Breaking News for the 2020 AP Exams | Sherpa Learning

Breaking News for the 2020 AP Exams

Breaking News about the 2020 Advanced Placement Exams

[Updated 3/30/20] We are receiving many questions from students and teachers alike regarding the latest news about this year’s AP Exams. It seems that much of the information out there is piecemeal, so we are attempting to collect and condense the most important and most up-to-date news regarding the AP Exams on this page.

What follows is what we have gathered from the College Board’s official website, as well as the College Board's official Twitter accounts and our verified sources (veteran College Board table leaders and readers) close to the AP program.

We also want to make sure that you have access to the LATEST news, which has not been a simple as it should be, with many news outlets releasing outdated information with an updated release date posted on the page.

Top 5 AP Exam FAQs for 2020

Are AP exams still being administered?

Yes, but not in the same format. The exams have been streamlined to accommodate the new at-home testing environment/format.

What do we know about the format of the streamlined exams?

On March 20th, we learned that the exams for the 2019/20 school year will be

  • Administered Online - Traditional in-person exams will not take place this year, regardless of your location. They have stated that the exams will “measure skills that can’t be learned from Google or chats with friends.” They have also stated that they will use “state-of-the-art” anti-plagiarism software.
  • Limited to 45 Minutes - When they say "streamlined," they mean it! That's 45 minutes total to evaluate an entire year's worth of hard work.
  • Consist of Free-Response Questions Only - At this point, what this means is that there will NOT be multiple-choice questions. We will learn more in two weeks when additional details are released. Considering the time allotment, many are speculating that the history exams will consist of either a small collection of SAQs or a single LEQ.
  • Open Book/Open Note - Though the info does not appear anywhere on the official CB website, we learned via Twitter that this year's exams will be "open book/open note," meaning that students are welcome to use their textbooks and class notes during the online exam.
  • Focused on Skills and Themes - While addressing an inquiry regarding the use of books and notes, @AP_Trevor stated that the exams "won't test simple factual recall; instead they’ll be focused on skills and thematic understandings."

What will be covered on the exams?

According to the College Board, "the exam will only include topics and skills most AP teachers and students have already covered in class by early March." Several of the courses are shown below. See the CB’s Coronavirus Update page for all course content coverage details.



Not Covered

AP English Lang

Unit 1 - Unit 7

Unit 8 - Unit 9

AP English Lit

Unit 1 - Unit 7

Unit 8 - Unit 9

AP Euro History

Unit 1 - Unit 7

Unit 8 - Unit 9

AP US History

Unit 1 - Unit 7

Unit 8 - Unit 9

AP World History

Unit 1 - Unit 6

Unit 7 - Unit 9

Do I still have to take the AP Exam in May?

No. The College Board has promised a full refund to any student who decides that they would prefer not to take the exam. They are encouraging students to hold off on making a decision to cancel until their test date is close, as all cancellations will be final. In a recent tweet, @AP_Trevor confirmed that they will be waiving the $40 cancellation fee.

It’s also worth noting that students will be given a choice regarding test dates. Although specific dates have not yet been announced, we do know that there will be two options – one for students who wish to take the exam while the content that they learned in class is still fresh in their minds, and a later date for those students who wish to take some additional time study and practice on their own. Test dates will be announced on April 3rd.

How do colleges feel about the new exam format? Will students still receive college credit?

Though each college has its own policies regarding credits earned and requirements fulfilled, it seems safe to say that those same policies will hold for students who take an AP Exam in 2020. The College Board pointed out that colleges have made similar accommodations (i.e., accepting scores from streamlined exams) in the past for specific communities that experienced disruptions or emergencies.

When will we learn more about the 2020 Advanced Placement Exams?

The full exam schedule, as well as additional details about the individual exams, will be released by the College Board on April 3rd.

Timeline of AP News

March 13 – In lieu of the massive number of school closings, @AP_Trevor tweeted that flexible testing options and instructional support for teachers would be coming soon.

March 16 – The College Board announces that they will be “developing resources to help schools support student learning during closures, as well as a solution that would allow students to take AP Exams at home, depending on the situation in May.”

March 20 – Updates to the College Board’s Coronavirus page announced that the exams would be streamlined and administered online. They also discussed the release of free remote learning resources and live AP lectures beginning March 25.

March 22 – ETS confirms that the traditional in-person exam readings will be cancelled. Exams will be scored at home. ETS is currently developing a plan for the online readings and will issue new ivitiations to readers.

March 24 – We have heard (though not been able to confirm) that an email sent to AP Administrators stated that students would be allowed to use their textbooks and notes while taking the exam.

March 27 – @AP_Trevor confirms that the exam will be "open book/open note" and that exams will focus on skills and themes rather than factual recall.

April 3 – Specifics regarding the exams, test dates, and additional practice resources to be released by the College Board.

Links and Resources

The College Board’s “Coronavirus Update” page:

ETS FAQs for the 2020 Exam Reading (updated 3/24):

Sherpa Learning's Facebook page:

Sherpa Learning's Skills-based Resources for AP:

If you have any information that you would like to share, please contact us or leave us a message on our Facebook page. Stay healthy and study hard!

Facebook icon
Twitter icon
LinkedIn icon
Pinterest icon
Reddit icon
Yahoo! icon
e-mail icon