In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the College Board has announced a slate of changes to the 2021 AP exams. Keep reading to learn more about the 2021 AP exams.
2021 AP Exam Dates
The new 2021 AP exam schedule offers three testing windows between early May and mid-June:
||May 2 to May 17
||Traditional paper exams administered in school
||May 18 to May 28
||Half of the subjects are traditional paper exams administered in school; the other half are digital exams administered either in school or at home
||June 1 to June 11
||Most subjects are digital exams administered either in school or at home
For more information about the 2021 AP exam schedule, visit the College Board’s website.
How do I know when I’m taking the exams?
Your school will determine which 2021 AP exam testing windows to offer. Schools don’t need to pick just one of the testing windows or administration methods, so your school may offer a mix of at-home and in-person exams and a mix of testing dates. Make sure you talk to your AP teachers or guidance counselors so that you know what your options are.
2021 AP Exams: Digital Options
Most subjects will have the option for a digital exam. Foreign languages, Spanish Literature, and Music Theory will only be offered in the traditional pencil and paper format.
Digital exams may be offered in school or at home, depending on the circumstances in your area. Your AP teachers or guidance counselors will be able to tell you where you will take the test.
Digital exams will be full-length, including both multiple-choice and free-response sections, and will test the same knowledge and skills as the pencil and paper exams. Unlike last year, the exams will cover all of the course content.
Will I take the digital exam or the pencil and paper version?
Your school will determine which exam options are available to you. Be sure to talk to your AP teachers or guidance counselors to learn which testing formats will be offered.
Should I do anything different to prepare for the digital AP exams?
Since the digital format for the 2021 AP exams will be full-length and will include all of the same course content as the traditional exams, your preparation should be nearly identical. You will need to take a few additional steps if you know you will be taking the digital exams rather than the paper exams:
- Pay close attention to College Board communications and updates from your teachers. You will need to ensure that you meet all tech requirements for digital testing, including installing the digital exam application once it becomes available.
- When the digital exam app becomes available in April, practice answering free-response questions. Especially in subjects like calculus or biology, where formulae or graphs often play a role in free-response answers, the free-response questions will look somewhat different. The digital free-response questions will be phrased in a way to allow them to be answered by typing responses. Drawings, graphs, and formulae won’t be a part of the answer. Practicing with these questions will help you adapt to the new format.
- Review information about changes to the exam structure on the digital format of the test. For example, European History, US History, and World History will have a different number of free-response questions. On the digital versions of the tests, all free-response questions will be required whereas the traditional exam format allows for some optionality. You can find information about the digital exam formats here.
- For security purposes, the digital exams will not allow you to toggle back and forth between questions. You will not be able to skip ahead or go back. If you think you may be taking the digital version of the exams, try to go through all questions on your practice tests in order to get used to this change.
When will more information become available?
The College Board will release more details about 2021 AP exam security and digital exams in March, and the digital testing app and practice questions will be released in April. We will continue to update this page as new information becomes available.