Exam Rooms

AP Coordinator Planning Guide

Digital AP Exams must be given in separate rooms from paper exams, because exam day instructions and procedures for the two exam modes are very different.

Overall testing room requirements and seating policies for digital AP Exams are the same as the AP Program policies for paper exams (see the “Selecting Testing Locations” and “Seating Policy” sections in the AP Coordinator’s Manual, Part 2). However, there are some additional considerations and options for digital exams, including seating options, power, and scratch paper.

Important: Remember to ask school or district technology staff to check your choice of testing rooms and the number of expected test takers in each. Assigning too many students to a single wireless access point (WAP) can delay testing and prevent answer submission.

Determine if separate testing rooms and proctors are needed for students testing with accommodations, following the same guidelines for paper exams. For details about accommodations that require separate testing rooms, see the AP SSD Guidelines.

If you’re planning to test at an off-site location, confirm that the testing spaces meet all room, seating, and technical requirements. Follow all policies for off-site testing locations detailed in the AP Coordinator’s Manual, Part 2.


You may seat students using one of these AP Program seating options:

  • New: Elevated seating. In rooms with elevated seating, students must be seated no less than 5 feet behind one another.
  • Students seated directly behind one another, no less than 5 feet apart (side to side), all facing the same direction.
  • Students seated facing outward toward the wall, i.e., same as AP Chinese and Japanese Exams. In testing rooms where computer tables/desks are at a 90-degree angle, students must not be seated next to one another in the connecting corner. Note: If students face outward toward the wall, the proctor/student ratio must be increased to 2 proctors for 1–25 students and an additional proctor for every additional 25 students.

Assign seats randomly; do not permit students to select their own seats.

See the AP Coordinator’s Manual, Part 2 for detailed information about seating, including seating diagrams.

Power Sources in the Exam Room

Students’ devices must be fully charged and capable of lasting the duration of the exam (at least 4 hours).

On exam day, students should bring (or the school should provide) a charging cord/AC adapter that is compatible with their testing device. Testing rooms should have outlets or power strips for students who may need to plug in their computer during the exam. 

  • Consider the position of power outlets and power strips when planning seating configurations. Mitigate any tripping hazards.
  • Work with staff at your school or testing location to ensure the testing room will be able to handle multiple devices being plugged in, if necessary.
  • Determine how students will plug in devices without disrupting other exam takers.
  • Students testing with extended time will need to have their devices plugged in due to the longer exam length.
  • Power banks and external laptop batteries are permitted. Students will need to leave any external power source on their desk for inspection prior to the start of the exam. Students may not share external power sources.

If a student runs low on power and needs to move to an area in the exam room where they can plug in, they can do so, with the proctor’s permission. There’s no need to complete an incident report, unless this causes a disturbance with other students. However, the proctor should document the move in the seating chart.

Exam Room Materials

Organize these materials for each of your proctors:

  • A list of students assigned to each room
  • A blank seating chart 
  • A copy of the Wi-Fi name and password
  • 3 sheets of scratch paper per student plus extra for students who need it—before the exam begins, the proctor places 3 sheets of scratch paper on each desk; the scratch paper will be collected by the proctors at the end of the exam
  • Supplies to label and store prohibited devices (e.g., phones): marker, sticky notes, plastic bags or large envelopes, a bin or other container
  • A printed or electronic copy of the AP Proctor Exam Day Guide
  • Recommended: power strips, surge protectors, charging cords, extension cords, or laptop carts for charging (prioritize extended time testing rooms)
  • Testing devices for students (if applicable)—if your school is providing testing devices, including backup testing devices, make sure Bluebook™ is installed and the device is fully charged
  • Portable whiteboards or easel boards (if the testing room doesn’t have a board)
  • Extra pens and pencils (optional)

For AP Computer Science Principles (CSP) Only 

Proctors must have the printed Personalized Project Reference for each student taking the exam.  

  • Starting with the 2024 exam administration, students need to use their Personalized Project Reference during Section II of the AP CSP Exam. 
  • After the April 30 submission deadline for students and before exam day, sign in to the AP Digital Portfolio and print each student’s Personalized Project Reference. 

On exam day, give the Personalized Project Reference for each student taking the exam to the proctor. Details about accessing and printing the Personalized Project Reference for each student are in the AP Coordinator’s Manual, Part 2. FAQs for the AP coordinator about the Personalized Project Reference are also available. The process for providing a student’s Personalized Project Reference is the same for paper and digital AP CSP Exams. 

Details for the proctor about the Personalized Project Reference are in the AP Proctor Exam Day Guide.