Springtime is synonymous with testing season for millions of high school students. While some students may prep for final exams and others will inevitably tackle the ACT or SAT, over a million also take Advanced Placement (AP) exams each year.
The AP test schedule is always a topic of conversation, but with the coronavirus closing most schools across the country, this is even more true now. It comes as no surprise that the AP test schedule 2020 may be the source of some confusion, but there's no need to worry. We have all the info you need, right here.
What Is the Normal Format for AP Exams?
Most students who take AP exams enroll in AP classes through their schools, which they take during the school year leading up to the exam. A yearlong AP class is generally the equivalent of a single semester introductory college class. AP courses teach a prescribed curriculum that prepares students for the test, but they are not the only way to prep for these tricky exams. Many students also self-study for these tests without enrolling in the actual class.
AP exams, designed by the College Board and intended to test student knowledge at the college level, are traditionally administered over the course of two weeks in May. Generally, there is a morning and an afternoon testing session each day of the week, and the exam date calendar with the test dates for each subject is released the previous fall.
Usually, AP tests range in length from 2-3 hours. The first part of most AP tests is a multiple choice section, and the second part is generally short or long free response questions. Depending on the test, this might be an essay, a formula or proof, or even a spoken response in the case of language exams.
AP exams are scored on a scale from 1-5. Scores of three or above are considered passing. At some colleges, AP scores can be used as placement tests to advance to higher level classes, and other colleges may even award college credit for passing scores. These policies vary from one college to the next, so it's a good idea to look them up if you're curious about how your scores may apply at specific schools.
How Will AP Exams Change During Coronavirus?
There are two major changes to AP exams in 2020 due to the massive school closures and social distancing measures caused by COVID-19. Because AP exam registration takes place during the fall, students have already been planning to tackle this material for months. AP students will still get the chance to show off their knowledge, but it will look a little different this year.
The first change impacts the breadth of material covered by each exam. Because many districts have lost the final third of their school year, AP tests will not cover the entire prescribed curriculum for each subject area. Instead, the College Board has issued guidance on which specific units will be covered on each test.
See the table below to find out what will and will not be covered on each AP exam in 2020:
|AP Exam||Units that WILL be covered on the 2020 exam||Units that WILL NOT be covered on the 2020 exam|
|Art History||Units 1-6||Units 7-10|
|Biology||Units 1-6||Units 7-8|
|Calculus AB||Units 1-7||Unit 8|
|Calculus BC||Units 1-8 + 5 topics in Unit 10 (10.2, 10.5, 10.7, 10.8, and 10.11)||Unit 9, Unit 10 (except Topics 10.2, 10.5, 10.7, 10.8, and 10.11)|
|Chemistry||Units 1-7||Units 8-9|
|Chinese Language and Culture||Units 1-4||Units 5-6|
|Computer Science A||Units 1-7||Units 8-10|
|Economics - Macro||Units 1-5||Unit 6|
|Economics - Micro||Units 1-5||Unit 6|
|English Language and Composition||Units 1-7||Units 8-9|
|English Literature and Composition||Units 1-7||Units 8-9|
|Environmental Science||Units 1-7||Units 8-9|
|European History||Units 1-7||Units 8-9|
|French Language and Culture||Units 1-4||Units 5-6|
|German Language and Culture||Units 1-4||Units 5-6|
|Government and Politics: Comparative||Units 1-3||Units 4-5|
|Government and Politics: U.S.||Units 1-3||Units 4-5|
|Human Geography||Units 1-5||Units 6-7|
|Italian Language and Culture||Units 1-4||Units 5-6|
|Japanese Language and Culture||Units 1-4||Units 5-6|
|Latin||Units 1-4||Units 5-8|
|Music Theory||Units 1-6||Units 7-8|
|Physics 1||Units 1-7||Units 8-10|
|Physics 2||Units 1-5||Units 6-7|
|Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism||Units 1-3||Units 4-5|
|Physics C: Mechanics||Units 1-5||Units 6-7|
|Psychology||Units 1-7||Units 8-9|
|Spanish Language and Culture||Units 1-4||Units 5-6|
|Spanish Literature and Culture||Units 1-6||Units 7-8|
|Statistics||Units 1-7||Units 8-9|
|U.S. History||Units 1-7||Units 8-9|
|World History||Units 1-6||Units 7-9|
The second way that AP tests will be changing due to COVID-19 is in the way they're administered. As the College Board announced in their March 20, 2020 statement, "traditional face-to-face exam administrations will not take place."
