What You Need To Know About At-Home AP Exams

Editor’s note: This post has been last updated on April 16, 2020. While this post may have some useful information regarding AP testing during the COVID-19 crisis, please check out our live COVID-19 updates post for the latest information.

Birds eye view of well-manicured hands typing on laptop to represent at-Home AP Exams -image by Magoosh

If you’re enrolled in an AP class, you’re probably wondering how COVID-19 will affect your AP exams. However, the College Board, who makes the tests, has stepped up: you no longer need to decide between prioritizing your health and taking the exam. All spring 2020 tests will now be at-home AP exams administered online.

How do these tests work? What do at-home AP exams mean for you? In this post, we’ll break it down.

About the AP Exam

There are a few key differences that you’ll need to keep in mind when taking your AP test online. First of all, forget multiple choice; AP students will instead take a 45-minute free-response exam. But if that stresses you out, there’s good news; this year’s AP exams will be open book and open note.

Will the Exams Be Fair?

If you’re worried about fairness, you’re not alone—and the AP College Board people are on it! They realize that some AP students have lost more classroom time than others because of differences between school curriculums. To address this, they’ve decided only to include content from your classes that most teachers will have covered before early March.

The College Board is also offering flexibility regarding devices for the at-home AP exam: you can take it on any device you have access to, including computers, tablets, and smartphones. In terms of responses, you can either type and upload your answers, or you can write them by hand and send a photo from your phone—whatever works best for you.

However, CB also realizes that some students may not have access to a device or reliable internet. If that’s the case, they’ll work with you to find a solution—but be sure to contact CB ASAP. If you’re not able to access the form, you can also call their AP customer service line at 888-225-5427 or email them at [email protected].

The College Board will ensure tests are secure with digital security tools, including software to detect plagiarism.

Will Colleges Accept My At-Home AP Exam Scores?

So far, the College Board has reported widespread support from colleges, who want to make sure you get the AP credit you’ve earned by accepting your AP test scores. Colleges have accepted College Board AP scores from shortened exams for literally decades, so they’re used to working with students who have found themselves in emergency situations.

Exam Timing

You can find the AP exam schedule 2020 on the College Board website. They’ve also posted makeup exam dates, so they have you covered just in case.

Every AP test at home will happen at the same time—no matter where you are in the world. This means that if you’re in New York, you’ll sit down for the exam at 2pm your time, while at the exact same moment, a student in Honolulu will be taking the test at 8am their time.

It’s a good idea to prepare for these adjusted times by taking practice tests at the same time of day you’ll be taking the actual at-home AP exam. That way, you’ll be ready for any potential issues (tiredness, hunger) and know how to address them well in advance.

How to Prepare for At-Home AP Testing

The College Board will put out more info on the at-home AP testing system online as they continue to develop it; expect details in late April.

In the meantime, as of March 25, you can get free AP review live from the test-maker! First, take a look at their daily schedule for 32 courses. Then, go over to the AP YouTube channel to watch the review session.

Finally, don’t forget that Magoosh has tons of AP resources to help you brush up on topics for test day!

A Final Word

Learning a new method of test-taking with at-home AP exams may add an additional layer to your test prep plan. However, there are real benefits to learning the new format–particularly if you’re a junior and may take a digital SAT later this year. By following College Board updates, prepping with official materials (including their review live streams!), and practicing early and often, you’ll maximize your chances of getting the score—and college credits—you want on test day.

Improve your SAT or ACT score, guaranteed. Start your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh SAT Prep or your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh ACT Prep today!

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  • Rachel Kapelke-Dale

    Rachel is a Magoosh Content Creator. She writes and updates content on our High School and GRE Blogs to ensure students are equipped with the best information during their test prep journey. As a test-prep instructor for more than five years in there different countries, Rachel has helped students around the world prepare for various standardized tests, including the SAT, ACT, TOEFL, GRE, and GMAT, and she is one of the authors of our Magoosh ACT Prep Book. Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts in Comparative Literature from Brown University, an MA in Cinematography from the Université de Paris VII, and a Ph.D. in Film Studies from University College London. For over a decade, Rachel has honed her craft as a fiction and memoir writer and public speaker. Her novel, THE BALLERINAS, is forthcoming in December 2021 from St. Martin's Press, while her memoir, GRADUATES IN WONDERLAND, co-written with Jessica Pan, was published in 2014 by Penguin Random House. Her work has appeared in over a dozen online and print publications, including Vanity Fair Hollywood. When she isn't strategically stringing words together at Magoosh, you can find Rachel riding horses or with her nose in a book. Join her on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook!

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