How Will AP Exams Work This Year?

16 FEB 2021

Due to COVID-19, AP (Advanced Placement) exams in 2021 will be offered in two different formats: in-person (when available) and online depending on the subject. Here is what you need to know and tips for acing this year’s exam:

When will the AP exams occur?

All exams will be taken online between May 3rd to June 11th. The exams will be offered in three administrations (or testing dates):

  • Administration 1 (In-School): May 3–7, 10–12, 14, 17. Exams are paper and pencil, administered in school. As always, AP Chinese and Japanese exams will continue to be administered in school as computer-based exams.
  • Administration 2 (In-School and At Home): May 18–21, 24–28. Half of the subjects are only paper and pencil, administered in school, and half are only digital, administered in school, or taken at home.
  • Administration 3 (In-School and At Home): June 1–4, 7–11. Most subjects are only digital, administered in school, or taken at home.

Check out subject-specific dates here!

The CollegeBoard website explains: “Schools can use any of the testing options, as needs and circumstances warrant, and are free to use multiple options, if available, during a given exam administration window. Schools make all decisions about which exams are offered. Students won’t be able to choose exam dates on their own. Beginning in early March, AP coordinators will be able to assign students to Administration 2 and/or 3 exams, if needed.”

If you have any questions about your AP exams, please contact the AP coordinator at your school.****

How should I prepare?

Studying and preparing for your APs is as important as ever. With big changes made to the SAT (read more here), AP exams are another awesome way for students to showcase their knowledge in a standardized setting.

Utilize the extra time you have at home these days to gradually review the material you’ve read and the assignments you’ve completed for these classes. Visit the CollegeBoard website and take advantage of the Exam Preparation materials they’ve provided.

Explore different methods of studying - when it comes to studying, one size does not fit all! Perhaps you’ll benefit from utilizing the Pomodoro Technique or maybe the Feynman Technique! Consider trying out a few different techniques and then stick to the one that works best for you! The way you choose to study can make a big difference in your performance.


The most important takeaway of this blog, and the (now year-long) pandemic in general, is to simply do your best. Be sure to take care of yourself too. Check out this blog for tips and tricks on how to be successful this year!  Be sure to get plenty of sleep, eat a well-balanced meal beforehand, and make sure you are in a quiet and comfortable space while taking the exam. If you would like help preparing for your exam, check out Crimson Education’s online tutoring services here. Remember: you’ve got this!

Shannon F.

Written by

Shannon F.

Shannon completed her Bachelors at Franklin University Switzerland where she majored in Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies & minored in Social Justice and Sustainability. Shannon has a passion for environmental and social justice and immersing herself in new cultures. Shannon has worked in higher education and now works as the Community Outreach & Engagement Lead with Crimson. Shannon currently lives in California and enjoys reading, water polo, hiking, yoga, and traveling.