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Digital exams taken on desktop or laptop computers will be the sole exam format for many subjects on the Administration 2 and 3 test dates. Schools can authorize students to take these exams securely at home, if needed, providing a testing option for schools that are closed or have students who are unable to test in person for safety reasons. Because the full-length digital AP Exams require typewritten free responses, the exams can’t be taken on smartphones or tablets.

Students will need to install the digital exam application on the computer they will use throughout AP testing this year; this will not be the same digital testing platform that was used for emergency testing in spring 2020. Students will not need to install the LockDown Browser they may use for secure AP Classroom assignments.

Digital exams will be full length and test the same knowledge and skills as paper and pencil exams, in a format-appropriate manner. Teachers can feel confident continuing to move through their courses as planned, using existing practice exam questions, whether the school elects to administer paper and pencil or digital exams for a given subject.

Whether digital exams are given at school or at home, schools are responsible for ensuring that all requirements for digital testing are met and that students complete all setup and readiness steps before exam day and understand and follow exam security policies and procedures. Even if a school is only planning to administer paper and pencil exams, it should ensure that its students are prepared to take the digital version of the exam (if applicable), in the event they need to take a makeup digital exam.

Introduce Students to Digital AP Exams

Visit Preview Digital AP Exams for a video and slideshow you can use to give students an early look at the digital testing app and digital AP Exams.

High-Level Digital Testing Requirements


Digital Testing in School (or at a School-Selected Location)

Authorizing Students to Take Digital AP Exams at Home


Each student will need access to a laptop or desktop computer (Mac, Windows, or school-managed Chromebooks). Computers must not be shared between students after exam setup is completed.

  • Windows and Mac: Computers can be personal or school-managed.
  • Chromebooks: Only school-managed Chromebooks can be used for testing; students can’t use personal Chromebooks. 


While students will be asked to have a fully charged computer to last through the full-length exams, schools will need to ensure that a student can access an electrical outlet, if needed.

Students’ computers must be fully charged to last through the full-length exams and be able to be plugged in during the exam, if needed.

Readiness steps

Schools must ensure that all students complete all required readiness steps before exam day.

  • Students will need to be able to install the testing application on their computer. If students are using school- or district-managed devices, the application will need to be pushed down centrally or permission to access the application will need to be granted.
  • Students will need to complete exam setup ahead of each exam day on the specific computer that they plan to use for testing. Exam setup will be available 3 days before exam day and must be completed no later than the day before exam day.

Internet/network access

Students must be able to access a reliable internet connection that can support concurrent data transmission commensurate with the volume of students taking the exam in the same location.

Our testing application has been designed to be tolerant of disruptions in internet connectivity during the exam.

Students will need to be able to access their school’s internet network, and the network must allow outbound traffic to the College Board and inbound traffic from the College Board.

Students must have a reliable internet connection.

Our testing application has been designed to be tolerant of disruptions in internet connectivity during the exam.

Start times

Schools need to be able to support the start of testing at exactly 12 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and provide students with a proctored testing environment for the duration of the exam(s). All digital testing (at home and in schools) will start at the exact same time, worldwide.

Please note that students will need to be seated in the testing room and check in online 30 minutes before the official start time.

Students must understand that testing starts at exactly 12 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time and 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Digital exams for a specific subject start at the exact same time, worldwide.

Please note that students will need to check in online 30 minutes before the official start time.

The Basics

The following details apply to all digital exams, except for Chinese and Japanese exams.

  • Exam security: 2021 AP digital exams have been designed with security in mind, so students can take exams at home if they are unable to test at their school. Digital exams administered at home or in school will:
    • Not allow students to return to answered questions or move back-and-forth between unanswered questions
    • Begin at the same time worldwide with synchronous section start times
    • Not include questions that can be answered with internet searches, textbooks, notes, study guides, or similar material
    • Include security features to prevent students from collaborating, accessing unauthorized aids, or attempting to have someone else test for them
    • Be reviewed with plagiarism detection software and other monitors and post-exam analyses for detecting exam violations
  • Exam violations on any AP Exam—paper or digital—will result in a score cancellation and additional consequences as warranted.
  • Accommodations: Digital exams will be accessible to students with disabilities who are approved for testing accommodations. Braille testing options will be available for students approved for that accommodation who aren’t able to test using the accessible digital exam format. Detailed information about accommodations for digital exams will be available March 2.
  • Exam practice: Beginning in April, students and educators can access the digital testing application and digital practice that enables students to confirm the viability of their technology well before test day, experience the exam day flow, and practice answering exam questions, including each type of multiple-choice and free-response question they’ll encounter on exam day.
  • Readiness dashboard: In April, educators will have access to a digital exam readiness dashboard that helps them track their students’ progress in preparing for and completing digital exams.
  • 2021 AP Exam format information: There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

Share Exam Terms and Conditions with Students

Terms and Conditions for 2021 AP Exams are available at Students must review this information before exam day.