Aditi Bhaskar

AP Computer Science Principles is a logically stimulating class!

Decoding AP Computer Science Principles

AP Computer Science Principles, often shortened to AP CS P, is taught by Ms. Sujatha. AP CS P covers topics from binary to coding to how the internet works. “The big picture of our class is learning how to code and learning how computers impact modern life,” summarizes Freshman Aarush Palve.

As any AP class goes, there’s a lot of material to cover. For the first quarter the class learned theory. Senior Jesse Hayworth says they had practiced “representing data in binary, how to use & apply algorithms to binary data, how to translate binary data, and common computer components.”

Second quarter, the class transitioned to programming activities. The class works “primarily in JavaScript on code.org,” and briefly “learned some Python” in the middle, says Jesse.

Aarush comments that the class schedule is quite structured, with “a lesson on Monday and do some graded work on code.org with a test on Friday,” which takes most of Friday’s class time.

Jesse says, “instruction is alternating between work as a class on the board vs work on our own.” Recently, the class covered “functions & parameters.”

The lesson on Monday is lecture style, says Junior Yubin Kim. “Ms. Sujatha teaches us some important concepts on board during the first part of the class. After the lecture, we often do simple group work and start working individually on Code.org.” A nice thing about the class is that students “get a lot of time to do our work and ask Ms. Sujatha for help.”

working on cs p problem
Practice on Code.org! This one is a rock-paper-scissors game. (Yubin Kim)

Aarush enjoys the independent work time, because he gets to “collaborate with other people. Most people in class talk to each other and there is a lot more human interaction in the class.” Yubin adds that independent work time is her favorite part of the class, because “we can get a lot of help. Asking questions and getting help is really important in programming.” Programming is a skill that involves developing a logical thinking process, and is best improved by solving various problems independently, like in mathematics.

As far as homework goes, the general consensus seems to be: nothing except for incomplete class work. “I don’t have any homework in CSP, but if you don’t finish your in-class work you may get 30min-1hr of homework per week,” says Aarush. Jesse agrees that the homework is “very little” because students are “given plenty of in-class time” to complete assignments.

A reason why most students don’t have assigned homework is because homework mostly consists of studying for tests. Yubin explains, “We mostly finish all of our programming work during class. At home, we have to watch AP Daily videos for weekly quizzes and make quiz corrections if we want. I think these take about an hour and a half per week.”

Students take AP CS P for many reasons. Yubin enjoys learning “basic knowledge about computers and programming.” Jesse’s “favorite part is learning & applying javascript.” The 2021-2022 class was prepared well for the exam: over 90% of students who took the AP CS P exam passed.

AP CS P is not the only Computer Science class offered at Wilsonville HS! To learn a programming language without the workload of an AP course, “Computer Programming” teaches how to write code in Python. A more challenging Computer Science course to follow AP CS P is “AP Computer Science Applications” (AP CS A), which covers the thrills of writing code in Java, an object-oriented coding language. In AP CS A, students finally learn what a class really means!

No matter whether you’re interested in learning how to code, want to learn more about how computers communicate around the world, or are interested in taking a technology-related AP class, AP Computer Science Principles is a great choice to forecast for!