Important AP Testing Updates

Exam Start Time 12:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET)

Mon, May 11

Physics C: Mechanics

Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism

United States Government and Politics

Tues, May 12


Calculus AB


Calculus BC

Human Geography

Wed, May 13

Physics 2: Algebra-Based

English Literature and Composition

European History

Thurs, May 14

Spanish Literature and Culture


Physics 1: Algebra-Based

Fri, May 15

Art History

United States History

Computer Science A

Mon, May 18

Chinese Language and Culture


Environmental Science

Tues, May 19

Music Theory


Japanese Language and Culture


Italian Language and Culture

Wed, May 20

German Language and Culture

English Language and Composition


Thurs, May 21

French Language and Culture

World History: Modern


Fri, May 22

Comparative Government and Politics


Spanish Language and Culture

Updated Information about the AP Exam Day and Test Format

Test Ticket - All students will receive a unique “test ticket” that will be their entrance into the exam. This will be sent to students by email in the coming weeks. Students will also be able to find this test ticket in their College Board account 48 hours prior to the exam. If a student does not use the test ticket information on the test day, they will be issued a new test ticket for the late exam in June.

Testing Program - It has not been made clear yet what platform the College Board will be using to administer the test. However, they have notified us they will be using a vendor that will administer the tests at the same time all around the world for that exam. The screens will not be “locked down” and students do not need to use any form of browser lockdown, while taking the test.

  1. What Will the Testing Experience be Like?
  1. Logging In - Students will need to log into the testing program 20-30 minutes prior to the published start time of the exam. Students will sign in with their test ticket information and complete security questions to verify who they are. Students will also be asked to submit a typing/writing sample prior to the exam for security purposes. Once these tasks have been completed, students will be put into a “waiting room” until the published start time of the exam. When the start time occurs, students will see a timer appear on the screen and it will say something like, “Your first question will appear between 11:00-11:05.” Then, it will push students into the exam in waves every few seconds, so students should just stand by and wait for the system to push them into the exam.
  2. Testing  -  Once the test begins, students will see Question #1. Students will see a split screen function that will allow them to view the question while typing into a text box on the other side. Students are also allowed to type into a Google Doc or into Microsoft Word or any typing program they prefer. They may like this better as a way to view the whole document. If a student chooses to type into a doc or another program, they should copy and paste their response into the text box on the testing program. Students who handwrite, will take a picture of the handwritten response and then upload it to the testing program when they are ready to submit.
  3. Timing and Test Submission - Each course’s exam differs slightly on the number of questions, what the question structure looks like, and the timing of each free response. However the way it is presented will be the same. For example, after the set time for one FRQ has elapsed all students will be given a five minute window to submit their response before moving on. So if FRQ #1 is said to be 25 minutes, then the timer will be set on the screen for 30 minutes. When there are 5 minutes remaining, the student will see a notification telling them to begin the upload process. Students must stop their typing/writing and submit their response at this time. If the time runs out before the student submits their response, then it cannot be scored. However, it may be possible that a student could submit within the 5 minutes upload period but the response may not be fully uploaded when the time expires. If this happens, the student should not worry. The College Board recognizes that bandwidth issues could make uploading take longer for some students and they are prepared for this to happen. They said the key is for students to stop and submit the response within the 5-minute time frame but if the response is still uploading when the time expires, the program will keep uploading and bump the student onto the next question. If a student finishes early, submitting and uploading their response, then the program will put the student back into the “waiting room” until the full allotted time has expired.


Addressing the “Open-Note” Questions - This year’s exam is considered “open-note” because there are factors that cannot be controlled with the exam being taken at home. However, the tests are designed to benefit the students who are able to answer the free responses without needing to use their notes or textbooks. Due to the shortened time frame and the number of items students must address in each response, the College Board believes that students who don’t spend time looking things up will benefit the most. It is in the student’s best interest to know the material without needing any other resources. Trevor Packer said if students want to be competitive, and score highly, then they need to go into the exam prepared not to utilize any support. The College Board also believes the majority of students will likely not be able to finish every part of the FRQ in the amount of time that is given (see #6). So the less time a student can spend looking up terms and concepts, the better off they will be. In regards to the type of resources students use, the College Board says printouts/handouts are the best for easy reference, and a textbook is also a good option. Students are allowed to enter a search term in Google but this is not recommended as the safest option. So students need to be very very careful if they choose to use the internet as a resource. If an internet search leads a student to a website where collaborating is taking place, the student will be considered a cheater regardless of if they intended to go to that website or not. Forums, Quora, Redditt, Social Media sites, etc. are all places where collaboration between students may occur so students should be very careful which web pages they open while taking the exam. A student could search a question and click on a link to a forum where other students are discussing the test, and this will be considered cheating. So, search engines are not considered the safest option when it comes to utilizing resources for the exam.

