AP Exams, how have they changed?


Advanced Placement exams are a tense time for students in their third or final year of high school.  It’s no surprise that because of coronavirus a lot of things, academically, have changed from in-person to virtual only, AP exams included. But that was last year, now a year later AP exams are being rolled out once more with updated conditions to better accommodate students who are solely reliant on online learning. For instance, the new conditions for the AP exams are that students are supposed to download a new software element for taking the exam, it’s a digital testing application that is being given to students, (guidelines can be found here: https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap-2021/updates/digital-exams) to help them better prepare for the upcoming exams. Furthermore, this should be down at least 1-3 days ahead of time before their test to make sure everything is in order and that there will be no hiccups in the testing process.

However, similarly to last year, students taking the exams will be sent emails over their exams and how to access them. Some changes have been added in the form of backups, should a student miss their exam, important email reminders will be sent out to notify them in case of changes. They also recommend adding your SMS messages to your College Board account to better give you reminders of upcoming exams to help direct you to your test.

We’ll send students important email reminders before exam day to the email address associated with their College Board account, including a backup method to access their exam (PCs and Macs only) if they’re unable to log in on exam day.” [pg. 38, Email Adress] https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap-digital-testing-guide.pdf

There are a few new additions to the testing environment that have been provided by College Board in the form of a checklist that students are recommended to follow to better study and prepare for their AP exams. Firstly, by April 8th students are recommended to have the digital testing app provided by College Board on their Chromebooks, Laptops, etc. in order to give students the ability to take sample questions to better help them with the exams in June. This software is mandatory as it is what College Board is using to give out their tests in the first place.

Before exam day, students need to download the digital testing application and complete exam setup for each
digital exam subject they take. We also strongly recommend that they practice answering questions in the
application, which will familiarize them with the app and its tools and features, and give them experience
answering each type of question they’ll see on exam day.” [pg 42. Taking digital AP Exams] https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap-digital-testing-guide.pdf

Lastly, for free-response questions, students are not allowed to upload any files during testing or submit any handwritten work, whether it be in-person or online. Compared to last year, this is a bit different as most AP exams allowed for you to take pictures of your work or submit a word document through either Google docs, or Microsoft word to then is graded, whether or not this change was necessary is not my decision, but nonetheless I wish all good luck on these exams.

On free-response questions, students type responses directly into the app. All of their work is saved to their device automatically while the exam is running.” [pg. 58 Answering Free-Response Questions] https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/pdf/ap-digital-testing-guide.pdf