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Important Updates

2021 Exam Information

Updated April 8 Students can now download the digital testing application and take digital practice to prepare them for the testing experience. See below for more information on digital practice and taking the digital exam.

AP Calculus AB Exams will be offered on paper in early May and late May, and as a digital exam in early June. Both the paper and digital versions of the AP Calculus AB Exam will be full length and measure the full range of skills and knowledge specified in the course and exam description (CED).

The paper exams will follow the typical multiple-choice and free-response format given in the CED. The digital exam will take the same amount of time as the paper exam, but the free-response questions will be adapted to include responses and explanations that can be easily typed with a computer keyboard, and will not require students to type mathematical symbols, to draw, or to create graphs. The digital exam app will include any symbols students would need to type their responses. No handwritten or photographed work will be accepted. 

On the paper exam, calculators are not allowed in Section I Part A and Section II Part B, per the AP Exam Calculator Policy. On the digital exam, calculators will be allowed on all sections of the exam.

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP Calculus AB only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

Learn more about 2021 testing.

AP Daily and AP Classroom
Short, searchable AP Daily videos can be assigned alongside topic questions to help you cover all course content, skills, and task models, and check student understanding. Unlock personal progress checks so students can demonstrate their knowledge and skills unit by unit and use the progress dashboard to highlight progress and additional areas for support. As the exam approaches, assign AP practice exams in the AP Classroom question bank and encourage students to take advantage of AP Daily: Live Review sessions April 19–29.

Sign In to AP Classroom

Exam Overview

Exam questions assess the course concepts and skills outlined in the course framework. For more information, download the AP Calculus AB Course and Exam Description (CED). 

Encourage your students to visit the AP Calculus AB student page for exam information.

Digital Practice and Testing Information

Updated April 8

Digital Practice Now Available

Starting April 8, students can try out the test-day experience by answering example questions in the digital testing application. See the Digital Practice page for general information about practice options.

AP Calculus AB students will have two options to answer example questions in the digital testing application. Both provide approximately the same time limit per question as the full exam.

  • Digital Practice has shortened sections, as follows:
    • Multiple choice, calculator not required: 10 questions, 20 minutes
    • Multiple choice, graphing calculator required: 4 questions, 12 minutes
    • Free response, graphing calculator required: 2 questions, 30 minutes
    • Free response, calculator not required: 1 question, 15 minutes
  • The App Demo is an even shorter subset of the questions in Digital Practice–5 multiple-choice questions, a 2-minute break, and 1 free-response question.

We highly recommend all students take the Digital Practice, and strongly advise that if they can’t take the Digital Practice, they at least take the App Demo. Both can be taken multiple times, and can be accessed directly in the digital testing application. Students can access their answers and solution materials (MCQ answer key, FRQ scoring guidelines) for the Digital Practice. Note: Taking the App Demo after completing Digital Practice may override student answers from Digital Practice. Teachers can also access digital practice from the teacher dashboard, available beginning April 22.

Taking the Digital Exam

Students should be aware of some aspects of testing digitally that they’ll encounter—in the Digital Practice and on exam day:

  • As a reminder, students will answer all multiple-choice questions and type all free-response answers directly in the digital exam application. Scratch paper is permitted for notes or planning, but students cannot handwrite or otherwise upload responses.
    • The free-response questions won’t require students to draw diagrams, charts, or complicated mathematical expressions. All responses can be typed on a regular computer keyboard, along with a selection of additional characters that can be accessed by clicking the Omega button:
      Special character toolbar on digital exam with icons.
  • However, to accommodate the digital exam format, tasks on free-response questions on the digital exam may be slightly different than students are used to seeing on FRQs. These will include some tasks that resemble multiple-choice questions, and/or provide labels for expressions or equations students can refer to in their answers rather than writing them out. Digital Practice questions in the digital testing application will have examples of these tasks.
  • Some free-response question prompts reference a specific question part. Students can click on the » symbol shown in the prompt to automatically scroll to the referenced location.
  • A graphing calculator is required for the digital exam. However, students will need to bring their own calculator because the digital testing application does not include one.
  • As a reminder, students cannot go back to questions they’ve already answered, and cannot skip ahead.
  • However, free-response questions will each be presented in multiple parts, and students will answer each part on a separate screen. They may move among the parts of the question currently being answered, with the Back and Next buttons. Once they’ve entered their response to the last part of a question, they won’t be able to go back to any part of that question.
  • Exam directions and section-specific directions will not be read by a proctor–they’ll appear entirely in the application. Students will see them at the beginning of each section, and can access them at any time during the exam. Please note that the exam timer starts when the directions appear. While students should read the directions, they should be aware that the timer will be running while they do so. Teachers and students can view the full text of the exam and section directions in advance of the exam.

