In the same way that the 2020 AP Exams threw us a curveball last spring, the 2021 AP Exams are in a league of their own. This year, the College Board is offering schools the opportunity to mix and match between three different testing windows (listed in the link below) and two different test formats (paper-to-pencil and online) throughout May and June. AP scores are released in July. All 2021 AP Exams will be three-hours in length, regardless of testing format.

AP Exam Administration 1 (May 3-6, 10-12, 14, & 17) looks most similar to 2019 and prior AP Exams. All exams will be paper-to-pencil and take place in school. AP Exam Administration 2 (May 18-21, 24-28) offers both in-school, paper-to-pencil testing as well as options for digital testing (both at-home and in-school). Finally, Administration 3 (June 1-4, 7-11) will primarily offer digital testing options.

To view the full list of test dates and their respective formats for this year, please click here.

While of course each Administration will have its own, unique test to reduce acts of plagiarism, some exams will also vary in format depending on whether it is paper-to-pencil or digital. Students will receive more information regarding digital testing directly from their school. To learn more about how students will take exams digitally, including information about the secure testing platform and how to access practice sessions, please click here.

Here’s what you need to know:

All 2021 AP Exams (both paper-to-pencil and digital) will be full length and cover the same course content. The College Board has implemented some security measures for digital exams. Digital exams administered at-home or in-person will:

  • Not allow students to return to answered questions or move back-and-forth between unanswered questions
  • Begin at the same time worldwide with synchronous section start times
  • Not include questions that can be answered with internet searches, textbooks, notes, study guides, or similar material
  • Include security features to prevent students from collaborating, accessing unauthorized aids, or attempting to have someone else test for them
  • Be reviewed with plagiarism detection software and other monitors and post-exam analyses for detecting exam violations

Exams With No Change Across Format

The following exams will be offered both in pencil-to-paper and digital formats for in-school and at-home testing. There is no change in each test across both formats:

  • AP Comparative Government and Politics
  • AP Computer Science A
  • AP Computer Science Principles
  • AP English Language
  • AP English Literature
  • AP Human Geography
  • AP Psychology
  • AP Seminar
  • AP US Government and Politics

Exams With Slight Change Across Format

These exams will be offered both in pencil-to-paper and digital formats for in-school and at-home testing. There is a very slight change to the test depending on its format:

  • AP Art History
    • On the digital exams, due to security reasons, students will not need to identify works of art. They will also not be asked to provide identifying information for works of art that are provided as stimuli in free-response questions.

For the following exams, students will not have to draw diagrams or show their work. All work must be shown through typing:

  • AP Biology
  • AP Calculus AB & Calculus BC
  • AP Environmental Science
  • AP Macroeconomic & Microeconomic Exams

Exams With Significant Change Across Format

These exams will be offered both in pencil-to-paper and digital formats for in-school and at-home testing. There is a significant difference between the paper-to-pencil and digital versions of these exams.

For the following exams, the multiple choice section will remain the same across both formats. However, the second section’s format will differ:

  • AP Chemistry Exam (Administration 3 only)
    • Paper Test: 3 Long Answer Questions + 4 Short Answer Questions
    • Digital Test: 45 Multiple Choice Questions + 1 Long Answer Question + 2 Short Answer Questions
  • AP European History, AP World History, and AP United States History Exams (Administrations 2 & 3)
    • Paper Test: 3 Short Answer Questions + 1 Document-Based Question + 1 Long Essay Question
    • Digital Test: 3 Short Answer Questions + 1 Document-Based Question + 2 Short Answer Questions
  • AP Physics 1 & 2 Exams (Administration 3 only)
    • Paper Test: 5 Free Response Questions
    • Digital Test: 25 Multiple Choice Questions + 2 Free Response Questions
  • AP Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism and Physics C: Mechanics (Administration 3 only)
    • Paper Test: 3 Free Response Questions
    • Digital Test: 35 Multiple Choice Questions (No Free Response)
  • AP Statistics Exam (Administration 3 only)
    • Paper Test: 6 Free Response Questions
    • Digital Test: 11 Multiple Choice Questions + 4 Free Response Questions

Exams With No At-Home Option

Some exams cannot be administered at-home due to security reasons and will only be administered in school:

  • AP Chinese Language Exam (digital only)
  • AP French Language Exam
  • AP German Language Exam
  • AP Italian Language Exam
  • AP Japanese Language Exam (digital only)
  • AP Latin Exam
  • AP Spanish Language Exam
  • AP Spanish Literature Exam
  • AP Music Theory Exam

Remember! The date upon which you take each AP Exam is up to when your school will administer the test. At Carnegie Prep, we’re here to help you feel completely prepared and confident when you walk into test day. We offer online AP Exam courses as well as private tutoring for each test. If you have any questions, please call us at 203.352.3500 or email us at [email protected] We’re happy to help!

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