2020 AP Exams: Data Overview

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The College Board made the decision to offer the 2020 AP Exams online because students overwhelmingly told us they wanted the chance to test.

  • In a nationwide survey of AP students, 91% of students reported a desire to take the AP Exam at the end of the course.
  • We also surveyed more than 4,000 first-generation students about their desire to take the AP Exam at home. Nearly 90% of these students indicated they wanted to take advantage of this opportunity and would take the test at home.

My students are grateful that the College Board has gone out of its way to preserve the possibility for them to earn college credit…. Amidst these difficult times, the possibility of earning college credit has exponential benefits to students. Not only will they achieve that which they’ve worked towards for so many years, but they will also reap the emotional and psychological benefits of this accomplishment.

AP Program Director, Miami, FL

Exams taken between May 11–22, 2020

More than 4.6 million AP Exams were started over ten days of testing, across 32 subjects.

  • Every year, there is a portion of students who start but do not complete free-response questions like those that comprise this year’s exams. During paper-and-pencil exams, on average across subjects, that portion is typically 9%. On this year’s online exams, it’s a smaller number – 7% have been left unanswered. This year, of the more than 4.6 million AP Exams started during ten days of online testing, an even larger majority of AP students (93%) completed their AP exams than in typical years (91%).
  • The reasons most students do not complete their exams in any given year include illness, difficulty of a question, interruptions, or simply running out of time. Those reasons each hold true this year as well. Less than 1% of students had an issue submitting their responses due to issues like computer viruses, corrupted files, or unreadable file formats. Students who were unable to successfully submit their exam responses still have the opportunity to earn college credit by taking makeup tests in early June.

For more detailed data, including a course-by-course breakdown, click here. This data will be updated periodically as we process all exam submissions.

AP Online Classes and Review Sessions

In late March, we launched teacher-led AP Online Classes and Review Sessions to help students continue learning and practicing for their exams.

  • Since they were introduced, the classes were viewed 33 million times by 5.2 million unique viewers.
  • Celebrity guests and luminaries—including Lin-Manuel Miranda, Janet Yellen, Valerie Jarret, Nate Silver, Kristin Chenoweth, Melinda Gates, and more—joined some of the classes to provide unique, real-world learning experiences for students.

Thank you for all of your work to make these exams happen! All of the virtual resources you provided, including the AP live classes, were very helpful, and I hope we will be able to utilize them in the future. I'm glad I got the chance to earn credit for this year.

AP Computer Science A Student, Class of 2022

Preparing Students for Exam Day

In addition to helping students continue their learning, we developed resources—and this new website—to help prepare students for their AP Exams. We also shared weekly updates with students, parents and guardians, and educators. Among the resources, first made available the week of April 21, are:

These resources, and others, include information about:

  • Key steps to take before exam day
  • The exam schedule and time zones
  • Acceptable browsers and how to update them
  • Acceptable file formats for photo submissions
  • Troubleshooting tips
  • How to request a makeup exam in the event of a technical error or disruption

Throughout the exam administration, we listened closely to each student, parent, or educator who reported on any issues they encountered during the process. Based on their feedback, we introduced an email submission safeguard during the second week of testing, for browser-based exams.

Device and Connectivity Access

When we decided to offer online exams, we knew some students wouldn't have access to the technology they needed to test. We established a dedicated 100-person customer service team and have supported more than 28,000 students, parents, and educators by:

  • Connecting them to local efforts already in place through their school district, loaning a device or hotspot, providing a Chromebook™ donated by Amazon, or helping them contact internet service providers in their area providing Wi-Fi to students in need of connectivity. The College Board directly distributed approximately 7,500 devices.
  • Partnering with Donors Choose to get devices directly to educators who needed them for multiple students.

I just wanted to make sure to reach out to let you know as a parent that I appreciate everything the College Board has done to help countless individuals through this process…everything went as well as we could have expected.

Advanced Placement Parent, Sioux Falls, SD