AP Exam Update: AP Exams Will Be Open Notes!

Make sure to check here for what’s new with the test due to remote learning procedures

Advanced Placement (AP) exams will take place online from May 11-22. You may take them at home or at school if it is reopened.

AP exams were forced to be rescheduled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic that is impacting schools worldwide. Exams will now be open notes, with most exams lasting about 45 minutes.

Pullquote Photo

I think this crisis has put everyone in a situation that requires us to think outside the box.

— Mr. Costarelli

“I think this crisis has put everyone in a situation that requires us to think outside the box. College Board is a prestigious institution that takes the Advanced Placement Assessments very seriously,” said Mr. Costarelli, who teaches AP US History 2 at Passaic Preparatory Academy.  “I trust in their decision-making ability, and if they think administering the test online is the best possible contingency plan, then I am all for it.”

The College Board has tools to detect plagiarism and plans on cancelling responses that mirror content online or mirror student responses.

“For the small number of students who may try to gain an unfair advantage, we have a comprehensive and strict set of protocols in place to prevent and detect cheating,” reads the College Board website (click here).

These exams can be taken on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Most of them will consist of just one or two free response questions.

“I appreciate College Board for being understanding in this time of uncertainty and for allowing students to still show all the work we put into understanding the concepts taught in the AP classes, while also not making us stress about it,” said Prep junior Citlaly Hernandez, who plans to take four AP exams this year.


College Board plans on sending student responses to their teachers by May 26. These teachers can count the results as a grade or as a final if they desire to do so. These teachers can spot inconsistencies with student responses and their known work ethic.

“With the assessment being ‘open book’ or ‘open notes,’ I am actually more concerned with students being lulled into a false sense of security. For a lot of young people ‘open book’ means ‘I don’t have to study as much,'” added Mr. Costarelli. 

Some students worry that these exams will not be accepted as college credit if they pass due to the shortened time and length based on the current remote learning situation.

“We’re confident that the vast majority of Higher Ed institutions will award credit as they have in the past,” reads the College Board website. “We’ve spoken with hundreds of institutions across the country who support our solution for this year’s AP Exams.”

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