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We know you have a lot of questions about how AP Exams will work this year. On this page, find answers to some of the most common questions we get from students, parents, and educators.

Top Questions

 

AP coordinators can update a student’s testing location for a digital exam in AP Registration and Ordering:

  1. Go to the Student Roster.
  2. Search for the student and click the student’s name to access their details page.
  3. Find the exam pane for the relevant digital exam and click edit.
  4. Change the location.

Note: 

  • Coordinators should not attempt to update locations for multiple students by moving them to later administrations and moving them back—this could remove these students from their original testing date.
  • Updating the testing location is not mandatory or time sensitive. An incorrect testing location in AP Registration and Ordering won’t prevent a student from taking a digital exam and will have no bearing on the student’s score.

The deadline for moving a student to a digital exam is 7 calendar days before the exam administration date. Once the deadline for a subject has passed (i.e., there are less than 7 days remaining until the scheduled exam date), AP coordinators will not be able to move the student in AP Registration and Ordering. The student may be moved to a later digital exam date, if available.

Students will be able to submit a request for a makeup digital exam through My AP if needed after their digital exam. Once submitted, the makeup request is indicated as “Pending” in the AP coordinator's digital exam readiness dashboard in AP Registration and Ordering. If the school agrees the student should take the makeup exam, no action is needed. The AP coordinator may change a student's makeup request status to Approved if they'd like to directly manage the process. If a student shouldn't take a makeup exam, the coordinator can deny the request before 11:59 p.m. ET 7 calendar days before the exam date.

Any pending requests for digital exams will be automatically approved and processed by the digital exam registration deadline (11:59 p.m. ET 7 calendar days before the scheduled digital exam date). Once a makeup request has been processed, a student's previous exam for the subject won't be scored, even if the student doesn't ultimately sit for the makeup digital exam. A recommended best practice is to contact students who submitted a makeup digital exam request to verify that they intend to test again and to make sure they understand that their original digital exam won't be scored once their makeup request is processed.

The process for managing makeup exam requests is described in detail on pages 44–46 in the AP Digital Testing Guide.

See pages 40–53 in the AP Digital Testing Guide for information on how AP coordinators and AP teachers can use their readiness dashboard to track student progress for necessary digital exam steps.

For the 9 exams without a digital administration (AP French, German, Italian, Spanish Language and Culture, AP Spanish Literature and Culture, AP Latin, AP Music Theory, and AP Japanese and Chinese Language and Culture), schools should plan for students to test during Administration 1 or 2, leaving Administration 3 available for makeup exams, if needed.

For the AP subjects with a digital exam administration, the AP coordinator should move the student to Admin 3 and await additional information from the AP Program. Another testing window—Administration 4—will be available in the second half of June for students who were scheduled to test during Administration 3 and require a makeup digital exam, or for students who were unable to test during Administration 3 due to a conflict. Information about Administration 4 and the full schedule will be shared with AP coordinators later in May.

For all digital exams, if a student encounters a disturbance during testing—for example, an extended power outage—or any other issue that keeps them from doing their best on the exam or completing the exam, they can go to My AP and request a makeup exam.

Make sure students understand that once their makeup request has been processed, their previous exam for the subject won't be scored, even if they don't ultimately sit for the makeup digital exam. A recommended best practice is to contact students who submitted a makeup digital exam request to verify that they intend to test again and to make sure they understand that their original digital exam won't be scored once their makeup request is processed. Any pending requests for digital exams will be automatically approved and processed by the digital exam registration deadline (11:59 p.m. ET 7 calendar days before the scheduled digital exam date).

Schools should review the information about makeup exams in the AP Digital Testing Guide (see the “Preparing for Digital AP Exams” section).

All students are required to check in to their digital AP Exam 30 minutes before the official start time of the exam to complete final pre-exam checks. If a student isn't able to start the check-in process before the start time of the exam, they won't be allowed to test and will be asked to request a makeup exam.

