Last Updated On: May 17th, 2020
If you’re a student currently enrolled in an AP class, you’ve probably heard that the College Board is administering shorter, modified versions of the AP exams that you can take from home. If you’ve kept up with your AP class content and were planning to take the exam pre-Coronavirus, it’s likely worth the effort to take the at-home test this year. Most colleges—including the UCs—are still planning to award college credit for passing scores.
So what should you do to prepare for the online AP exams? Here are some important steps:
1) Check here for your test date and for specific information about the format of your test, which has changed from previous years. Tests are now 45 minutes long and mostly consist of one or two free-response questions, with no multiple-choice section.
2) To make the test fair for students, the exams will only include material that teachers were scheduled to cover before March 2020. From the same page as the schedule, check which units are and are not included in the 2020 exam. If you’re not familiar with what’s included in each unit, go to the AP Courses and Exams page and click on the yellow “Go to course” button for your courses to view the specifics. Be aware that the test information on the specific page for each AP course hasn’t been updated for the 2020 test. (If a page mentions a multiple-choice section and/or a test that takes multiple hours, you’re reading about the old test, not the 2020 version.)
3) Make sure you have a good Internet connection and an electronic device that works well for composing free response questions. If you’re concerned about your device or Internet, complete this form as soon as possible and the College Board will try to help.
4) Read, review, and organize your notes for all the units that are on the exam. The new exam will be open book and open note, which means that you’re going to be asked to synthesize and analyze rather than just report facts. Open note doesn’t mean you don’t have to study—trying to learn a concept for the first time during the test is likely to earn a failing score. By having your notes well-organized, though, you can ensure that the facts are at your fingertips if you need to look up a detail or refresh your memory. Also, rereading and organizing your notes is a great way to study.
5) Review your previous tests, assignments, and essays and the feedback from your teacher in order to learn from your mistakes. Pay special attention to feedback on constructed response questions.
6) Take advantage of review sessions and office hours offered by your teacher, especially those that allow you to receive personalized feedback on your writing. If your teacher isn’t offering online classes or review sessions, or if you feel like you need more, take advantage of the free video classes and review sessions on the AP’s YouTube channel.
7) Check the College Board’s website regularly for updates. It has promised to post tools to test out your technology and the AP exam program by the end of April, which you should do as far in advance as possible.
8) If you’ve strayed from a typical “school schedule” and you have morning exams, try to get back on track during the week or two before the test. A good way to do this is to review and study during the testing time.
9) Leave plenty of time to set up your computer before the test begins, and make sure to close all other windows and turn off auto-updates or anything that might interfere with your test.
10) Feel confident in your hard work and do your best on test day!