Written By: David Lord
As your child enters March, a decision about signing up for AP tests will be made. Several parents and my students have been hesitant since there were a lot of issues in 2020. However, I am happy to say that Collegeboard has learned from their mistakes and are providing a much better plan. This plan can seem confusing so I hope to enlighten you and increase your confidence with the AP exams.
Collegeboard will be offering multiple administrations of the AP exams this year. For the first administration (May 3 – May 17) , all tests will be in paper and conducted at school. This is how AP tests are normally conducted, and there will be no changes to the style of the test. So if your child’s school is open, then the test will be pretty normal.
But what if the school is not open? Or there are limitations to the number of students on campus?
For the second administration (May 18 – May 28), some tests will be in paper and at school, but the rest will be digital and administered at school or at home.
|All Languages (Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Latin, French, German, Spanish) Music Theory Calculus (AB and BC)Physics 1, 2 and C Chemistry Statistics
|English (Literature and Language)Computer Science (A and Principles) All Histories (Art, European, US and World)Econ (Macro and Micro)Government (Comparative and US)PsychologyBiology Environmental Sciences Seminar
For the third administration (June 1 – June 11), most tests will be digital and at school or at home. The paper exams will be administered at school.
|All Languages (Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Latin, French, German, Spanish) Music Theory
|Calculus (AB and BC)Physics 1, 2 and C Chemistry StatisticsEnglish (Literature and Language)Computer Science (A and Principles) All Histories (Art, European, US and World)Econ (Macro and Micro)Government (Comparative and US)PsychologyBiology Environmental Sciences Seminar
Which Administration will my child receive?
Collegeboard has granted a lot of flexibility to the schools. The schools can choose to have multiple administrations. So if a school is still restricting access to students, then the school may choose to do second and third administration windows.
So I recommend that you keep in contact with the school and look for updates on which test dates they will follow.
Paper vs Digital AP exams
The paper AP exams will be in the exact same format as previous administrations of the AP tests. The paper exams also have their normal morning or afternoon start times. Proctors will be allowed to start up to an hour after the official start time to help accommodate delays.
The digital exams have made some updates compared to the 2020 versions.
- Students will only be allowed to take the tests on a computer. Cell phones are not allowed.
- Students must be logged in 30 minutes before the exam and begin the check in process.
- Students will not be permitted to submit pictures of their work as that caused a lot of issues last year. Since a lot of FRQs require graphs or formulas, these AP exams will provide the diagrams. On that note, students will only have text based responses, no matter the exam.
- Since these tests are online, they will all start at the same time worldwide. So an 8 AM test in California will translate to 1 AM test for students in Korea.
- Students cannot skip or return to previous questions. This is quite unfortunate as for most students. Thankfully, for the paper exams, students will be able to skip and return to questions in a section.
- Collegeboard has set up the testing application to be tolerant of internet disruptions, so students should be able to return where they left off.
Overall, I think Collegeboard has made some significant improvements, and I feel that this round of AP testing round will be much smoother than last year’s. I recommend that if your child feels prepared for the AP test, they should register for it as it can represent how much they have learned this year. If they are not quite ready, you should speak with one of the tutoring coordinators and they can provide guidance on your child’s readiness.
If you would like to read more, I recommend the following links: