CS ClassTaking advanced placement (AP) courses in computer science (CS) is often an excellent way for high school students to challenge themselves academically, prepare for the rigors of college course work and potentially gain college credit towards degrees in technical majors. Because there is a shortage of domestic talent in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), the country’s education advocates have helped to develop and expand AP course offerings that are designed to give interested students the preparation that they need to succeed academically and professionally.

What Will You Learn?

In the corporate world, information technology projects do not stand alone, but they are the resulting solutions that are needed to support specific business needs. Subsequently, students who participate in advanced placement CS courses are taught to devise efficient technical solutions via a thorough understanding of the business problems to be solved. Working knowledge of data structures as well as object oriented and imperative design and programming methodologies are just some of the key tools that students learn to use when crafting software solutions for common business challenges. Advanced placement CS students study the appropriate application of current algorithms for problem solving and learn to design new algorithms to meet unique problems. While the methods and frameworks that are introduced within the course apply to all software development projects, students in this course are specifically taught to design, develop and test programs that are written in Java. The course compares to many introductory, university level CS courses.

Eligibility Requirements

Students who have taken advantage of opportunities to hone their mathematics and logic skills throughout their time in school or through private instruction are those who are best prepared to take advanced placement CS courses in high school. For example, experts recommend that all prospective students take basic algebra and English composition prior to enrollment in the advanced placement CS course. The advanced placement curricula is designed to be available to all students who want to take the courses, but some schools do not offer every type of advanced placement course. Subsequently, the advanced placement CS course can be taken online by students who attend schools that do not offer the class on campus.

Preparing for the Advanced Placement Computer Science Exam

Doing well on the advanced placement CS exam is one of the most obvious benefits of taking the advanced placement course. The exam is offered yearly in May, and it usually can take up to three hours to complete. The test usually consists of a combination of essay and multiple choice questions, and practice tests are available to help students to prepare to their best on the exams.


Advanced placement classes can help students to gain higher placement in university course work as the name implies. However, students must perform well in these classes to have them count for credit and placement in college. For example, a top tier school like Duke University offers students credit and higher placement status if the students receive exam scores of four or five. This is an excellent opportunity for many aspiring computer scientists to get ahead of the curve at the university of their choice, but students who come from low income households are at somewhat of a disadvantage because each AP course, including the Computer Science A class, has an associated exam fee.