Timothy Peck 5 min read AP Guides

2021 AP Exam Schedule + Study Tips

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Performing well on AP exams has numerous benefits for college-bound applicants; they help students create attention-grabbing academic profiles and may allow them to test out of introductory college courses. 

 

Consequently, AP students are always anxious to learn the AP Exam calendar. In this post, we’ll go over the 2021 AP exam schedule, discuss potential COVID-19 complications, and offer our tips for performing your best on test day.

 

2021 AP Exam Schedule

 

Date

8 am (local time)

12 pm (local time)

2 pm (local time)

Monday, May 3

United States Government 

Politics

Physics C: Mechanics

Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism

Tuesday, May 4

Calculus AB

Calculus BC

German Language and Culture

Human Geography

 

Wednesday, May 5

English Literature and Composition

Japanese Language and Culture

Physics 1: Algebra-Based

 

Thursday, May 6

United States History

Art History

Computer Science A

 

Friday, May 7

Chemistry

Spanish Literature and Culture

European History

Physics 2: Algebra-Based

 

Monday, May 10

French Language and Culture

World History: Modern

Macroeconomics

 

Tuesday, May 11

Seminar

Spanish Language and Culture

Latin

Psychology

 

Wednesday, May 12

English Language and Composition

Microeconomics

Music Theory

 

Thursday, May 13

Comparative Government and Politics

Computer Science Principles

Statistics

 

Friday, May 14

Biology

Italian Language and Culture

Chinese Language and Culture

Environmental Science

 

 

The only exception to the AP Exam calendar is Alaska, where exams start an hour earlier than everywhere else—beginning at 7 am, 11 am, and 1 pm. 

 

Digital Portfolio Due Date

 

The deadline for schools to submit the digital portfolios required in 2-D Art and Design, 3-D Art and Design, and Drawing is May 20, at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern time). Students are advised to submit their portfolios to their teachers well in advance of this date. 

 

2021 AP Late Exam Schedule

 

Date

8 am (local time)

12 pm (local time)

Tuesday, May 18

Comparative Government and Politics  

Computer Science Principles

Statistics

Wednesday, May 19

English Language and Composition  

European History  

Microeconomics  

Physics C: Mechanics  

Psychology  

World History: Modern

Computer Science A

 

Chemistry

 

Japanese Language and Culture

Latin

Music Theory

Physics C: Electricity and

Magnetism

Thursday, May 20

Biology

Environmental Science

Physics 1: Algebra-Based

Seminar

United States History

Art History

Chinese Language and Culture

French Language and Culture

Italian Language and Culture

Physics 2: Algebra-Based

Friday, May 21

Calculus AB

Calculus BC

English Literature and

Composition

Human Geography

Spanish Language and Culture

German Language and Culture

 

Macroeconomic

Spanish Literature and Culture

United States Government

Politics

 

AP Exams and COVID-19 

 

COVID-19 has been extremely disruptive to seemingly every aspect of education and the AP Exams are not immune—for example, the 2020 AP exams were transitioned to 45-minute tests that were administered online. While we can’t look into a crystal ball and predict what will happen in 2021, we can look to the past for how the College Board—the organization that administers the AP Exams—will react if COVID-19 makes holding in-person exams a challenge.

 

In 2020, the College Board shifted exams to an online format that could be accessed from a computer, tablet, or smartphone. It’s safe to assume they will do this again if federal, state, or local rules or restrictions prevent them from holding in-person exams.

 

Unlike 2020, the College Board has had significantly more time to prepare a contingency plan for in-person exams. Even if moved online, students should prepare to take a version of the test that closely resembles the in-person exam, in contrast to the 45-minute, free-response-only exams of 2020. Similarly, they should ready themselves to be assessed on the entire course content, rather than just the covered content from the 2020 exams. 

Discover your chances at hundreds of schools

Our free chancing engine takes into account your history, background, test scores, and extracurricular activities to show you your real chances of admission—and how to improve them.

How Do AP Exams Impact Your College Chances?

 

Your course rigor significantly impacts your chances of acceptance. In fact, many selective schools use a metric called the Academic Index (AI) as a screening tool in admissions. This number represents the strength of your grades and test scores. If you don’t meet the college’s minimum AI threshold, you may be automatically rejected. (Some exceptions are first-generation, low-income, under-represented, and legacy students).

 

Taking AP classes will certainly help boost your AI. Not sure how if your current academic profile is competitive? We recommend using our free chancing engine. This tool will tell you how you stack up against other applicants, and give you tips on improving your profile (both for academics and extracurriculars).

 

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 receiving the score in the corresponding column. For example, 8.8% of students got a 5 in AP Research.

