AP Computer Science Principles vs AP Java

Bytes & Pieces
2 min readNov 20, 2022

By Josh Grewal

Which computer AP class fits you the best?

What is an AP Course?

An AP course is a college-level course administered by the College Board which awards college credit if a passing score (3 or higher) is reached on the AP exam. These courses are challenging yet rewarding as they give students the ability to experience the college course early without the heavy workload and costs associated. Usually before one can take an AP course there is a prerequisite requirement that needs to be met. For AP Java or CSP, this can be any basic computer science course. After that you can begin your journey into the world of AP Comp Sci courses but which one to choose? Keep reading to find out which is the best course for you.

What is AP CSP?

AP CSP (Computer Science Principles) is the easier course of the two as you start with a more readable language, Python. If you don’t have much prior knowledge about programming and how computers/networks work this is the course for you. The image below summarizes the material covered in this course:

Source: College Transitions

What is AP Java?

AP Java can be more challenging for those who haven’t had any extensive programming experience as the Java language is not as readable as Python and the syntax is much stricter. Nevertheless, if you want to put yourself to the test and feel comfortable with the language, this course is best for you. The image below summarizes the material covered in this course:

Source: College Transitions

Which one is the best fit for you?

Picking the course that best fits your experience, skill level, and schedule really depends on what you are capable of and comfortable with. A tougher language can be harder to troubleshoot with complex logic and design. For some AP CSP is a better pick, especially if you are a beginner to coding, but if you are up to the feat, AP Java is the one for you!

Sources:

https://www.collegetransitions.com/blog/should-i-take-ap-computer-science-principles-or-ap-computer-science-a/

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Bytes & Pieces

B and P is a student-run organization dedicated to mentoring students ages 11 and up in the fields of coding, AI, and music. https://linktr.ee/bytesandpieces