AP Exam Changes (2021 Finals)


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Samir Tusneem and Mason Barish

Over this tumultuous year, the established formatting for the AP Exams has been rewritten time and time again. As it stands now, this past week CollegeBoard announced what looks to be a final set of changes to AP Exams this year. These changes entail a change from what was said last month and look more like the AP Exams from last year than AP Exams from the year before.


While there were originally plans to have more in-school AP Exams in order to both prevent cheating and provide a more familiar testing environment, that has fallen through in most areas. The only tests that are required to be in school this year are AP World Language courses and AP Music Theory. However, students can also request to take the paper and pencil format for any other exam here. CollegeBoard had announced back in February that exams would follow a more traditional layout in terms of the number of questions and the type of questions per exam. That too has changed, with larger essay-like questions being removed in favor of smaller short-answer questions. 


Things are shaping up to look like last year’s AP Exams except for one thing: security for preventing cheating will be much tighter this year, as it was rampant on social media and caused quite a stir. This year, the way CollegeBoard will be handling cheating will come in the form of tightened software security which includes the inability to switch back between questions and not being able to look up answers. There is also a possibility that cameras will be required, and additional security features will be established to prevent students from collaborating with one another and using prohibited resources that would provide them with unfair advantages. 


To take the exam, CollegeBoard requires that students install the digital exam application on the computer they will use for AP testing, which will be different from the one that was used for the 2020 spring AP Exams. To prevent any faults on test day, it is highly recommended that you charge your device overnight to ensure full battery, but students can utilize a charger during the exam if needed. Students will need to complete the exam set up in advance, which will be available three days prior to the day of the exams.


For more information about the schedule of AP Exams this year, a calendar is below that has information on the test dates for each AP test: