AP Research

As usual, for AP Research the AP Exam score will be computed from the performance task. This year, the Academic Paper will be the only component of the performance task that will make up the exam score. There will be no Presentation and Oral Defense requirement in 2020.

Note: The Presentation and Oral Defense doesn’t need to be scored (and scores don’t need to be entered in the AP Digital Portfolio) by AP Research teachers; however, teachers may choose to use presentations for classroom grades.

Performance task due date

The deadline for submission of the Academic Paper in the AP Digital Portfolio is extended to May 26, 11:59 p.m. ET. You must submit your work by this deadline in order for your work to be scored. No further extensions will be granted.

Performance task


Academic Paper

% of exam


Task description

The academic paper should be 4,000–5,000 words long. Students will be evaluated on the content, structure, format, and conclusions of the paper as well as the ability to properly and accurately cite sources.

There will be no Presentation and Oral Defense requirement in 2020.

Other course-specific info

Submitting the Academic Paper in the AP Digital Portfolio

Files must be submitted in PDF format. Students who need help with digital submission should see the AP Digital Portfolio: Student User Guide for AP Capstone (.pdf/827 KB).

Go to the AP Digital Portfolio.

Students who no longer want their work to be scored

Students who no longer wish for their work to be scored must not submit any work as final in the digital portfolio. To ensure schools do not incur AP Research Exam fees for students who no longer wish for their work to be scored, teachers must return any work already submitted as final in these situations. Instructions for returning work to students can be found in the AP Digital Portfolio: Teacher User Guide for AP Capstone (.pdf/1.80 MB).

Students whose research process was interrupted

We recognize that some students' research methods and processes have been disrupted by the coronavirus crisis, and we want to ensure that this doesn't impede students' ability to earn a 3 or higher on their Academic Paper.

To address this issue, we’ve developed alternate requirements for students in this situation.

Students whose research has been interrupted by the coronavirus crisis should include these alternate requirements in their Academic Papers to ensure a pathway to a qualifying score. Students whose inquiry processes haven't been interrupted should not incorporate these alternate requirements—they should continue their inquiry processes as previously approved.

We've provided a video explaining the alternate requirements file, with details and sample scenarios for additional context. AP Research teachers should advise their students that they can still earn qualifying scores of 3 or higher even if their research methods can’t be executed because of unforeseen conditions and share the file and video with them.

Online scoring training

Online scoring training for AP Research is no longer required for the 2019-20 school year.

AP Capstone summer 2020 professional development

Teachers of AP Capstone™ courses—AP Seminar and AP Research—are required to take part in professional development the summer before their first year teaching either course. Due to the challenges presented by the coronavirus, in-person AP Summer Institutes are currently evaluating their capabilities to support face-to-face trainings or provide virtual alternatives. Details on which sites will continue to offer AP Seminar and AP Research training (face-to-face or virtual) will be announced around mid-May on the professional development webpage. Schools entering their second or later year of implementation and that plan to begin offering AP Research for the first time in 2020-21 will need to complete this requirement.