AP Update: 2021 Exams Will Be Mix of Traditional and Digital Formats

By: Jason Robinovitz | Last Updated: February 6, 2021

Changes to the AP exams for 2021After scrambling last year to find ways to administer AP exams during the unfolding pandemic, the College Board has now had some time to review that experience and plan for this year’s upcoming tests. Realizing that every school district around the country has different needs and capabilities, the College Board is implementing several changes for 2021. Overall, they’ve added more options and additional support for teachers and students, hoping to accommodate the wide-ranging circumstances.


The changes include:


Format Options


multiple formatting options for the 2021 AP examThis year, the majority of the AP exams will be available in both the traditional paper and digital formats. Schools and testing centers will be able to work with the tests in any combination, meaning students who prefer to take the paper or digital test at school or a testing center can do that, while other students whose circumstances demand they be at home, can take the digital test at home. Keep in mind that this year’s digital exams are not the same as last year’s abbreviated emergency versions. They will be full-length and test the same knowledge and skills as the paper and pencil format. Here’s more about digital exams.


Multiple Testing Dates


ap exam will be availble on multiple datesAnother major change is that the new 2021 AP Exam schedule provides three testing dates for each subject between early May and mid-June. By subject, each date is either a "paper-only" date or a "digital-only" date. While students do not get to choose their dates, it allows schools and testing centers to assign students to the options that best fit their individual situations.


New Resources for Preparing for Exams


To help students prepare – especially for the digital exams – there will be opportunities, beginning in April, to take a practice digital exam. In addition to getting used to answering questions on their computers, it will also give students an opportunity to complete tech checks and ensure their equipment works properly. The College Board will also be adding live online review sessions, which will be recorded so students can watch at their own convenience.


We’re Here to Help!


Our AP tutors/teachers have, of course, kept abreast of these changes and will continue to stay on top of the latest information to help our students prepare and succeed. We also offer great resources to help you score your best on your AP exams. Here’s our list of 7 study tips to improve your performance on AP exams. This spring, we’ll also be offering our annual AP Strategy Workshops. Taught by our AP experts, the virtual workshops will offer practice tests, strategies to improve timing and accuracy, and more. Please call us if you have any questions about our workshops, tutoring, or any of the changes to AP exams.

Learn More About our AP Strategy Workshops



Topics: AP Exams College Counseling

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