We know that preparing for the AP CS Principles exam can lead to lots of questions. To help answer them we’re creating an FAQ thread where you can find answers to all the most frequently asked questions this time of year. Feel free to request more answers in the thread below and we’ll update this original post to include them.
Your friendly neighborhood Code.org CSP Team
AP Exam Season FAQ
The best place to get answers about the AP exam is directly from the College Board. We recommend you check the Course and Exam Description, College Board’s CS Principles FAQ, and College Board’s CS Principles Exam Page for official answers to most questions. Below you’ll find answers to a few specific questions.
When is the AP Exam?: For 2019 Performance Tasks must be submitted by May 2nd, 2019 11:59pm ET. The multiple choice End-of-Course exam is held Friday, May 10th. Check the College Board’s CSP Exam page for more details.
When should I start the PTs?: Students must be given at least 8 class hours to complete the Explore PT and 12 class hours to complete the Create PT. If you have not yet started either PT you will likely need to begin the PTs by late March to ensure you have enough class days to accommodate these requirements.
How can I prepare my students for the PTs: Students are given multiple opportunities to prepare for the PTs throughout the course, especially in end-of-chapter projects which make explicit call-outs to the PTs. Additionally there are short Create PT Prep and Explore PT Prep units specifically designed to review guidelines and strategies for completing each task. Even if you’re crunched on time we recommend you share the Survival Guide for each task with your students for step-by-step help in understanding and completing the task. These guides can be found in Lesson 2 of each unit.
How much can I help my students on the PTs?: Refer to pages 71-83 of the Course and Exam Description (or “Purple Book”) for detailed explanations of how you can and cannot assist your students. Generally speaking you are not allowed to give students any support on the details of their projects but may help answer questions about the process and logistics.
How do I prepare my students for the MC exam?: Our teachers have reported that having students take a single practice version of the exam was helpful but saw limited benefits beyond this single exam. The College Board has released a practice exam that you should be able to access through your account. Consider giving this practice exam to your students, especially in the days between the PT submission and MC exam.
The chapter assessments throughout the course are written in the style of AP exam questions. Returning to these exams is another helpful way to review content covered earlier in the year.
How do students submit their PTs to the College Board?: Read about the AP Digital Portfolio from this page (you’ll need to scroll down) to learn more about the system for uploading and submitting PTs.
What should I do after the AP exam: Check out the Post AP Unit which teaches students to both how to use data for analysis and then how to use the database tools in App Lab. This is a great way to continue extending the programming skills they learn in Unit 5 to build more fully-featured apps.