AP exams to be administered online

For the first time in CollegeBoard history, all AP exams will be administered completely online due to COVID-19


Chris Duda

On March 16, the White House issued guidelines limiting social gatherings to no more than 10 people, meaning all face-to-face AP exams have been canceled. As students continue their education at home, they will have the added responsibility of reviewing for AP tests on their own.

Chris Duda, Editor in Chief

For the 2019-2020 school year, Advanced Placement(AP) exams will be administered online, instead of the traditional, school-proctored paper test. The tests will be shortened to only 45 minutes, and are designed to be taken at home. “Based on the number and length of school closures, it’s clear that the usual way AP Exams are given at schools won’t be possible,” said the CollegeBoard.

As most schools have switched to eLearning as of mid-March, the AP exams have been restructured to only assess content that has been covered in class from August to early March.

The remaining 25% of content may still be covered in class, but students will not be tested on it in May. Student services chair Denise Dalton said, “The CollegeBoard has a breakdown of what is/isn’t going to be on the test for each course. Teachers will know exactly what to include in the reviews from now until the test date.”

For every AP class, there will be two individual days to take the test, as to best compliment students’ schedules. Exact times and dates, as well as additional information for these exams, will be available April 3.

With online tests, however, comes a heightened concern for cheating. While the CollegeBoard has stated that it will be implementing anti-cheating devices, it is uncertain how effective these strategies may be. 

“They lock out the computer from being able to open other tabs, but what happens when someone is at home with other resources?” said Dalton. “I’m not sure if/how they can protect against all forms of cheating, but they’re going to try to maintain the integrity of the test.”

While the CollegeBoard has prepared for such measures, this will be the first time in which online AP tests will be administered for every student across the nation. “The CollegeBoard created special AP tests in the past for schools and areas that were impacted by natural disasters (tornados, hurricanes, etc.),” said Dalton. “When they gave some students the shorter test, and still had the standard tests nationwide, there wasn’t a statistical difference [in scores.]”

College credit will not be impacted due to the online exams. “Colleges have committed to maintaining their AP credit policy for this test cycle, so a school should not tell a student that the score doesn’t count because it wasn’t the whole course,” said Dalton. 

The online AP exams will all be multiple choice and can be taken on any device students have access to, including computers, tablets, or even smartphones.

As an additional measure, beginning on Wednesday, March 25, the CollegeBoard will also be offering free, online AP review courses which will be hosted by AP teachers around the nation. Students can gain access by visiting the AP YouTube channel.