Instead, the College Board is gearing up for remote learning and testing for the first time in history. Online courses taught by actual AP teachers are now available for free, and exams will also be available online. You can access these remote AP tests on any device, including computers, tablets, and even smartphones. In addition, AP students also have the option of writing their answers down, taking a picture of them, and submitting them as an official test.
In an effort to create more equity, the College Board is urging students without Internet access to contact them using this form.
Portfolio assessments have also changed. For portfolio classes, meaning AP courses that culminate with a portfolio submission rather than an actual exam, portfolio requirements have been altered and submission deadlines have been extended.
The last day to submit portfolios for the studio arts classes including AP 2-D Art and AP 3-D Art and Design will now be May 26, 2020. Notably, art portfolios now only require three submitted works instead of five, and students in the Computer Science Principles class will only be required to submit the Explore and Create Tasks — there will be no multiple choice section.
What Is the AP Test Schedule 2020?
AP tests will still be delivered over the course of two weeks in May, but the test dates have been bumped back a bit to allow the College Board more time to prepare the testing platform.
Testing will take place from Monday, May 11 to Friday, May 22. Three testing windows will occur each day and all will take place simultaneously across time zones. You can find the complete testing calendar including makeup dates on the AP website available on the AP Exam Schedule page.
COVID-19 and the AP Test Schedule 2020: FAQs
Life has changed in many ways due to the coronavirus, and AP exams are not different. Luckily, there are still plenty of resources available to prepare, and AP exams will not be canceled in 2020. Have a question about AP exams in 2020 or how to prepare for them? Here are the most common FAQs we hear from students like you.
1. What resources are available for studying online?
The College Board has opened its portal to provide free, easy to access study materials online. These even include live AP review sessions hosted by YouTube. You can look up a complete course schedule updated each week on the AP Online Course Schedule page.
2. How long will online tests last?
The remote AP exams will each take 45 minutes. This is significantly less than the standard tests, which generally range between 2-3 hours.
3. Will colleges still accept scores for credit even though tests are shorter?
There is no definitive answer to how these scores will be weighed by colleges, but the College Board indicates that colleges have supported their decision and "are committed to ensuring that AP students receive the credit they have worked to earn."
4. What is the best way to prepare for AP exams remotely? Now more than ever, students will benefit from virtual tutors. While live study sessions through the College Board and a plethora of other free online resources will make content more easily available, these services won't be customized for each student individually.
Instead, finding a highly qualified virtual tutor is the best way to get customized instruction targeted to your specific strengths and weaknesses. It is also an easy way to make sure that the schedule works for you. With hosts like TutorMe, you can even find tutors available on demand with access to a screen sharing live tutoring platform that you can demo ahead of time.
Of course, not all virtual tutors are the same. As you browse through tutors available at TutorMe, try using the search feature to narrow your option to those who specifically mention expertise in AP testing. You can even reach out to ask how recently they took an AP exam or how their most recent students have performed on the test. If you look hard enough, you might even find a former or current AP teacher.
AP Exams and Covid19: Necessary Changes
With the cancellation of many other spring tests, high school students across the country feared that AP exams would not take place either. With thoughtful consideration from the College Board, though, AP exams will still be administered, though their format and content will change significantly.
How students prepare for these tests will also need to change. Gone are the days of study groups and in-home tutoring. In uncertain times, there is no doubt that virtual tutors are the safest, most convenient, and most practical way to prepare for this year's AP exams.