Covid causes changes to AP exams this year`

Emily Yuan, Campus Reporter

Along with a host of other new realities during this unusual time, the College Board has made changes to its 2021 AP exams format. 

Unlike previous years, there will be three dates on which each exam can be taken. Administration 1 will be on May 3-7, 10-12, 14, and 17 and is in school only, with paper-based exams. Administration 2 will be on May 18-21, 24-28 and is in school and at home. Administration 3 will be July 1-4, 7-11 and is also in school and at home. AP coordinators could start assigning students to the exam dates in early March. Because Kent will have closed by the Administration 1 dates, Kent students will take nearly all their exams digitally from home. 

Unfortunately, not all AP exams have a digital version, different from how we were previously informed. Language exams, including French, Latin, and Spanish, as well as Music Theory, will only be administered in schools or school-proctored locations because students’ access to online translation applications and musical instruments creates doubt about the security and fairness of exams taken at home. To provide Kent students with an opportunity to take all AP exams, Kent will open up during Administration 1 for those language and music theory students. However, students must leave campus at the end of April and come back in early May. For students who cannot come to campus during that time, they can take the exam next year or opt not take it at all. 

For students who cannot take the exam they wish, not to worry, According to Mr. Rousseau, the head of the college counseling department: “the College Board’s decision to drop subject tests seems to our College Counseling Office to be an indication of a broader movement away from standardized testing in general in the college admissions process, and that includes APs.” Next year, as all AP courses will take the form of Advanced Studies courses, “students will not be expected to take AP exams, although should they wish to take them…, they will be prepared to do so. As many colleges move away from standardized tests in their admissions process, other factors such as evidence of classroom and community engagement are being prioritized. We believe this will serve Kent students nicely,” shared Mr. Rousseau.  

Due to the digital nature of exams, the college board has made changes to the exam in certain subjects. For history exams, including European history, U.S. history, and world history, students will need to answer all three SAQs instead of two, and there will be no LEQ. Instead, the LEQ will be replaced with a second SAQ section with two questions, both of which students will need to answer. The multiple-choice and DBQ sections remain the same for paper and digital exams. For AP Macroeconomics, AP Microeconomics, AP Biology, AP AB Calculus, and AP BC calculus, the digital exam will be adapted to include responses that can be easily typed on the computer. Students will not be asked to draw diagrams or figures. AP Chemistry, AP Physics I, AP Physics II, and AP Statistics will have more multiple-choice questions and fewer free-response questions. The College Board has also extended the digital submission deadline for performance tasks and portfolios for 2-D Art and Design, 3-D Art and Design, Drawing, and Research. Complete information can be found at

If you have any questions regarding the time or content of your AP exam, please feel free to talk to your teacher, the studies office, your advisor, or check out the college board website. The pandemic has been a hard time for all of us, but we will always be here to support you.