As you may have already seen in your emails, from teachers, and from your parents, all AP exams will be taken online during this COVID-19 Crisis in 2020. Most exams will be up to 50 minutes long, but there are a different amount of questions, formats, and timing for each exam.
We’ve compiled a list of the 2020 AP exam updates including changes to the AP exam schedule, monetary policies surrounding refunds, special exam information, the new open notes policy,
To see specific details for the format of all of the AP exams, the College Board has described it in many different subject areas and subject tabs on this page.
Updated 2020 AP Exam Schedule
The dates for most exams have been pushed back by roughly a week. We created a table with the schedule covering all of the newly adjusted AP exam testing dates.
|Date||Begins 12pm EDT||Begins 2 pm EDT||Begins 4 pm EDT|
|5/11||Physics C: Mechanics||Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism||United States Government and Politics|
|5/12||Latin||Calculus AB, Calculus BC||Human Geography|
|5/13||Physics 2: Algebra-Based||English Literature and Composition||European History|
|5/14||Spanish Literature and Culture||Chemistry||Physics 1: Algebra-Based|
|5/15||Art History||United States History||Computer Science A|
|5/18||Chinese Language and Culture||Biology||Environmental Science|
|5/19||Music Theory||Psychology||Japanese Language and Culture, Italian Language and Culture|
|5/20||German Language and Culture||English Language and Composition||Microeconomics|
|5/21||French Language and Culture||World History: Modern||Macroeconomics|
|5/22||Comparative Government and Politics||Statistics||Spanish Language and Culture|
Updated Makeup 2020 AP Exam Schedule
Though some people might have extenuating circumstances, so some people may need to take the makeup exams in June. The schedule below is very different from the regular May schedule so please note when your exams will be if you must take the Makeups in June:
|Date||12pm EDT||2 pm EDT||4 pm EDT|
|6/1||United States Government and Politics, Physics C: Mechanics||Human Geography, Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism||Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Latin|
|6/2||English Literature and Composition, Spanish Literature and Culture||Physics 1: Algebra-Based, European History||Chemistry, Physics 2: Algebra-Based|
|6/3||United States History, Chinese Language and Culture||Environmental Science, Computer Science A||Biology, Art History|
|6/4||World History: Modern, Macroeconomics||Spanish Language and Culture, Comparative Government and Politics||Statistics, French Language and Culture|
|6/5||English Language and Composition, German Language and Culture||Japanese Language and Culture, Italian Language and Culture, Microeconomics||Psychology, Music Theory|
Exam Fees and Refund Policy
The 2020 AP exam season has changed in just about every way possible. These changes include exam fees & refund policies. The College Board has made special accommodations and exceptions for students during this difficult time, hopefully easing some of the pressure and financial burden many are currently experiencing. Below you will find a complete breakdown of exam fees, policies changing for 2020, refunds, and policies staying the same.
The actual cost of exams hasn’t changed for 2020. At this point in the school year, you should have already given your payment to your AP Coordinator. If you still plan to take the test, you should be good to go!
The following information is directly from the College Board relating to exam costs. For additional information on the CB website, visit this page.
⏰ Late Order Fee
Exams ordered between November 16 and March 13 incur a late order fee in addition to the exam fee. This fee doesn’t apply to exams for courses that start after November 15 and exams for students that transfer into the school. The fee is $40 in addition to the exam fee.
Policies Changing for 2020
The major change for this year’s AP exam season is the College Board’s decision to waive all unused/cancelled exam fees. They will not charge anything for an exam that hasn’t been used/ This includes the base fee AND any late order or cancellation fees (if applicable).
💸 Refund Policy
Although the College Board isn’t charging for any cancelled or unused exams, they are not issuing full refunds either. They have left this decision up to individual schools. If you decide to not take your AP exam, we suggest consulting with your AP Coordinator or one of your teachers for more information.
Policies Staying the Same for 2020
If you decided to take your exam after November 15th, your late order fee will still be charged. Exam fees for on time orders, school rebate amounts, and the College Board reduction fee for eligible students will all stay the same.