More information about taking digital exams is available in the Digital Testing Guide.

Digital Exam Readiness Dashboard

Beginning April 22, AP teachers and AP coordinators will have access to a digital exam readiness dashboard. Teachers and coordinators will access the dashboard from their personalized AP login page (after signing in through AP Central or through myap.collegeboard.org). The dashboard can be used to monitor students’ progress in taking the steps necessary before and on exam day to enable them to take a digital exam. See details in the “Preparing for Digital AP Exams” section of the AP Digital Testing Guide.

Exam Dates

  • Event
    • TUE, MAY 4, 2021, 8 AM LOCAL

    AP Calculus AB Exam—Administration 1

    Paper, In School
    •  
  • Event
    • MON, MAY 24, 2021, 8 AM LOCAL

    AP Calculus AB Exam—Administration 2

    Paper, In School
    •  
  • Event
    • WED, JUN 9, 2021, 12 PM EDT

    AP Calculus AB Exam—Administration 3

    Digital, In School and At Home
    •  

Exam Format

The AP Calculus AB Exam has consistent question types, weighting, and scoring guidelines every year, so you and your students know what to expect on exam day.

On the paper exam, calculators are not allowed in Section I Part A and Section II Part B, per the AP Exam Calculator Policy. On the digital exam, calculators will be permitted on all sections.

Note on 2021 exams: There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP Calculus AB only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

The AP Calculus AB digital exam will include:

  • The same number of multiple-choice questions as the paper exam
  • 6 adapted free-response questions, the same number as on the paper exam

Free-response questions on the digital exam will be adapted to be answered entirely on a regular computer keyboard in the digital testing application, which will include a selection of special characters that students may use. FRQs will consist of familiar tasks that could appear on a traditional AP Exam, but may also include some tasks that resemble multiple-choice questions and/or provide labels for expressions or equations students can refer to in their answers. Students will not need to draw diagrams, charts, or complicated mathematical expressions. Students will see examples of these adapted FRQs when they answer example questions in digital practice.

Educators and students will be able to practice answering multiple-choice questions as well as these adapted free-response questions within the 2021 digital exam app, available beginning April 22.

Section I: Multiple Choice

45 Questions | 1 Hour 45 minutes | 50% of Exam Score

  • Part A: 30 questions; 60 minutes (calculator not permitted on paper and pencil exam).
  • Part B: 15 questions; 45 minutes (graphing calculator required).
  • Questions include algebraic, exponential, logarithmic, trigonometric, and general types of functions.
  • Questions include analytical, graphical, tabular, and verbal types of representations.

Section II: Free Response

6 Questions | 1 Hour 30 Minutes | 50% of Exam Score

  • Part A: 2 questions; 30 minutes (graphing calculator required).
  • Part B: 4 questions; 60 minutes (calculator not permitted on paper and pencil exam).
  • Questions include various types of functions and function representations and a roughly equal mix of procedural and conceptual tasks.
  • Questions include at least 2 questions that incorporate a real-world context or scenario into the question.

AP Calculator Policy

In Section I Part A and Section II Part B, calculators are not allowed on the paper and pencil exam. Calculators are allowed on all sections of the digital AP Calculus AB exam in 2021.

Exam Questions and Scoring Information

2021: Free-Response Questions

Questions

Free-Response Questions