FAQs for AP Exam Season 2019

Hello everyone,

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.

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Can the students use one of the project ideas on the survival guide? Is it against the rules to use someone else’s idea?

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Hi @yanet.cabrera,

I’m sure it’s fine, otherwise there would have been astronomical disqualifications for all the clicker games.

There must of course be original code, so students should know that if they reuse code (for example from the clicker game), those parts don’t count toward the algorithm and abstraction. I recommend if reusing code or ideas, students still think of original things of their own to add.


This is my first year of AP CSP while its clear that 2c 2d must be individually created. I didn’t think there was a problem with students expanding on a ‘clicker’ type game. But now I am getting nervous that it will be considered plagiarism. Anyone have any comments or experience of this. I told students to cite the projects in comments and that the 2c 2d must be individual work.

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Students may use other sources but must cite it. Also any work that wasn’t done independently cannot be used to answer those written response prompts. Basically, you’re on the right track.


Thank you- feel much better.

My student taking the exam uploaded his final Create PT items. 2 of them are now marked DRAFT. Can this be fixed?

Me too. I really believe that it won’t be graded if it wasn’t submitted as final. I haven’t read manual again but I know that I saw that somewhere.

As far as I know, it won’t be graded unless it’s marked as “Final”. If there’s anything they can try, it would be to call the College Board, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

Okay, so my students were taking the practice test on Khan Academy for the APCSP exam and they ran across a question about array’s and on the AP reference sheet it states lists start at 1. However, in the lessons in Code.org and other places, lists/arrays all start at position 0. Can someone help clarify this? I don’t want my students to get this question wrong.