Testing at Home and Technology
Each student has a different environment at home and the College Board acknowledges that by condensing the test into a much shorter version than what it typically gives. However, it is still important to give yourself some time and space for yourself. Distractions are the last blockers you want to encounter if you want to snatch that 5!
Here’s some ways to prepare yourself with home testing:
- Clean your room! Cluttered workplaces actually make everything around you seem chaotic and disorganized. By cleaning, you are getting rid of last-minute anxiety and feel more prepared as you know where everything – notes, calculators, stationery – is without having to do a scavenger hunt in your room.
- Let your family know when you’re testing. Chances are your family will knock on your door or call for you for virtually any reason from lunchtime to just chores. Give them a disclaimer that you are taking a one-time test that’ll potentially earn college credit and save money in the long run! Phrasing it in a straightforward and objective manner will surely help them understand your situation! If possible, ask your family members to limit their internet usage especially with programs like Netflix and Fortnite. That way you can maximize your bandwidth and not worry about the internet connection every five minutes.
- Familiarize yourself with the logistics and instructions. On May 4, College Board released a demo site for students to practice responding and submitting responses. DO IT! I repeat: DO IT! It is highly recommended that by exam day, you should’ve practiced with the demo at least 3-5 times. In addition, Be sure to follow exam-specific instructions (e.g. uninstalling Grammarly) to minimize as many last-minute mishaps and errors as possible when submitting your responses.
- Delete/log out of social media accounts!Put your phone on Do Not Disturb mode. While it’s highly tempting to check out the latest trends and updates from friends and celebrities, you must shift your focus completely on the test. Remember, there are no retakes!
- Have everything you need ready! Here’s a checklist put together by College Board for your convenience. In a nutshell: pen, paper, calculators (STEM), AND FULLY-CHARGED DEVICES.
Testing on a Computer
If you’re testing using a laptop/computer, chances are you will use a web browser like Google Chrome (recommended) and Firefox to VIEW your test. This window will also show how much time you have left to answer. However, you will use another website or program – most likely a word processing one such as Google Docs, Microsoft Word, and Notes – to RESPOND. With this set-up, you should have 2 side-by-side windows open: one for the exam prompt and one for your response.
*Note: DON’T forget to type both your AP ID and initials at the top of your response! This is how College Board will identify you.
Moving on, there are two options on submitting a response with this route:
- From the window where you typed your answer, copy and paste your response to the window with the prompt and submit!
- From the window where you typed your answer, download your document as any of the following formats: .doc, .docx, .pdf, .txt, .odt. Then, attach that document to the window with the prompt and submit!
Testing on a Phone
Worry not! You still can take the test in your phone. This is the best set-up for you if you prefer handwriting your responses. In this case, all you need to do is to take a picture of your work using a VERTICAL orientation. Attach the picture(s) to the window with the prompt and submit!
Regardless of whether method you’re using on your phone or laptop/computer, you must submit your work when the timer hits the 5 minute mark! You can choose to delay submitted for a minute or two, but keep in mind factors such as internet connectivity and site traffic. As Trevor Packer mentioned in his webinar for teachers, you DO NOT need to finish the test to get a top score. It’s more important to submit a partial response than not turning a complete one on time!
Special Exam Info for 2020
The AP World Language and Culture Exams and the AP Music Theory Exam have special preparation work for before the Exam Day.
AP Music Theory
This webpage describes the two questions on the AP Music Theory (APMT) exam and also how you will have to submit those responses. In Summary, there will be 2 sections of your exam which will both include 2 questions. The first section will consist of 2 Figured Bass questions, and the first one will be a realized baseline from arabic numerals while the second question will be writing a four-part realized bass from roman numerals. The second sections will consist of two sight signing questions with 4 measures each! The first question of that section will likely be in a common meter, but the second question will probably be in a compound meter.
To submit section 1, you must print out this staff paper, and during the exam, you’ll need to copy by hand portions of the Question 1 prompts onto your prepared answer sheet and then complete the question. You will then have to take a picture of the answer sheet with your phone and submit it. The acceptable photo formats are .jpg, ,jpeg, and .png, BUT .heic is NOT included so be careful!
