top of page

What the 2021 AP Exam Will Look Like

To provide flexibility to schools that need more instructional time before testing, the College Board has expanded the 2021 exam schedule to include three testing dates for each subject. The first administration for each subject will take place between May 3-17 and will be an in-school, paper-and-pencil exam.

The second and third testing windows may include digital exams (which can be administered either in school or at home).

  • Students can take digital exams either between May 18-28 or between June 1-11.

  • Schools are allowed to mix and match testing dates and formats. This means, for example, it could be possible for a student to sit for a paper-and-pencil exam in the first testing window, an at-home digital exam in the second testing window, and an in-school digital exam in the third testing window.

All exams will be full-length tests. Whereas last year's exams were abbreviated tests that excluded multiple-choice questions and eliminated content from the end of the year, students taking digital AP exams this year should expect to be tested on the full course content.

Tech requirements & details

Students who took digital AP exams last year should prepare for some differences this time around. In response to the technical issues and security challenges of last year, the College Board plans to make adjustments for this year's exams.

The College Board has released the 2021 AP Digital Testing Guide, and here are the key details to keep in mind:

  • Exams must be taken on desktop or laptop computers (no smartphones or tablets this year). Students must close all programs and internet browsers before testing, and the digital testing app will lock their devices so that they can't run any other applications while the exam is in progress.

  • Students' work will be saved automatically. This should be a major improvement over last year's digital testing experience. On FRQs, students will type their responses directly into the app, and their work will be saved automatically while the exam is running.