AP Exams 2020: What the Remote Tests Will be Like

Padya Paramita

AP Exams 2020: What the Remote Tests Will be Like

If you’re in high school and hoping to gain admission at a top college, you may be challenging yourself by registering for AP courses. Now, with the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus, the AP schedule has been up in the air for a while. You were not sure where you’d take the exams, how you’d sit for them, and there was even a point when you weren’t sure if they were going to take place at all. The College Board surveyed high school seniors asking whether they would still like to sit for the AP tests, and the vast majority of students said that they would indeed like to be tested on their knowledge of the courses. So, the AP exams 2020 are still on!

Now that the dates for this year’s tests have been released, many students understandably have questions about how the online test will work in practice. To guide you through everything you need to know about the AP exams 2020, I have outlined the schedule for primary and makeup tests globally, gone over the logistics on how to sit for the exam from home, and finally, provided you with resources on how to best prepare while maintaining social distance.

Schedule for the AP Exams 2020 

The majority of AP teachers across the country who were surveyed said that they preferred that students take the test sooner rather than later, while the content is still fresh on their minds. So, the exams will still take place in early May, the same time during which they’re usually administered in a COVID-free world. The dates for the primary exam are May 11 through May 22. If a student is unable to sit for a particular exam or their subjects overlap, they can take a makeup test between June 1 and June 5. 

The table below displays the schedule for both the primary exams and the makeup tests. There will typically be three test sessions a day. The time zones are included at the top of the table — each subject’s exam will be taken on the same day at the same time, worldwide. This means that regardless of whether you’re located in the east coast or Hawaii or Europe, you’ll have to calculate your specific time zone to figure out when the test takes place at your location. 12 pm Eastern Time might mean 10 pm your time — so carefully prepare yourself to take the exam whatever time you must complete it, and get plenty of rest leading up to the date.

Primary Exam Dates

Exam Start Time: (Local times may vary depending on student's geographic location) Pacific Time: 9 am; Central Time: 11 am; Eastern Time: 12 pm; Greenwich Mean Time: 4 pm Pacific Time: 11 am; Central Time: 1 pm; Eastern Time: 2 pm; Greenwich Mean Time: 6 pm Pacific Time: 1 pm; Central Time: 3 pm; Eastern Time: 4 pm; Greenwich Mean Time: 8 pm
Monday, May 11 Physics C: Mechanics Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism United States Government and Politics
Tuesday, May 12 Latin Calculus AB; Calculus BC Human Geography
Wednesday, May 13 Physics 2: Algebra-Based English Literature and Composition European History
Thursday, May 14 Spanish Literature and Culture Chemistry Physics 1: Algebra-Based
Friday, May 15 Art History United States History Computer Science A
Monday, May 18 Chinese Language and Culture Biology Environmental Science
Tuesday, May 19 Music Theory Psychology Japanese Language and Culture; Italian Language and Culture
Wednesday, May 20 German Language and Culture English Language and Composition Microeconomics
Thursday, May 21 French Language and Culture World History: Modern Macroeconomics

Makeup Exam Dates

Exam Start Time: (Local times may vary depending on a student's geographic location.) Pacific Time: 9 am; Central Time: 11 am; Eastern Time: 12 pm; Greenwich Mean Time: 4 pm Pacific Time: 11 am; Central Time: 1 pm; Eastern Time: 2 pm; Greenwich Mean Time: 6 pm Pacific Time: 1 pm; Central Time: 3 pm; Eastern Time: 4 pm; Greenwich Mean Time: 8 pm
Monday, June 1 United States Government and Politics; Physics C: Mechanics Human Geography; Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism Calculus AB; Calculus BC; Latin
Tuesday, June 2 English Literature and Composition; Spanish Literature and Culture Physics 1: Algebra-Based; European History Chemistry; Physics 2: Algebra-Based
Wednesday, June 3 United States History; Chinese Language and Culture Environmental Science; Computer Science A Biology; Art History
Thursday, June 4 World History: Modern; Macroeconomics Spanish Language and Culture; Comparative Government and Politics Statistics; French Language and Culture
Friday, June 5 English Language and Composition; German Language and Culture Japanese Language and Culture; Italian Language and Culture; Microeconomics Psychology; Music Theory

College Board is yet to release information on exactly how students and teachers should access the AP exam — we will update this blog with that information once it has been released. 

There will be no end-of-year exam for AP Art and Design 2-D, Art and Design 3-D, and AP Drawing. The deadline for submission of artworks for Digital Portfolios has been extended to May 26, 11:59 p.m. ET. You can find more details on each of the exams, including details for subjects that require final portfolios, here

Logistics of Test Administration

The AP exams 2020 will consist of free-response questions and no multiple-choice section. The entire test has been stripped down to 45 minutes instead of the usual 2-3 hour session. Since some students switched to virtual classes earlier than others and many have required time to adjust to the changes, the APs will only include topics that the majority of teachers and students would have already covered in class by early March, when most schools in the country were still conducting in-person operations.

This year’s AP tests will also be open book and open note exams to support all students. Candidates will have the option to take the AP exams 2020 on any electronic device of their choice. This includes computers, tablets, and smartphones. Students taking the exams can type their answers directly into a text box. They will also be able to either type and upload their responses to the questions or write their answers by hand and submit a photo using their cell phone. If a question is a 25-minute problem, the timer on the testing interface will show 30-minutes, as the additional 5 minutes are dedicated to submitting your response. 

Students must access the online testing system 30 minutes before their exam is scheduled to start the sign up process. If you have Wi-Fi troubles or any other technological access issues, you can reach out to the College Board directly and let them know. As long as the submit button is clicked prior to the timer ending, the answer will count on the College Board server. 

Candidates’ tests will be scored by the standard network of college faculty and AP readers as usual and will be reported on a 1–5 scale. The College Board hopes to release scores as close to the usual July timeframe as possible.

Preparing for the AP Exams 2020

Focusing in your online classes isn’t always easy, and with the lockdown, you can’t meet your friends for study groups in-person either. If you need help with prep for the AP exams 2020, the College Board is providing students with the chance to access free, live AP review courses, taught by AP teachers from across the country. They have been designed to provide AP students with the opportunity to complete remaining topics for each AP class. Throughout April, these courses will focus on reviewing skills and concepts from the first 75% of the course to help you prepare. If you’re taking Art and Design, Capstone, or Computer Science Principles, you’ll also have access to on-demand video lessons to support your completion of the requirements. The full virtual class schedule is here.

Khan Academy, which can be found on YouTube and your phone’s app store, is a College Board partner which also has free video lessons specifically designed for AP students. The organization also has specific sites designed for each subject such as AP Physics 1 or AP Government and Politics. Once you’ve gone through the video lessons, you can test yourself by answering their online practice questions. 

Now that you’ve got a better idea of what the structure and schedule of the AP exams 2020 looks like, it’s time to hit the books. May is right around the corner! Make sure you know where in your house you’re best able to concentrate and practice taking the test on your device or by hand so that you’re all set when the time comes. Not being able to take the exams at your school may be a setback, but the College Board is working to make the process as convenient as possible to suit different circumstances. Happy studying!

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