See pages 109–116 in the AP Digital Testing Guide for the procedures schools should follow for reporting incidents that take place during an in-school digital exam and the incidents that must be reported. Schools need to use the online AP 2021 Digital Irregularity Report, available at cb.org/ap2021-digital-incident-reporting, to report digital exam incidents that involve a violation of security to the AP Program. Schools should not use the paper IR form sent with paper AP Exams to report digital exam incidents.

The AP coordinator doesn't need to take any action to mark a digital exam as unused. Unused Administration 2 digital exams will automatically be reflected in AP Registration and Ordering in early-to-mid June, before invoices are sent to schools. Unused Administration 3 digital exams will be reflected in AP Registration and Ordering in late June and updated invoices will be sent, if applicable.

If moving a student to a later exam administration, the AP coordinator should move the exam registration to the later administration by selecting the Exam Date field, selecting the later administration date, and submitting an update to their order. AP Registration and Ordering will automatically mark the earlier administration as unused.

Yes, for any digital exam, a student may submit a request for a makeup digital exam through My AP if:

  • An issue occurred during their digital exam that impacted their ability to test.
  • An unexpected situation prevents them from being able to take their digital exam on the scheduled exam date.
  • They didn't start check-in before the official start time for the exam and were therefore unable to test.
  • Their exam responses were unable to successfully submit to the AP Program after repeated attempts to submit.

Make sure students understand that once their makeup request has been processed, their previous exam for the subject won't be scored, even if they don't ultimately sit for the makeup digital exam. A recommended best practice is to contact students who submitted a makeup digital exam request to verify that they intend to test again and to make sure they understand that their original digital exam won't be scored once their makeup request is processed. Any pending requests for digital exams will be automatically approved and processed by the digital exam registration deadline (11:59 p.m. ET 7 calendar days before the scheduled digital exam date).

Schools should review the information about makeup exams in the AP Digital Testing Guide (see the “Preparing for Digital AP Exams” section).

Students' computers must be fully charged to last through the full-length exams and be able to be plugged in during the exam, if needed. If the student's computer loses power during the exam and that prevents them from finishing, they can go to My AP and request a makeup exam. The digital testing app has been designed to be tolerant of disruptions in internet connectivity during the exam. Students' responses will be stored in the exam app. If a student encounters an internet disruption at the end of the exam, they'll be able to submit their response after the exam when they're in a location with a stable internet connection.

2021 Testing Options

 

Yes. Schools can choose the exam administration options that work best for them—paper and pencil exams administered at school, digital exams administered at school, digital exams taken at home, or a mix—provided the school meets all requirements for each option.

In most cases, no. Schools indicate the reasons for later testing in AP Registration and Ordering. If they choose "Social distancing requirements" or "School closing: election, national holiday, or natural disaster," no late-testing fee will be assessed.

No. Schools can choose whichever window(s) meet their needs.

No. Schools can choose whichever window(s) meet their needs.

We’ll be updating students and parents about the new exam schedule and testing options. However, these communications will direct students to their schools for information about how exams will be given locally. Schools are responsible for determining which of the AP testing dates and modes are best suited for their unique needs this year. Students cannot independently opt to stay home for at-home digital AP testing. Given the interruptions and other challenges students face when testing at home, AP coordinators must approve any needs for at-home digital AP testing, and the school is responsible for ensuring that students have the technical support they may need to configure their individual computers for secure, at-home digital testing.

No. By March 12, your AP coordinator needs to ensure that all students who plan to test are included in the student roster in AP Registration and Ordering. Schools then have until April 1 to indicate any paper and pencil exams for Administrations 1-3 in AP Registration and Ordering. A student can be assigned to a digital exam until 7 calendar days before the exam, if circumstances change unexpectedly. And there are final deadlines in May to move students to a paper and pencil exam during Administration 2 or 3 if something unexpected requires you to do so.

