better than a table full of numbers.

Words serve their purpose sometimes. A written summary can sometimes be the simplest way to communicate results. It's more effective to write, "China has the highest world population with around 1.4 billion people" than to write out the entire number and all its zeros alongside the populations of other countries. The computer has already done that analysis, and the researcher doesn't need to know each individual value; she cares about the general trend.

Again, transforming data into pictures is even better than writing a summary. A picture is worth a thousand words, and no one has time to read a thousand-word summary. Graphs are also groovy. If people stare at raw numbers to try and figure out what they mean, they'll get bored or frustrated and give up. Pictures are usually much easier to understand. And that's the main goal of analyzing data to produce information: sharing that knowledge with others in the hopes of improving the human experience.

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