Advanced Placement

  • AP Exams 2021 

    Answers to Your Frequently Asked Questions


    Q: How is the Digital Exam administration different from the Paper/Pencil administration?

     When considering digital administrations, students must be aware of the following:

    • Both the paper/pencil and digital exams are full-length exams which cover all course content. Digital exams are not abbreviated like May 2020.
    • Digital testing starts automatically at exactly 12:00 PM or 4:00 PM on the specific test date. Testing lasts up to four hours.
    • Students cannot go BACK to change previous questions (multiple choice or free response). Students cannot return to complete skipped questions.
    • Some exams have modified digital formats which include elimination of student choice of essay prompts or modification of type of free-response question.
    • Digital administrations require an AP Exam application to be installed on the computer.

     Exam Security - Digital AP Exams will:

    • NOT allow students to return to answered questions or move back-and-forth between unanswered questions.
    • NOT include questions that can be answered with internet searches, textbooks, notes, study guides, or similar material.
    • Include security features to prevent students from collaborating, accessing unauthorized aids, or attempting to have someone else test for them.
    • Be reviewed with plagiarism detection software and other monitors and post-exam analyses for detecting exam violations.


    Q: What if I miss my scheduled administration?

    Students should immediately contact their school’s AP Coordinator to see if a make-up exam is possible.


    Q: What types of devices are permitted for digital testing?

    Students testing from home may use a desktop, personal laptop, or school-issued laptop. Tablets (ipads), cell phones and personal Chromebooks are NOT permitted. (School-issued Chromebooks ARE allowed).


    Q:  Can digital exams be given AT SCHOOL?

    Schools will administer the paper/pencil exam format at the school testing site. Students participating in digital exams will take those exams at home. Should the at home option not be feasible, students should attend the paper/pencil session. Families with specific concerns and unique situations should contact their school’s AP Coordinator.


    Q:  What type of technical support will be given to support digital testing at home?

    The GCS Technology Department will ensure that the AP Exam App can be downloaded correctly on district-managed student laptops (Chromebooks). Teachers and AP Coordinators will help troubleshoot set-up issues prior to the exam date. Families of students testing digitally at home are responsible for ensuring an appropriate testing environment free from disruptions, adequate internet access and power connection. During the digital exam administration, there will be no on-going technical support. Students who experience technical issues during the exam which keep them from completing the exam should contact their AP Coordinator to discuss make-up options.


    Q:  How will approved testing accommodations be administered if I test digitally?

    Many accommodations work the same way for digital exams as they do for paper exams. For example, students who are approved for extended time will receive a digital exam format enabled with their approved amount of extended time. Some accommodations differ for digital testing because of features available in the digital exam application. For example, students approved for large-print can take the digital exam with an increased font size by zooming in as needed.

    If a student has been approved for an accommodation that’s applicable to paper testing, they don’t have to request a new accommodation to use the digital alternative.


    Q:  Are there any additional costs to test digitally?

    No, the cost of AP exams, whether administered paper/pencil or digital format, are covered by the state for all students enrolled in the corresponding AP course.


    Q:  Will transportation be provided?

    No, transportation cannot be ensured for AP exam administration due to the early start time and complexity of the exam calendar and sites. Families should plan to ensure that the student can arrive at the school testing site by the designated check-in time. Details will be communicated by your school. Schools will help resolve transportation issues on a case-by-case basis.


    Q:  Are paper/pencil exams scored differently than digital ones?  Is one format harder than another?

    Digital and paper/pencil exams will be full length and will test the same knowledge and skills. Students won’t need to study or prepare differently to be successful on a digital exam. There are minor differences related to the testing format and exam security. You can review the modified digital formats here. Both versions test the same knowledge and skill acquisition and neither version is more difficult or scored more strenuously than the other. 



    Challenge Yourself

    Guilford County Schools is committed to providing rigorous academic opportunities to all students. More than 30 Advanced Placement (AP) courses are available across GCS. Students who take AP courses and pass the corresponding exams can receive college credit or advanced placement at the university level.


    Is AP for Me?


    AP courses are not just for those students with the highest grade-point averages. If you are inquisitive, motivated and ready to earn tuition-free college courses, ask your school counselor about the AP courses offered by the Guilford County Schools. Choose a course that really interests you and experience an academic challenge while learning with classmates who are enthusiastic about learning, too.

    If you think you might not be able to keep up in the college-level classes, don't sell yourself short. 

    Even if you don't make straight As, consider trying an AP course. Students don't have to be extremely smart to succeed in an AP course, but they do have to have extreme determination. Your PSAT score may be a good way to decide the AP course in which you might flourish. Chances are, if you are ready to work hardthink for yourself and willing to accept the academic challenge, you can succeed in the AP program.

    For more information regarding AP exams and for answers to questions, please visit the College Board's AP Central website.