By: Jaclyn Kotora, Editorial Staff (‘23)

Due to the many changes the pandemic has brought, College Board has been revising and updating the 2021 Advanced Placement (AP) exams to accommodate the needs and circumstances of all students. To do this, they are offering a variety of test options to ensure the health and safety of all participants while maintaining the same benefits and opportunities for students to earn college credit. To help educators and students, College Board is adding more testing dates and options, as well as supplying additional digital resources to better prepare people for the exam.

College Board has routinely been updating its website with study materials and exam format information to prepare everyone for the upcoming 2021 AP Exams. To provide more flexibility, the exam schedule now provides three testing dates for each subject: Administrations 1, 2, and 3. Indian Hills will be offering Administration 1 (May 3–7, 10–12, 14, 17), which will be the in-school paper and pencil exams, and Administration 2 (May 18–21, 24–28), which will be for digital exams. Both the paper and digital exams will be the same length and test the same knowledge. To further accommodate during these uncertain times, there will be no exam cancellation fees this year. 

There are a few key pieces of information that students should know before opting to take their exams digitally. For one, all of the digital exams will be taken on a computer with “synchronous start times worldwide, and automatically begin at the same official start time everywhere,” announced College Board. Also, prior to exam day, students will have to complete a few simple steps to set up for the digital exam. More information about this will be provided to schools closer to exam dates.

Additionally, students taking the digital exam will not be able to return to questions already answered, or be able to move back and forth between questions unanswered. To further prevent online students from having any unfair advantages, digital tests will not include questions that can be answered via a web search, textbooks, notes, etc, as well as undergo review by plagiarism checkers and post-exam analyses to detect collaboration or unauthorized aids. Also, due to the many resources students have access to at home, French, German, Italian, and Spanish Language and Culture; Latin; Music Theory; and Spanish Literature and Culture won’t have any digital versions of the exam.  

In addition, College Board shared that in order to manage instability in internet connections during the exam, “Our testing application has been designed to be tolerant of disruptions in internet connectivity.” College Board is also helping students by offering live review sessions from April 19–29 to help students review before exams.

Lastly, the deadline for digital submission of AP Art and Design portfolios, as well as AP Computer Science Principles, AP Seminar, and AP Research performance tasks have been extended to May 20th, 2021, 11:59 p.m. EDT. 

To ensure that students are not deprived of the many benefits of AP courses and exams, College Board has made many adaptations to provide a safe and accommodating environment to all. As exam dates draw near, we wish all those participating good fortunes. For additional resources and information, see https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap-2021/updates .