AP exams return to traditional length with paper and digital testing options

Story by Zoe Schlaak
Staff Writer

The College Board announced that all 2021 Advanced Placement (AP) exams will be the traditional length with both in-person and virtual options ranging from early May to June, on Friday, Feb. 5.  

There are two different ways to take the full-length AP exams: in-person on paper or digitally at home, and there are three different testing periods. The first window, which is strictly in-person, is May 3 to May 17. The second and third sessions have both in-person and digital options, and will take place  May 18 to May 28 and June 1 to June 11, respectively. Depending on the subject, paper exams will be given at 8:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. local time, while digital exams start at the same times across the country: 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. PST. The only exception is for language exams, which need to be administered in-person.

Schools will determine the exam type and date through AP coordinators, who will assign students to administration periods beginning in early March. The AP coordinator will need to authorize students to take exams at home. 

AP exams are typically two to three hours, consist of several sections including free response and multiple choice questions, and are all on paper. This year leans heavily towards that traditional model, as opposed to the 45-minute 2020 AP exams, which were all administered online. 

This is an ongoing story. More details will be added as they emerge.

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