A Class in Review: AP Computer Science Principles


(Credit: Pixabay user Comfreak)

Anna Proscia '23, Contributing Writer

Going into my first AP, I was nervous. Okay, nervous might be a bit of an understatement. I was petrified. I knew next to nothing about coding, and the idea of submitting work to the College Board was terrifying. Despite that initial fear, computer science quickly became one of my favorite classes. 

It’s no secret that AP classes have a reputation for being incredibly fast-paced and work-heavy. Computer Science Principles–CSP for short, is quite the opposite. Taught through the CodeHS online platform, Montrose students can work at an independent pace while occasionally collaborating on projects. Lessons are spaced out in such a way that students do not feel rushed and typically finish the bulk of the work during the class period. Students agreed that CSP is a good choice for a first AP course because of the light workload. While some topics might be hard to grasp, you have both Mrs. Rinaldi and your fellow classmates to help you out. Ava Russo ‘23 remarked that it was “challenging at times but supportive and fun too.”

One of the biggest benefits of online work was the nearly seamless transition to at-home learning. In a regular year the CSP final exam is not the standard 4-hour long AP exam, but a 2-hour long exam partnered with two projects submitted in a “Digital Portfolio” through the College Board website. This allows students to apply the skills they accumulated over the course of the year and allows for a chance at a higher score than if it were only an exam. However, because of the current worldwide pandemic, the CSP exam was canceled altogether. This came as a relief to my classmates, many of whom felt as if a weight had been lifted off of their shoulders.

You still might be thinking, “why should I take this class?” Even if you’re not interested in computer science as a career, you can still benefit from taking the course. Even a simple introductory computer science course can help strengthen your problem-solving skills. Mrs. Rinaldi, AP Computer Science teacher, commented: “Computer Science is the engine that powers the technology, productivity, and innovation that drives the world. An understanding of it – even just an introductory one – is imperative for success in the workforce of tomorrow.” Even former President Barack Obama agrees. While advocating for his “Computer Science for All Initiative,” he said: “in the new economy, computer science isn’t an optional skill — it’s a basic skill.” Even if you initially take this class for AP credit (which many people admitted to doing), you might end up enjoying it!

Anna Proscia ’23, Contributing Writer