For section 2, you must submit an audio recording from your phone or laptop that has you pause in between question 1 and 2 of this section because you will only be allowed to submit ONE audio file. To help you prepare to sight sing, you can use a metronome or instrument, but you must submit a recording performing SOLO. For question 2, the single audio file can be recorded with Voice Memos on Apple, Audacity on Laptop, or any other recording app, BUT it must be exported to a .mp3, .m4a, .ogg, or .wav file to allow it to be submitted.
Guidelines for Using Notes on the 2020 AP Exams
Never in a million years did we think this would happen: Open note AP exams, a concept just about as novel as COVID-19 itself. Some students are definitely rejoicing at this news; however, open note exams are not as smooth sailing as they seem. Keep reading for a breakdown of the College Board’s policies regarding using notes on the AP exams as well as some tips for success!
📓Open Note Policy
The College Board has officially declared this year’s exams open book/open note. This doesn’t mean open everything. You are permitted to use your classroom resources (books/notes), but that’s all. There is no official green light to use google searches and the exams have been designed so that the questions may not be answerable based on information found on the internet. Collaboration is also prohibited.
Additionally, the College Board has warned us that there are ~special measures~ being put in place to monitor cheating on social media and discourse sites. To be on the safe side, we recommend sticking to your notes.
Although these exams are open note/book, that doesn’t mean they’ll be any easier. The main purpose of this measure is to compensate for the lack of classroom learning and balance out any differences in the amount of instruction for students around the world. It is still highly advised you prepare for your exams just like you would normally.
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🏆 Tips for Open Note Success
- Don’t waste any time 🕑
On exam day, you only have at most 50 minutes to complete your test from start to finish, uploading in all. Do lots of practice leading up to the exam so you’re prepared for anything the CB may throw at you. Time yourself taking practice tests to get a better understanding of your pace and look at what you can do to improve it!
- Organize your notes 📚
By exam day, you’ll surely have a mountain of notes and resources that you’ve accumulated throughout the school year. However, given the limited testing time, you won’t be able to sift through all of that good info. We suggest condensing your notes as much as possible and organizing them by subject and unit (as specific as you want!) for easy access. Afterall, the more time you spend looking for information, the less time you spend answering the question!
- Practice, Practice, Practice ✍
This whole idea of “open note” tests is a new way of test taking. Many students have little to know experience with going back and forth from exam to notes. It’s just like running: the more you train the faster you become so by practicing using notes on your exam, the more efficient you’ll become!
- Know what’s best for you🙌
During your practice tests, try out different methods of organization to help set up a concrete plan for exam day!
- Don’t rely on your notes🚫
Notes/books and other classroom resources will definitely be a game-changing form of assistance on this year’s exams, but it is still not wise to completely rely on your notes. The College Board has stated that the exams will require you to apply concepts beyond just what you have written in your notebook, so having a concrete understanding of your exam material is definitely the move!
AP Exam Demo and Walkthrough
This year’s AP exams will be unlike any other. Luckily, the College Board has released an interactive exam demo to help students get acclimated with this new online format. Below you will find everything you need to know about the CB’s exam demo for 2020 tests!
📖About the Demo
First thing’s first: what exactly is the interactive exam demo and what does it actually do?
The interactive exam demo will replicate a two question exam only (sorry one question testers, but for the sake of practice, the two question exam will be just fine). You can launch the demo as many times as you’d like. The College Board encourages this as you can practice submitting your work using the different methods. This is helpful because on exam day, you don’t want to waste any of your precious time with submission!
The demo is set up exactly like your exam will be. The process of entering your personal information, AP ID, and timing are all included; however, there are no actual questions in the demo. This IS NOT a practice test.
💻 How to Use the Demo
The College Board recommends you launch the demo on all devices you plan to use for your exams (ie. if you plan to use a computer for one test and your phone for the other, try the demo on both).
