The New 2021 AP Exam Schedule



Face coverings and social distancing are a new addition to the requirements for taking exams in-person.

Sharon Sun, Photojournalist

The pandemic has thrown a wrench into the traditional teaching styles of schools, forcing many students out of physical classrooms and into virtual Zoom calls. Yet, after nearly a year of mostly distance learning, Advanced Placement exams will continue to be made available to AP students. In order to reflect the unique conditions of the pandemic, in which test-taking is made more difficult with the requirement of face coverings and social distancing throughout exams, CollegeBoard has made modifications to the AP testing process in order to facilitate the exams to be more convenient to its students.


A notable modification to the AP test-taking process is that of the cancellation fees. Prior to the quarantine, students choosing to cancel AP exams were required to pay to cancel exams. However, in order to account for the significant disruptions caused by the pandemic, CollegeBoard has announced that cancellation fees will be waived in order to grant students the flexibility to take their exams.


Furthermore, between May and June, three separate testing dates for each subject will also be provided for students. In Administration 1 — the first date, encompassing May 3-7, 10-12, 14, and 17 — the exams will be administered traditionally on a full-length schedule, using paper and pencils in an in-school setting for all subjects. As a result, Administration 1, the earliest dates, will mirror closest the traditional exam procedures from before the quarantine as well as the SAT, PSAT, and ACT tests.


Administration 2 comes next with dates in May 18-21 and 24-28, meshing together both the in-person settings and digital test-taking. According to, half of the subjects provided on Administration 2’s test-taking day will be administered traditionally in schools using paper and pencils, while the other half will remain as digital, full-length tests, either administered at school or taken at home. 


Last in the order is Administration 3, which covers from June 1-4 and 7-11. In this schedule, most subjects will be full-length digital exams only, which can be taken either in school or at home.


Rather than choosing only one window of testing for AP students, coordinators will employ a mix of the dates and paper/digital methods of test-taking as they see fit. Further, CollegeBoard states that Administrations 2 and 3, as later testing dates, may be used as makeup exam dates for students with conflicting schedules in Administration 1. It is also stated that in all subjects with digital exams, an additional makeup date will be provided after the test-taking dates in Administration 3.


Despite efforts made to accommodate students during the unpredictable times of the pandemic, the different dates for the exams may still prove disadvantageous. AP Spanish teacher, Mrs. Nicholson (Staff) believes that students who are scheduled for the exams at the later dates will have a more difficult test-taking experience. “Those with earlier exams will have the learning material fresher in their minds; meanwhile, those that take the exams later might be more rusty with the material.”


In light of the difficulties caused by the pandemic, like isolation, medical emergencies, and financial hardships, the rigid structure of taking the AP exam has been modified by CollegeBoard in an effort to make the process more convenient and flexible for students during such stressful times. There still remains around 3-5 months left until AP exam dates with much of the second semester left in store. Good luck, Mustangs!