 

Exam

5

4

3

2

1

AP Research

8.8%

32.1%

31.5%

25%

2.5%

AP Seminar

6.4%

14.5%

59.8%

17%

2.2%

AP Art History

15.8%

24.9%

28%

21.3%

10%

AP Music Theory

AP Studio Art: 2-D Design

12.1%

36.1%

41.3%

9.8%

0.6%

AP Studio Art: 3-D Design

7.2%

31.9%

36.5%

20.9%

3.5%

AP Studio Art: Drawing

15.5%

40.3%

33.2%

9.8%

1.2%

AP English Language and Composition

12.6%

20.4%

29.1%

26.2%

11.8%

AP English Literature and Composition

9.3%

17.3%

33.5%

27.8%

12.2%

AP Comparative Government and Politics

24.4%

27.4%

18.4%

17.3%

12.5%

AP European History

13.7%

20.1%

25.5%

29.2%

11.5%

AP Human Geography

11.8%

22.4%

24.8%

10.9%

30.1%

AP Macroeconomics

19.7%

25%

18.5%

16.2%

20.5%

AP Microeconomics

23.3%

29%

16.6%

14.2%

16.9%

AP Psychology

22.4%

25.4%

23.5%

9.6%

19.1%

AP United States Government and Politics

15.5%

16.5%

25.5%

22%

20.5%

AP United States History

13%

19.2%

26.6%

20.4%

21%

AP World History

9.2%

22.8%

28.2%

26.1%

13.7%

AP Calculus AB

19.5%

20.9%

21%

24.1%

14.5%

AP Calculus BC

44.6%

17.6%

19.4%

14.1%

4.3%

AP Computer Science A

25.6%

21.7%

23.2%

12.8%

16.8%

AP Computer Science Principles

10.9%

23.6%

37.1%

19.8%

8.6%

AP Statistics

16.2%

20.7%

23.1%

21.7%

18.3%

AP Biology

9.5%

22.7%

36.9%

24.1%

6.9%

AP Chemistry

10.6%

18.6%

26.9%

24%

19.9%

AP Environmental Science

11.9%

28.5%

13%

25.5%

21%

AP Physics 1

8.8%

17.9%

24.8%

26.5%

21.9%

AP Physics 2

14%

24.3%

35%

21.3%

5.4%

AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism

40.4%

22.4%

11.6%

16.2%

9.5%

AP Physics C: Mechanics

41.6%

26.4%

16.3%

9.2%

6.5%

AP Chinese Language and Culture

55.4%

15.5%

17.9%

5.1%

6.1%

AP French Language and Culture

23.3%

31.7%

28.3%

12.3%

4.4%

AP German Language and Culture

23.9%

33.9%

16%

19.5%

6.7%

AP Italian Language and Culture

18.5%

16.8%

401%

19.5%

5.1%

AP Japanese Language and Culture

53.7%

9.6%

20.3%

7.7%

8.8%

AP Latin

16.5%

20.4%

32.3%

17.9%

12.9%

AP Spanish Language and Culture

30.5%

36.4%

23.1%

8.8%

1.2%

AP Spanish Literature and Culture

17.6%

18.6%

38.8%

20.7%

4.3%

 

Tips for AP Exam Success

 

No matter whether a test is taken in-person or online, there are some steps students can take to ensure an impressive AP exam score. 

 

Prepare Early 

 

Cramming for a test is no fun and ineffective; therefore, students should take a proactive course of action and begin studying early—at least a month before the exam date. Practice tests are a fantastic test-prep resource, as they:

 

  • Highlight strengths and weaknesses (illuminating areas that need extra attention)
  • Familiarize test-takers with question styles and exam formats
  • Perfect test timing 
  • Ease test anxiety
  • Track preparation progress 

 

There are numerous great free practice tests and resources available online—for example, our Guides for Acing Your AP Exams

 

Test-Day Preparation

 

 

Make sure you know ahead of time what is needed to have on hand for each AP exam, whether in-person or online. Must-have items for in-person AP exams include:

 

  • #2 Pencils and black or dark blue colored pens
  • Government or school-issued identification
  • Six-digit school code
  • A ruler or straight-edge for those taking the AP Physics exam
  • An acceptable calculator if the exam allows or requires one

 

Just as important as what to bring to your in-person exam is what not to bring. These items include: 

 

  • Food and drinks—they’re not allowed in the exam room 
  • Smartphones and smartwatches 
  • Laptops and tablets
  • Cameras 
  • Separate timers 

 

Get caught with any of these prohibited items and risk consequences from having them confiscated to having your test score canceled and not being permitted to retest. 

 

Relax

 

Studying is important for test day success, but so is showing up to the test well-rested and relaxed. Make sure in the weeks leading up to exam day that you’re getting enough sleep and eating a healthy, balanced diet. Sometimes getting an extra hour of sleep is more valuable than spending an extra hour reviewing material—this is especially true for students who started studying early and stuck to a consistent schedule.

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Timothy Peck
Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
A graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in English, Tim Peck currently lives in Concord, New Hampshire, where he balances a freelance writing career with the needs of his two Australian Shepherds to play outside.