Once in the demo, you will be taken through the full testing process from entering your AP ID to the time you hit the final “submit” (more on this in the next section). In terms of browsers, the College Board recommends Chrome, but Safari, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge are supported. NO INTERNET EXPLORER (this applies to the actual exams as well).
The College Board also mentions students using screen-reader software should make sure they have one of the supported browsers as well as test the compatibility of their software and the demo prior to exam day.
Walkthrough of the AP Exam Demo
A step-by-step breakdown of what you’ll see in the demo & what to expect!
General Tip: DO NOT REFRESH or HIT THE BACK BUTTON! You will be sent back to step 1 in the demo.
- Enter your AP ID
The first thing you do once you launch the demo, is enter your AP ID. For the sake of practice, you can use any 8-character ALL CAPS made up ID. You will enter an ID every time you launch the demo.
- Enter your personal info
Standard procedure: name, birthday, email, agree to terms and conditions. You have 5 minutes to complete this step and a timer will be visible at the bottom of your screen.
Once you’ve entered your personal information, you will hit “continue.” You will then be taken to another page on which you can review how to submit your work. Wait until the timer expires and your exam will begin automatically. You cannot move on before time runs out.
- Question 1
This is where you would see your first exam question. The demo allows you 10 minutes to upload a sample of your work. Instead of a question, you will see a grey box that gives you instructions for generating a demo response as well as timing guidelines for your real exam.
Once you have created your demo response, you can choose your preferred method of submission. If you submit before the 10 minutes is up, you must wait to move on. You will be taken to the same waiting screen as before where you can review submission guidelines.
- Question 2
Same procedure as question 1. Once you hit submit, viola you’re done! Make sure that you receive a submission message though!
College Credits and Score Equivalency
Even though many sections of the AP exam have been truncated and the exam has been shortened to just forty-five minutes, many colleges have announced they will continue to recognize passing AP scores for college credit. From College Board’s webinar for students and parents and official testing guide for the 2020 AP exams, the University of California schools, Purdue, Vanderbilt, University of Connecticut, Wheaton College, Boston College, and George Washington University have all indicated that they will not be changing their college credits awarded for AP exams, despite the changes in timing and format. 💯
To check what college courses or credit hours you would be receiving for your AP courses, check with individual schools and their AP credit policies. Note that in some states like Texas, public universities are required to give some amount of credit for AP exam scores of a 3 or higher. Certain private universities only give credit for 5s! 🧠
In addition, the College Board has noted that “difficult questions require fewer points to earn 3s, 4s, and 5s than easier questions require” and that this year’s scores are not graded on a curve; essentially, there is no maximum or minimum number of students who can receive a certain score. 😅
Finally, it is okay if you leave certain sections blank of different free-response questions. In fact, a question may have “more parts than can be answered in the allowed time,” which indicates that you don’t have score perfectly to get a 5. 🙌
Frequently Asked Questions
- What devices can I take my AP Exams on?
According to the College Board, any internet capable device will be able to be used for AP exams. Whether it’s a phone, tablet, desktop, or a laptop, as long as it can connect to the internet, you’ll be ok! The only exception is that Internet Explorer is NOT supported. Some exams may be suited to certain platforms, but hypothetically, you could take your exam on your XBOX for as far as the College Board cares (don’t do this please). Make sure going into the exam that you’ll have a stable internet connection for the full hour or so that you’ll be in “exam mode” and that your device is reliable. Plug in your phone/tablet/laptop if you take the exam with it!!
- How will I be able to submit handwritten work?
Yes! However, when submitting handwritten work, you must be taking your AP exams on a tablet or phone that can take pictures. This means that you are not allowed to use your computer to download images, such as through google photos or iCloud. When handwriting responses, make sure that you include your AP ID number that will be given to you on the top left corner and number your pages so when your reader is looking at your response they can follow it. Treat it basically like a normal FRQ sheet. Label your responses for (a), (b), (c), etc and answer away!
- How can I type my responses for exams that require math and symbols?
