During this time of pandemic and institutional upheaval, the AP exams have become the college admissions test of choice, finally unseating the SAT and ACT from their prominent place in a student’s academic portfolio. In an earlier blog post, we detailed the reasoning behind the changes as well as the impact on current high school students. Here, we explain the preliminary plans for the 2021 AP exams that have just been released by the CollegeBoard and help you navigate the somewhat confusing options for your students.
AP EXAM DATES
AP Exams will be given on three dates; however, it will be up to the schools to determine the particular date on which an exam will be available to their students.
- Administration 1
- Week 1: May 3-7
- Week 2: May 10-12, 14, 17
- Administration 2
- Week 1: May 18-21
- Week 2: May 24-28
- Administration 3
- Week 1: June 1-4
- Week 2: June 7-11
The exams will be administered in three formats: in-school paper, in-school digital, and at-home digital. As of now, it appears that the schools will determine the particular format that will be accessible to their students. The paper and digital exams may differ, depending on the subject.
- Administration 1 — In-School paper exams only
- Administration 2 — In-School paper, In-School digital and At Home Digital Exams
- Administration 3 — In-School paper, In-School digital and At —
— Home Digital Exams
Schools cannot petition the CollegeBoard to allow their students to take digital exams until early March, so schools won’t have or be able to provide specific details until that date. On March 2 additional information will be released including more details on digital administration. Nevertheless, it seems likely that many Bay Area schools in particular will not offer in-person testing so students should prepare themselves for the corresponding digital exam dates.
It is important to note, however, that there will be limits to digital testing. This is, in part, because the challenges of rolling out large-scale digital testing has already caused major issues for the CollegeBoard, including system shut-downs and threatened legal action. In addition, the CollegeBoard itself recognizes that testing in certain subject areas is simply unfeasible in certain formats. To that end, the CollegeBoard has announced the following:
Foreign language and literature exams and Music Theory will not be offered in the At-Home digital format as there is no way to prevent cheating.
AP Calculus AB and BC, AP Chemistry, AP Physics 1/2/C:Mech/C:E&M, and AP Statistics will only be available in digital form in Administration 3. The official reason is that these exams require formulas/equations and CollegeBoard wants as many students as possible to take these on paper. For California students whose districts lean toward digital testing, this means that they will likely take these exams in early June.
How can students prepare?
It is a big challenge for students, who are already dealing with the educational and psychological ravages of the pandemic, to face the uncertainties that still surround the AP exams. With all this anxiety, it’s best for students to focus their attention on the one thing they can control: forming a structured study plan and learning the material as well as they can. The better a student knows the material, the less the testing format matters.
Prep for the exams with FLEX AP Offerings! Click here for more information.
For students prepping for Spring 2021’s exams, register for FLEX AP Intensives. For students prepping for next cycle’s exams, FLEX’s Summer AP Bridge courses will be coming soon.
Families should also remain in contact with teachers to get a sense of which direction the school seems to be heading in terms of exam scheduling. While schools will not know anything definitive before the March deadlines, administrators should provide students with as much information as possible.
Foreign language and music theory students/families may need to start looking for in-person testing options in their area (private schools, neighboring counties) if their school is not offering that option. Remember, these exams will NOT be administered digitally.
For more information on how to help your student successfully negotiate the changes in the AP exams, attend our FREE webinars!
Danny is the CEO of FLEX College Prep. Danny’s core focus is on helping young people get the best advice, and be the best students they can be. His team of professionals are also personal coaches, and great people, driven by the same passion for helping people.