Note: If you know now that you’re NOT testing in Administration 1, we recommend assigning students to later test dates by March 12, so you don’t receive Administration 1 paper and pencil exam materials. Your AP coordinator will be able to do this in AP Registration and Ordering, beginning in early March.

See Updating Your Exam Order for information about how and when to assign students to later testing dates, if needed.

In March 2020, colleges as well as high schools closed suddenly, and most were unprepared to complete their coursework through remote learning. Accordingly, the May 2020 exams covered a scope similar to the amount of content colleges covered before ending the semester early. However, this year, since most colleges are covering the full content in their courses, they expect the same of AP courses. The 2021 AP Exams must cover the full course content so that students are accurately placed into higher-level courses where they will succeed when they arrive at college. To students, the colleges they enter, and society at large, AP Exam scores must continue to accurately indicate whether millions of students have completed the college course material and should thus be exempted from learning it in college.

Students will be able to submit a request for a makeup digital exam through My AP if needed after their digital exam or the AP coordinator can move the student to a makeup exam date in AP Registration and Ordering.

If the AP coordinator moves a student to a makeup exam, they must submit the change to their order in AP Registration and Ordering.

After a student submits a makeup exam request, the makeup request is indicated as “Pending” in the AP coordinator’s digital exam readiness dashboard in AP Registration and Ordering. If the school agrees the student should take the makeup exam, no action is needed. The AP coordinator may change a student’s makeup request status to Approved if they’d like to directly manage the process. If a student shouldn’t take a makeup exam, the coordinator can deny the request before 11:59 p.m. ET 7 calendar days before the exam date.

Any pending requests for digital exams will be automatically approved and processed by the digital exam registration deadline (11:59 p.m. ET 7 calendar days before the scheduled digital exam date). Once a makeup request has been processed, a student’s previous exam for the subject won’t be scored, even if the student doesn’t ultimately sit for the makeup digital exam. A recommended best practice is to contact students who submitted a makeup digital exam request to verify that they intend to test again and to make sure they understand that their original digital exam won’t be scored once their makeup request is processed.

Makeup exam dates for students will appear in the Digital Exam Readiness dashboard and the digital testing app after these requests are processed, by no later than 6 calendar days before the digital exam date.

The process for managing makeup exam requests is described in detail on pages 44–46 in the AP Digital Testing Guide.

An additional administration window—Administration 4—is available in June for students who need to take a makeup digital exam for either of these reasons:

  • They were registered for an exam during Administration 3 and need to take a makeup exam because something impacted their ability to successfully test during Administration 3 or they need to take two exams scheduled for the same date and time in Administration 3.
  • They tested during an earlier administration and needed a makeup exam, but they were unable to take a makeup exam on the scheduled exam dates during Administration 2 or 3 due to a conflict.

See details about Administration 4.

No. AP coordinators will be able to assign students to Administration 4 exam dates in AP Registration and Ordering if needed after Administration 3 has started. Coordinators don’t need to contact AP Services first.

If a student was registered for an exam in Administration 3, they can submit a request for a makeup exam in Administration 4 after Administration 3 has started. Students submit makeup requests through My AP, and they must do so no later than 7 calendar days before the scheduled exam date.

If a student was registered for an earlier administration and not Administration 3, and the student needs to take a makeup exam during Administration 4, the AP coordinator must move the student to the Administration 4 exam date through AP Registration and Ordering.

No. Exam subjects offered during Administration 4 are all digital. These subjects are not available in Administration 4: AP Chinese Language and Culture, AP French Language and Culture, AP German Language and Culture, AP Italian Language and Culture, AP Japanese Language and Culture, AP Latin, AP Music Theory, AP Spanish Language and Culture, and AP Spanish Literature and Culture. See details about Administration 4.

Digital AP Exams

 

No. Digital AP Exams will be the same length as traditional paper and pencil AP Exams and include both multiple-choice and free-response questions (as always, AP Computer Science Principles remains a multiple-choice-only exam and AP Seminar remains a free-response-only exam).

No. Students will need their College Board username and password to access their exams via the digital testing application.

Yes. On digital exams, students must answer each question before moving on to the next question. Once a question is answered, students cannot go back to that question.

This feature is designed to protect the integrity of the exam for all students. Once a student decides to move on from a question, whether or not they’ve answered it, they will not be able to revisit it.

No. But just like the sections on paper and pencil exams, sections on digital exams are timed. Students should be mindful to manage how much time they spend on each question so that they finish within the time allotted for the section. Proctors will not provide time warnings on digital exams. The clock within the digital testing application will flash a warning when 5 minutes remain in the time allotted for the section. Note: Students can hide and unhide the clock at any point during the exam until there are 5 minutes left in a section, at which time the clock will turn red and remain visible.

Not for the same exam. Once a student completes exam setup on a device, that device can’t be shared with another student (for any AP Exam), until the first student completes testing. Another student may then use that device for a subsequent exam.

Students should use their own device to test. However, if this isn't possible, students in the same house can set up and take exams on the same device. If students in the same house are testing in a similar time frame (on the same day or within the same 1-3 day period), they should avoid checking the Remember Me box and also exit the application completely. Students should also double check their log in information and identity when signing in, to ensure they are able to take the correct exam.

No. At this time, digital AP Exams can only be taken on laptop and desktop computers (Mac, Windows, or school-managed Chromebook). We’re working closely with Apple and are confident iPad will be a fully-supported device going forward.

Beginning April 8, students can install the digital testing app and do digital practice. Ideally, this should be done on their testing computer, so they can get an early check that their technology will work on exam day. However, if they won't have access to their testing computer for some time, they can install the app and practice on any supported computer. Best practice is for students to practice only when they have enough time to finish. The exam setup step for the student’s actual exam, however, MUST be completed on the computer that will be used for testing, 1-3 days before the exam date.

No. For those subjects, schools should plan to test during Administration 1 or 2, leaving Administration 3 available for makeup exams, if needed.

Students can try to find another school at which to test.

Most students taking world language exams and music theory exams aren’t seniors this year, so they have the option to take these exams next year instead.

However, if the student is a senior, or doesn’t want to wait to take the world language or music theory exam next year, they can cancel their AP Exam at no charge and:

  • Take a CLEP exam for college credit, available for French, German, and Spanish.
  • Take their college’s own placement exam.

The world language exams require translation to and from written forms of the language, which a student with a smartphone can do by holding a translation app up to the computer screen. Accordingly, there is no way to administer exams at home that assess reading and writing of another language. Last year, colleges were willing to accept an abbreviated exam that only assessed speaking skills, but this year, their preference, understandably, is that if a student can’t take an AP Exam that measures reading and writing, and not just speaking, the student should take their own college’s placement exam when they arrive on campus. Similarly, the AP Music Theory Exam requires sight-singing without the aid of a device such as a metronome or a musical instrument, which can’t be enforced in a non-proctored setting.

The exams were designed to be as similar as possible and assess the same course content. However, there are differences related to the testing format and exam security. For example, because it’s not feasible to have students draw graphs and figures online this year, students will be asked to answer questions about provided graphs and figures. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats for further details. Synchronous start times and restrictions on going back to previous questions are also key differences from paper and pencil exams, but important to help ensure that students don’t gain unfair advantages during testing.

Yes. Digital exams will be accessible to students with disabilities who are approved for testing accommodations. Students approved for braille accommodations will be able to test using assistive technology, and braille testing options will be available for students who are unable to test using the digital exams.

No. The digital AP Exam will not activate a computer microphone or record audio at any time on exam day.

Unfortunately, no. In order to preserve opportunities for students to test digitally in the impacted time zones, synchronous worldwide start times are a necessary part of our security protocols for at-home testing. We hope the opportunities to test, as well as multiple testing dates, offset the unusual testing times for some students.

Students who do not wish to test digitally should consider taking paper and pencil exams in person if they have the option to safely do so. We are encouraged that many schools in the impacted time zones are supportive of in-person testing based on results from a recent College Board survey.

Beginning on April 22, AP coordinators and teachers will have access to a digital exam readiness dashboard where they can track students’ progress through the required readiness steps and exam-taking.

Administering Digital AP Exams in School

 

They’re very similar, but not exactly the same. Proctors for in-school digital exams will be required to monitor exam takers and make sure they don’t help one another or consult prohibited resources. Another key difference is that proctors don’t control the timing of the exam or provide timing warnings to students. Information about proctoring is available in the Digital Testing Guide. Exam day proctor instructions will be added to the Digital Testing Guide on April 8.

It’s possible, but not recommended. Exam subjects have different timings, so in a mixed room, students will reach the break and the end of the exam at different times. This could be disruptive. It’s likely that the exam day proctor instructions will have specific reminders for some subjects, which could be challenging to deliver to a mixed room.

Digital exams taken at home are not proctored. Students will check in to the exam 30 minutes before the start time and then follow all on-screen directions before the start time, and then all necessary directions are provided on-screen in the app.

No. We understand that students testing at home may have access to devices or resources that aren’t permitted in in-school exam administrations. This is unavoidable during these extreme circumstances, and the exam has been designed to be taken securely at home. The exam questions can’t be answered with internet searches, textbooks, notes, study guides, or similar material. The exams also have security features to combat collaboration, accessing unauthorized aids, or attempting to have someone else test for a student. However, schools administering secure exams in their buildings must continue to enforce exam administration procedures that help protect the integrity of the exam.

Paper and Pencil Exams

 

AP sends an email to the AP coordinator when their exams have shipped. That email provides tracking information so coordinators can check exact status of the shipment. An email is also sent when the exam shipment has been delivered.

Fees and Payment

 

No. The exam fees are unchanged since they were first announced.

Yes. Any state-provided subsidies apply to digital exams just as they do to paper and pencil exams.

June 25 remains the postmark deadline for AP Exam payment. The invoice will be generated at the end of Administration 3 and will reflect exam fees for students who are scheduled for makeup testing after Administration 3. If students don’t ultimately test, your school will receive an updated invoice reflecting fewer taken exams and AP will issue and mail a refund if necessary. Please verify the billing contact listed in AP Registration and Ordering is up to date.

Your invoice is directly generated by AP Registration and Ordering using the information from your exam order and emailed to you at the end of Administration 3. This invoice will include exam fees for students who were scheduled for Administration 3 exams and students who are scheduled for makeup testing after Administration 3. Be sure to indicate all known unused paper exams, Chinese and Japanese exams, and Art and Design portfolios and request any late order fee waivers before your invoice is generated. Unused Administration 2 digital exams will automatically be reflected in AP Registration and Ordering in early-to-mid June, before invoices are sent to schools.

Unused Administration 3 digital exams will be reflected in AP Registration and Ordering in late June. Payment must still be postmarked by June 25. If any students didn’t test during Administration 3, an updated invoice will be generated for your school. For any overpayments resulting in a refund, AP will issue and mail a refund check to your school. Please verify the billing contact listed in AP Registration and Ordering is up to date.

Your invoice is directly generated by AP Registration and Ordering using the information from your exam order and emailed to you at the end of Administration 3. This invoice will include exam fees for students who were scheduled for Administration 3 exams and students who are scheduled for makeup testing after Administration 3. Be sure to indicate all known unused paper exams, Chinese and Japanese exams, and Art and Design portfolios and request any late order fee waivers before your invoice is generated. Unused Administration 2 digital exams will automatically be reflected in AP Registration and Ordering in early-to-mid June, before invoices are sent to schools.