Best AP computer science books

Test Prep

The best AP computer science books take your understanding from basic to more complicated topics in a fun and engaging way.

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Which AP computer science book is best?

Almost everything in the world, from our careers to our health to our entertainment, depends on computers and technology, so a career in computer science will definitely provide you with security and stability. The best AP computer science books take your understanding from basic to more complicated topics in a fun and engaging way. It’s crucial to understand the features you should look for in AP computer science books, as well as the general pricing and the best options out there. A top book to start with is Computer Science Distilled: Learning the Art of Solving Computational Problems.

What to know before you buy an AP computer science book

Book level

If you are brand new to the world of computer science, then you need to select an AP computer science book that is meant for beginners. You certainly wouldn’t want to buy a book that assumes you are an expert if you know nothing about computer science. On the flip side, you probably don’t want a book for beginners if you already know a great deal about computer science.

Language

Consider the language you need to learn. You would need to learn Italian if you were planning on taking a trip to Rome. And if you are planning on working with C++, then you need a computer science book that focuses on C++ rather than other programming languages.

Test prep books

You might need a beginner computer science book or two, but if you are planning on taking the AP Computer Science exam, then you definitely need an AP Computer Science test prep guide. This type of guide is meant to help you pass the AP Computer Science exam and usually features several different practice exams both online and in the book.

What to look for in a quality AP computer science book

Accessibility

It’s crucial to find a book that is accessible and simple to read and understand on the first try. If you find a book that is full of complicated language that is difficult to understand, you might give up on computer science before you really get into it.

Binding 

Keep in mind that paperbacks are usually the most inexpensive option, but hardcover books tend to be more durable. You should consider both your budget and your usage needs when deciding whether to go with a paperback or hardcover edition. You can also purchase a digital version of the book if you prefer reading on a computer, phone or tablet.

Additional content

Most computer science books link to free online materials. It’s important to seek out these books that provide free additional content, because the more resources you have, the more likely you are to understand the material.

How much you can expect to spend on an AP computer science book

Basic computer science books will vary in price from about $7-$12, while mid-range books that go into more detail range from $12-$25. More expensive computer science guides that give you an in-depth understanding of the principles range from $25-$40, and premium, college-level textbooks can go for as much as $100 or more.

AP computer science book FAQ

How do you know if computer science is right for you?

A. Computers allow us to do so many amazing things, from sharing pictures to gaming. That being said, just because you enjoy what you are able to do with a computer doesn’t necessarily mean you will like computer science. Think about whether you prefer creating or if you prefer simply using a computer. If you prefer creating, then computer science might be right for you.

Which skills or interests do you need to excel in computer science?

A. You need to enjoy and excel in mathematics if you want to excel in computer science. You also need to be able to communicate well with both computer code and words. The computer science industry will require you to create clear outlines and give instructions to both machines and people so that they will know how to use what you have developed. The most important skill you need is being able to think creatively and solve puzzles. Computer science is often about solving problems or puzzles in creative ways, so this skill and interest is crucial.

What’s the best AP computer science book to buy?

Top AP computer science book

Computer Science Distilled: Learning the Art of Solving Computational Problems

Computer Science Distilled: Learning the Art of Solving Computational Problems

What you need to know: This accessible computer science book can help any programmer learn more about the fundamentals.

What you’ll love: This fun and easily digestible computer science guide explains the concepts well and gives readers a broad overview in an entertaining way. There are also helpful illustrations and a few chapters about mathematics.

What you should consider: This book is not a good resource for computer science beginners, and some customers don’t like that the examples are given in pseudocode.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top AP computer science book for the money

Computer Science Principles: The Foundational Concepts of Computer Science - For AP Computer Science Principles

Computer Science Principles: The Foundational Concepts of Computer Science – For AP Computer Science Principles

What you need to know: This affordable computer science guide is an excellent option for anyone who wants to learn more about computer science, particularly AP Computer Science students.

What you’ll love: This budget-friendly computer science book is a wonderful reference for computer science exams and classes and helps students better understand more complicated ideas, like coding.

What you should consider: This book only provides basic information about programming and is not recommended for more experienced coders.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Barron’s AP Computer Science Principles Premium, 2nd Edition

Barron’s AP Computer Science Principles Premium, 2nd Edition

What you need to know: This AP Computer Science A test prep book is perfect for high school students who want to get a perfect score on their AP exam.

What you’ll love: The test prep book features access to three full-length tests online, three full-length practice tests in the book, one being a diagnostic test to assist students in identifying both their weaknesses and their strengths.

What you should consider: Keep in mind that this test prep book is not for beginners in the world of computer science.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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