2021 AP Exams Update

What to expect this spring

2021 AP Exams


Since the beginning of the pandemic, the College Board has had to adjust the format of AP Exams to fit the needs of students. In 2020, AP Exams were abridged and delivered digitally across the board. In 2021, AP Exams will return to their full length and be offered in-person, with contingency options if in-person testing isn’t available. Here’s what we know so far: 

What to Expect

  • The College Board has released the 2021 AP Exam schedule. This schedule is different from previous years in that there are three possible administrations in May or June with a combination of in-person and digital options. You can find the full exam schedule here
    • Administration 1: May 3–17, in schools
    • Administration 2: May 18–28, in schools and at home
    • Administration 3: June 1–11, in schools and at home
  • All exams, whether paper or digital, will be full-length. Students will have multiple choice and free-response questions for exams that follow this format. 
  • Some exams are not available in a digital form. A list of the exams that are strictly paper-and-pencil or those that are paper-and-pencil in certain administrations are available here.
  • The full-length digital exams will look different from 2020’s abridged versions. This page has more information from the College Board. Students with accommodations will be able to access the digital exams. 

What This Means for Students 

  • Students should monitor information from their school about which time frame and exam type they will be taking. Regardless of whether their exam is on paper at school, digital at school, or digital at home, students will need to be prepared to complete a full-length exam including multiple choice and free-response sections. 
  • The digital test will require the student to install a digital exam application on a laptop or desktop with a camera. We do know that students will not be able to return to a question once they move on; this is not an ideal circumstance, but students will need to be prepared for it. Digital exams will also be reviewed with plagiarism detection software. 
  • While there is now some information available, students should expect more information from the College Board and their schools about their planned exam administration and how to prepare if they will take a digital exam. 

We are here to help. Private Prep offers full-length diagnostic AP exams for 5 courses (Calculus AB & BC, Chemistry, Physics 1, US History) and AP Review classes for 7 courses (Biology, Calculus AB, Chemistry, Physics, World History, US History, and European History), as well as tutoring for a variety of AP subjects. For more information, visit our 2021 AP Exam website or contact your director.

Becky McGlensey