If you prefer to type, this will be a relatively straight forward process. For exams such as AP Lang and AP World History, typing your response will be a simple process, all you need to do is open your text editor, type your response(s) and then download as a PDF, DOCX, or equivalent. However, if you choose to type your answer for AP Calculus, AP Statistics, AP Chemistry, or any other AP class that has equations and/or special symbols (such as x̄ or ∫ for Stats and Calc), you can use Microsoft Word’s equation editor, LaTeX if you’re familiar, or, the College Board has created standards for typing that outline how to type specific symbols and equations:
- Keyboarding Tip Sheet for 2020 AP Statistics Exams
- Keyboarding Tip Sheet for 2020 AP Calculus Exams
- Keyboarding Tip Sheet for 2020 AP Chemistry Exams
- What is the process for getting into the exam?
Coming up to your exam, you will be emailed a testing ticket with an eight digit testing ticket code that will be your key into the exam. If you do not use this code during the testing time, which means you won’t take the test, you’ll automatically be pushed over to the June testing date. Once you put that code in, you’ll be asked to enter your personal info just like the gridding on AP and SAT exams. After that, you’ll go through a security protocol. We aren’t 100% sure what this will be like, but during the exam, the College Board will have security measures in place to avoid cheating. Then, you’ll have a timer counting down to the exam and it’s go time! Check out this video by the College Board to see a visual.
- Will my AP score be affected by this?
While this is an extremely personal question, in terms of a raw score, statisticians are working with the College Board to assure that a score on the online shortened exam match scores on a full length exam. For example, if the average 5-scorer on an AP exam got a 3/5 on an FRQ, that will be the rough cutoff for the 5 on the AP exam. Of course it’s a bit more complicated than that, but statistically, it should be relatively the same. However, on a person to person basis, it could be different simply based off of environment and preference. Make sure to practice testing at home so you’re used to it come exams!
- What notes/resources can I use during the exam?
The College Board has said that most resources and notes are fair game for the exam. This means that printed notes, online notes, and textbooks are allowed. However, there are a few caveats. We do not recommend googling, since the exam is formatted around the fact that notes are allowed, your questions will not be simple recall questions, but rather they will be application based. Therefore, notes actually won’t be as helpful as one may think, especially giant review packets, along with the testing time being extremely short. There is one thing that you aren’t allowed to do, and that’s work with others. This includes calling, texting, DMs, and google docs, and you will be voided. The College Board has tips here.
- What happens if my testing device crashes during my exam? Will I lose my score?
If your exam crashes, the College Board recommends that you contact your school so that you can be set up for the June exam. They ask that you DO NOT contact College Board unless absolutely necessary. Your exam will unfortunately be voided, but you’ll be allowed to retest.
- How can I help my child with preparing for AP exams?
Unless you know the subject area your child is taking the exam in, there are few ways that you directly can help. However, you can share resources with your child! Fiveable offers live reviews and study guides for 15 AP exams and is running cram sessions for most of them. Helping your child with organization and time management can be helpful, especially if they are studying for multiple exams at once and/or they have never taken an AP exam.
- Is there a way for me to contact College Board support?
If your child has a problem with their AP Exams on the day of, the College Board recommends that you do not contact College Board customer support. Instead, they recommend contacting your school and getting the exam moved to the June exam. If you have issues after the exam with scores, or any other issues, you can call College Board at (866)-630-9305.
- What should I do on the day of AP exams for my child?
On the day of the exam, there isn’t much studying left to do. If your child has been preparing consistently, use the day before the exam and the morning to relax. Watch TV, read a book, listen to music, anything that will keep their nerves steady. When they’re ready to take the exam, make sure they’re in a quiet space where there will be as few distractions as possible and wish them good luck! Step out of the room and let them work their magic.
- I have a young child/pets that may be distracting during exams. What can I do?
These variables are certainly issues that sometimes cannot go unnoticed during AP exams. If you’re able to, take a walk! Spend an hour or two outside where your child taking the exam will not be disturbed. If you cannot leave the house, try your best to keep things quiet. Of course, this is not an optimal situation for anyone. We applaud any and all parents doing their best for their children in these times!