This has been a big year, and one area particularly affected by the pandemic, as we all know, has been education. From remote and hybrid learning models to doing class and homework on tablets and computers, another addition has been the vast challenges of administering standardized testing.
Big changes have been announced to the SAT in recent weeks, and now, the College Board has released new updates to Advanced Placement (AP) exams coming up this spring.
What’s different about AP Exams this year?
In an effort to accommodate AP exam-takers during the pandemic, the College Board has announced sweeping changes to its exam schedule, ‘to provide schools with testing options to meet their unique needs and circumstances.’ Students will not be able to choose exam dates; schools will make the final decision about which exams are offered and how they are administered.
We also know that last year’s 45-min online-only exams didn’t work so well. Students had trouble with the online system and it was too easy to cheat!
This year, the College Board is going back to FULL LENGTH EXAMS (2-3 hours) that will cover the entire AP curriculum. The only exception is AP Physics I, which will not cover units 8, 9, or 10.
Preventing AP cheating is a top priority. The College Board is preventing cheating in 5 ways:
- Offering paper tests, as much as possible
- Synching start time globally (a 12pm test in NYC will start at 1am in Beijing!)
- On digital exams, you will not be able to go back and forth between sections. More information will be announced on this!
- A photo ID is required to sign up
- There is new plagiarism software that will check all AP essays
When are the AP Exams this year?
When is a complex question this year. It depends on which test you are taking and which “administration” you are assigned by your AP Coordinator.
Administration 1: In-School Exams
If your school offers this option, expect your test to be offered as an in-school exam paper exam, using good old #2 pencils! SAVE THE DATE: May 3-7, 10-12, 14 and 17.
Administration 2: Hybrid In-School/Home Exams
If your school wants to conduct some exams in person, but can’t commit to hosting all of them because of COVID precautions, they will choose this option. It’s important you find out if your exam will be given in person or at home. These will be conducted May 18-21, 24-28.
Administration 3: Another Round of Hybrid In-School/Home Exams
To offer even more options and create a make-up date schedule, there is a 3rd chance to take your AP exams on June 1-4 and 7-11. Again, it’s your school that decides whether you are taking the May or June tests, not you.
Click here for the full AP exam schedule.
The good news about having multiple exam dates means that make-up tests are possible in cases of sickness, a disruption during a test, or a conflict with another exam (like an ACT date).
Ask your AP Coordinator
Every school has an AP Coordinator who organizes your school’s AP program. This is not your AP Teacher. Your AP Coordinator may be an administrator, counselor, staff member or faculty member and is always someone who does not teach any AP classes.
Reach out to your school immediately if you do not know who this person is! Only AP Coordinators can authorize exam-taking accommodations and you must consult with them about any conflicts or illness before exam day.
- You must register to take any AP exam with your AP coordinator before April 30th, 2021.
- You are still able to register and take AP exams even if your high school does not offer the class.
What if my school doesn’t offer AP Exams or I don’t have an AP Coordinator?
Easy! Find a school that does. Here is a list of schools that offer AP Exams. Once you find a school near you, call them and ask who the AP Coordinator is. That person will become your AP Coordinator and get you signed up for a test, either in-person or for a digital test.
What if I am currently in a different time zone or abroad?
If you’re taking a digital exam, you must take it at the exact same time as everyone else taking the same test. So, for example, the European History AP Test on May 19th, will start at 12pm in New York, 9am in Los Angeles, and 1am in Beijing!
Why take AP exams?
- Scoring a 4 or 5 = College Credit: If your college accepts AP credits, scoring a 4 or 5 on your AP exams may mean you are exempt from taking those classes in college!
- It can boost your College Application: Taking and scoring well on your AP exams will prove to college admissions officers that you are well-equipped to handle challenging course loads at elite colleges.
Feeling like you need a bit of tutoring to get you ready for AP exams?
Our top-tier AP exam tutors are ready to help you in all AP subjects. Whether you have any lingering confusions or need some test-taking strategies, our tutors are here to have your back!