Exam Security - The College Board is working with financial companies who use programs to detect fraud on a daily basis. They’ve been advised on how to utilize similar strategies to maintain the integrity and security of the AP exams this year. The College Board is confident they can catch students who are collaborating, working with siblings/parents, or working with others during the exam with their security techniques. The College Board is using high-tech plagiarism software that will be checking all student responses as well. There will be waves of security catches. Students making plans to collaborate on the test will be caught early on, some students may be caught through techniques used while in the exam "waiting room.” Students may be caught later after submission through the plagiarism software. Finally, the responses will be sent on to the classroom teachers and students may also be caught after their individual teachers review their responses. The College Board has already caught one student making plans to cheat on this year’s exam. So they want students to be very aware of their intention to find and catch cheating. All students suspected of cheating will be reported to universities. Universities do not tolerate cheating or plagiarism. Students should understand that one AP test score is NOT worth the risk of college admissions.

Question Style and Length - Trevor Packer said the questions should not look different to students. Questions should look familiar to previous exam questions. However, they do expect students to spend the entire time writing. In fact, they do not expect students to finish the entire question. The length of the questions are designed for students to take the WHOLE TIME and not finish. This is so that students who do not use their resources will be able to answer more of the question and receive greater benefits than students who are looking up concepts during the exam. So, the College Board is confident that a student can still earn a 5 without actually finishing the entire response. The biggest takeaway for students is 1) DO NOT freak out if the time expires and you have not finished the question, just submit it and move on; 2) Students SHOULD review and prepare as much as possible prior to the exam, so they can confidently finish as much of the FRQ as they can - this is what will really set them apart.

College Board Resources  - In the coming weeks, students will be given resources through AP Classroom and through their teachers that will help prepare them for the exam. Here are a few of the resources that are coming:

  1. Printed Handout for Exam Day - Students will receive a test day instruction handout. They are asked to keep this by their computer/device while they test. It will walk them through how to log in, submit responses, and what to do if problems arise.
  2. Video Support: The College Board will also make a video soon for students explaining how to use the testing program.
  3. Review Resources: Soon a test simulation will come out that will allow students to practice uploading responses, so they feel comfortable with the test program and format before the exam day. The College Board has also released many practice FRQs for students in AP Classroom. Finally, there are daily review videos for each AP course that are uploaded to YouTube. Videos are intended to cover every topic for every unit in each course. You can find the playlist for each class here`.

Technology Support - The College Board is working very hard to ensure all students have what they need in order to take the exam and receive the credit they worked for. With that said, they want all students to know if they do not have a device or do not have access to the internet, they are making a way for this to happen. Students can fill out this form on the College Board website. Someone will be in contact with students in just a few days after completing the form. This should be done within the next two weeks (no later than the week of April the 24th). The College Board has already received 12,000 technology requests from students and they are committed to making sure every student has what they need to be successful on the exam.

Disruptions During the Exam - The College Board is very aware that technology issues may occur for students taking an online exam. They want to make any accommodation for students who find themselves in this situation during the test. So if a disruption does occur during the test, students can request to take the late test in June. The College Board will send out a url link after the May exam, for students to submit a late test request. The students will need to explain the disruption/distraction that occurred and the College Board will then approve students for the late exam. This will only be allowed for any legitimate distraction/disruption. Technology issues, emergencies, even screaming siblings will be considered as reasonable issues. However, running out of time will not be considered a legitimate disruption.


  1. Score Reliability - The College Board stated that there should not be any concern in regards to this year’s test being any easier or any harder to pass than previous year’s exams. The College Board will review student performance and difficulty level of this year’s exams after tests have been submitted to help determine what they consider a passing score. For example, if they believe this year’s exam was “more difficult” for students in previous years, they will adjust what criteria is necessary for a student to get a 3, 4, 5 etc. The College Board also plans to compare this year’s international version, state-side version, and late test version to determine whether or not the different exams had different difficulty levels for students as well. So if a student has technology trouble and isn’t able to complete the original test, they should not worry that the late test will be “easier” or “harder” to pass than the original exam. So for students, that means even if the test feels very difficult, it may not necessarily mean that he or she will have a low score. Difficulty levels are compared and factored into what is needed to earn a passing score.
  2. Score Release - Scores are believed to come out in early July. The exact date is not yet determined because they are still working out the details of online reading/grading.