Kate Sundquist 5 min read AP Guides

2020 AP Exam Schedule: Everything You Need to Know

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2020 AP Exams have been revised to 45-minute online exams due to the coronavirus. Read more about the changes in our post How is the Coronavirus Impacting AP Exams?


For many high school students across the country, the spring semester brings with it a host of test prep needs. Not only are popular SAT and ACT dates nearing, but so are final exams and Advanced Placement (AP) tests. If you want to stay one step ahead, you’re going to need to plan your testing calendar well in advance. That means selecting ACT or SAT test dates that work with your schedule, and knowing when you’ll be taking your upcoming AP exams. 


In this post, we’ll outline the 2020 AP schedule, along with our tips for AP prep and everything you need to know to register for these important tests. If you’re taking AP exams this year, whether you’re enrolled in the class or you’re self-studying, you won’t want to miss out on this important info.


How to Register for AP Exams


First of all, before you can take these tests, you’re going to need to register for them. For some students, this is a simple task, but for others it’s a little more involved. That usually depends on if you’re registered for the associated AP class at your school. 


If you’re enrolled in an AP class, your teacher will generally discuss testing with you well in advance. Still, if your teacher has not mentioned exam registration during the spring semester, you should most definitely confirm with the teacher no later than March 1 that you will be registered for the exam.


If you’re not enrolled in an official AP class and you still want to take one or more AP tests, you’re going to need to locate a testing location. To get started, speak with your school’s AP Coordinator no later than March 1. If you’re not sure who this person is, ask a guidance counselor or someone in the administration office to identify them. Your school’s AP coordinator will be able to tell you if your desired AP exams will be offered at your school, or will be able to provide you with some direction for locating them elsewhere. 


For more information about registering for AP exams, including instructions for homeschooled students or students who have scheduling conflicts, see our post How to Register for AP Exams (Even If You Didn’t Take the Class).


Keep in mind that you will have to pay to take your AP exams, but unlike the SAT or ACT, you will not pay directly to the testing company during registration. Instead, you will most likely pay your school or the testing facility, as they have paid for the tests upon ordering them. The fees may vary slightly, since your school or testing facility may be responsible for late fees or for other costs. In general, the fee is $94 per exam when ordered before the late fee cut-off. 


Eligible students may receive a fee reduction, making the cost per exam $32, and Federal and State AP Exam Fee Assistance may also be available. 


When Are the 2020 AP Exams?


The 2020 AP exams are scheduled to be administered over the course of two weeks, from May 4, 2020 to May 15, 2020. See the table below for the complete calendar. 


Test Date Morning Tests (8 AM) Afternoon (12PM)
May 4, 2020
United States Government and Politics Physics C: Mechanics


Special Exam time.

AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism

is the only exam given at 2 p.m.

May 5, 2020
Calculus AB


Calculus BC

German Language and Culture


Human Geography

May 6, 2020
English Literature and Composition European History


Physics 2: Algebra-Based

May 7, 2020


Spanish Literature and Culture

Japanese Language and Culture


Physics 1: Algebra-Based

May 8, 2020
United States History Art History

Computer Science A

May 11, 2020
Biology Chinese Language and Culture


Environmental Science

May 12, 2020


Spanish Language and Culture




May 13, 2020
English Language and Composition Microeconomics


Music Theory

May 14, 2020
Comparative Government and Politics


World History: Modern

Italian Language and Culture



May 15, 2020
Computer Science Principles


French Language and Culture


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Tips for AP Exam Success


1. Get to Know the Scoring Rubric for Free Responses


One of the most common places to needlessly lose points on the AP is the free response section. These questions can sometimes seem so open-ended that you aren’t sure what to do with them, or how exactly to show your knowledge. Luckily, the scoring rubric for free responses is available for each test through AP Central. Be sure to review these for each of your tests as part of your standard test preparations. 


Also pay extra close attention to the verbs used in these prompts. These will commonly be words like show, explain, or identify. Be sure that you understand what each of these prompts means, and address each in your answer. For more information about free response questions, be sure to check the specific exam page on AP Central where you’ll find free response examples from years past. 


2. Begin Studying Early


Whether you are self-studying or enrolled in the actual AP class, you’ll still want to study for the exam as you would any other test. In fact for many AP classes, the AP exam doubles as a sort of final exam. 


