AP testing information

As a result of the pandemic, most AP exams this year will be online, with the exception of a few math and science tests.


Makayla Bowen

College Board is offering practice tests to help students prepare for AP exams, this year.

To all but a few seniors this 2021 Advanced Placement exam season, there is no such thing as a normal exam format. As a result of Covid-19, the College Board had to move AP testing to a digital format last year, and they have, this year, come up with a hybrid system to work around the many varying lockdown procedures being facilitated at schools across the world. Needing to accommodate all these diverse virus policies, the 2021 system of exam administration has, understandably, gotten to be quite complex. 

The College Board extended the normal two-week testing period in a month, offering three distinct administration periods schools could choose from. With the first period being entirely pen-and-paper, in school exams, and the second and third involving more digital, at-home offerings, the College Board aimed to let schools decide what testing period would best fit their district’s Covid-19 policies. The number one thing students need to know about AP testing this year is the exam dates and times CFHS has selected; an updated chart of this information can be found at this link.

The majority of exams being offered by CFHS this year are in the digital, at-home format. Students taking tests at home should ensure that they have access to the AP digital testing app on their school-issued Chromebooks (found in the apps section at the login screen), a reliable source of power and internet access, and be aware of the start time of their exam. One to three days before each exam, students must sign into their digital testing app and complete the Exam Setup presented for each of their tests. Finally, students, on exam day, must sign into their application 30 minutes prior to the start time, and wait to begin. 

AP students are also encouraged to practice with the digital exam format. The College Board set up a number of digital practice questions that students can access through the same AP testing app that will be used on exam day, providing peace of mind for those looking to accustom themselves to the new format.

Some of the math and science-based exams are only being offered as paper, in-school tests. Students taking these exams will be required to come into school on the exam date with all materials, including No. 2 pencils, black or blue pens, and an exam-acceptable calculator (exam-specific calculator policies can be found here). 

With change, there will always be advantages and disadvantages. Exam taker Bianca Caputo says she is looking forward to being able to take the exam “in a place where she feels comfortable,” but wishes she “could have the experience of an ordinary exam.” As always, Advanced Placement testing is a valuable opportunity for those interested in taking advantage of it, making the most of it will just look a bit different this year.