Advanced Placement (AP) Computer Science Principles

Michael1 - AP Computer ScienceThe course teaches students to use computational thinking, solve problems, analyze innovations in computing, and deeply understand the global impact of the Internet.

Students dive into the broad field of computer science through game design, applying programming skills to build computer games. Lessons are interactive, scaffolded, and encourage pair programming. Students engage in creative design team experiences, independently design and code an original computer game using GML scripting language and the GameMaker Studio™ interface, and analyze the fast growing and diverse global video game industry.

Students who successfully complete this course will be prepared to take the AP CS Principles Exam.

Course Outcomes

Through a study of computer science principles and game design, students:

  • Apply computer science principles and transferable skills by building playable digital games
  • Program using GML scripting language and the GameMaker Studio™ interface
  • Engage in creative design opportunities by applying knowledge of game mechanics
  • Collaborate in design teams using the iterative design process
  • Expand knowledge of the global impact of computer innovations
  • Explore career and advanced education opportunities in the study of computer science and computer game design

This course builds computer science vocabulary and applies computer science principles and essential knowledge of coding practices as defined by the course Computational Thinking Practices, Big Ideas, and Learning Objectives. The course meets all AP Computer Science Principles Curricular Requirements.

Course Documents

Syllabus pdf-icon   Scope and Sequencepdf-icon   Content Standardspdf-icon

Inside Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles

Technical Specs

apcs_techspecs_zulamaGameMaker Studio 2 must be downloaded and installed onto computers with a Windows operating system. GameMaker Studio 2 is not supported on devices such as Chromebooks or iPads.

Zulama-licensed schools can purchase GameMaker Studio licenses at an exclusive price of $25/computer. Contact Zulama at for more information on how to receive this discounted rate.

Reviewed by Learning List

Learning List reviewed this course in the spring of 2017. Read a summary of their review here. Learning List provides independent reviews of K-12 instructional materials and online courses. To see Learning List’s professional reviews and alignment reports for our products, go to

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