If possible, begin studying at least a month before the test date. Review practice tests available on the AP website to get a good idea of where you’re starting from. Identify any patterns in your errors and target your study sessions in those areas. 


3. Arrive for Test Day Prepared


Make sure that you know ahead of time what you’re going to need to bring with you to each of your AP exams. You should also consider bringing a watch, a snack, and a water bottle. Here is a list of materials you will need to get you started:


  • #2 Pencils and black or dark blue colored pens.
  • Government or school-issued identification.
  • SSD Student Accommodation Letter (if applicable).
  • Your six-digit school code.
  • A ruler or straight-edge if you are taking an AP Physics exam.
  • A calculator if your exam allows or requires one.


How Do Most Students Do on Each AP Exam?


Interested in learning more about the score distribution of each exam? Check out the table below. For each row, the percentage listed indicates the percentage of students getting the score in the corresponding column. For example, 10.7% of students got a 5 in AP Research.


Exam 5 4 3 2 1
AP Research 10.7% 22.2% 43% 19.5% 4.6%
AP Seminar 7.1% 15.1% 58.9% 16.6% 2.3%
AP Art History 11.9% 24.6% 26.6% 24.7% 12.2%
AP Music Theory 21.2% 17.9% 24.5% 23.5% 12.8%
AP Studio Art: 2-D Design 21% 31.5% 34% 10.8% 2.8%
AP Studio Art: 3-D Design 10% 22.4% 37.5% 25.7% 4.3%
AP Studio Art: Drawing 20.8% 33.3% 37% 7.8% 1.1%
AP English Language and Composition 9.9% 18.2% 26.2% 31.2% 14.5%
AP English Literature and Composition 6.2% 15.7% 27.8% 34.3% 16%
AP Comparative Government and Politics 22.4% 24.4% 19.2% 18.7% 15.3%
AP European History 11.7% 20.5% 25.9% 29.4% 12.5%
AP Human Geography 10.8% 18.2% 20.1% 16.7% 34.1%
AP Macroeconomics 19.1% 23% 16.9% 14.9% 26.2%
AP Microeconomics 24.3% 28.1% 17.2% 12% 18.4%
AP Psychology 20.5% 25.3% 18.7% 13.5% 22%
AP United States Government and Politics 12.9% 12.4% 29.8% 24.8% 20.1%
AP United States History 11.8% 18.4% 23.4% 22% 24.3%
AP World History 8.6% 18.8% 28% 28.8% 15.8%
AP Calculus AB 19.1% 18.7% 20.6% 23.3% 18.3%
AP Calculus BC 43% 18.5% 19.5% 13.9% 5.2%
AP Computer Science A 26.7% 21.9% 21% 11.9% 18.4%
AP Computer Science Principles 13.8% 21% 37.1% 18.8% 9.3%
AP Statistics 14.7% 18.4% 26.6% 19.3% 21%
AP Biology 7.2% 22.2% 35.3% 26.6% 8.8%
AP Chemistry 11.5% 16.6% 27.5% 23% 21.4%
AP Environmental Science 9.4% 25.7% 14.1% 25.4% 25.4%
AP Physics 1 6.7% 18.2% 20.5% 28.7% 25.9%
AP Physics 2 14.2% 21% 30.2% 26.2% 8.4%
AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism 37.6% 22.6% 12.7% 16.6% 10.4%
AP Physics C: Mechanics 37.7% 26.7% 17.4% 10% 8.2%
AP Chinese Language and Culture 60.1% 14.9% 14.8% 4% 6.2%
AP French Language and Culture 16.1% 25.3% 35.7% 18.2% 4.7%
AP German Language and Culture 21% 24.2% 27.2% 19.5% 8.2%
AP Italian Language and Culture 13.6% 18.1% 34.4% 24.6% 9.3%
AP Japanese Language and Culture 45.3% 12.4% 21.6% 7.7% 13%
AP Latin 13% 19.3% 30.5% 24.1% 13%
AP Spanish Language and Culture 25.2% 34.2% 29.4% 9.5% 1.8%
AP Spanish Literature and Culture 9.5% 25% 37.7% 21.4% 6.3%


For more help preparing for the AP exams, don’t miss our series of Guides for Acing Your AP Exams, available on our blog. 


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Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.