World Languages: Taking the Exam—Updated June 1, 2020

After checking in and launching the app, you'll be instructed to do an audio check to make sure everything's working properly, enter your AP ID, and confirm the exam you're taking.

If asked, you'll need to grant access for microphone use. If there's a problem with your internet connection, or not enough battery power or storage on your device, you'll see messages with instructions about what to do.

Once the exam begins, the app will automatically play the exam directions and exam questions and record your spoken responses. You won't pause, play, start, or stop during the recording process—the app runs the recording process. And when you're done with both tasks, the app will submit your responses to the AP Program. Unlike other exams this year, you won't need to attach the files on your own.


Will I need to write responses for this exam?

No. This year the AP Exams in world languages and cultures have speaking tasks only. And the app manages the entire process of recording and uploading your responses.

How am I supposed to save and submit my recorded responses?

The app manages the entire exam process—it will automatically record your responses and submit them when you've completed both tasks. You don't need to independently record, save, or attach/submit your responses—it's all done through the app.

Will I be able to re-record my responses if something goes wrong?

No. If you have a technical issue or disturbance during your exam that impacts your recorded responses, you can request a makeup exam by completing the Request Makeup Form. There will be a link on the last screen of the app to request a makeup exam in the event of a technical issue. The June 22−30 exception testing exams are the final opportunity to take AP Exams in 2020.

How long is the exam?

The timed portion of each exam is as follows:

  • AP French, German, Italian, and Spanish Language and Culture: 22 minutes
  • AP Chinese and Japanese Language and Culture: 15 minutes

See the full AP Exam Schedule 2020 for detailed information on exam timing.

How will I know how long I’m supposed to speak during each task?

The directions you hear before each task will tell you exactly how much time you have to respond. You’ll hear a tone when it’s time to start speaking and again when it’s time to stop speaking during each task.

Practice with the app to hear what the tone sounds like.

Will a timer be visible during the speaking tasks? Can I use a separate device if I prefer?

In the AP World Languages Exam App, you’ll see a countdown timer before the app starts recording and a count-up timer while the app is in recording mode.

  • While you listen to the task directions and introduction and get ready to speak, you’ll see a countdown timer. This timer shows you how much time you have before the app switches to recording mode.
  • When the app is in recording mode during each task, you’ll see a count-up timer. This timer shows you how much time has gone by in recording mode for the whole task. It doesn’t reset each time you speak in Task 1.
    • The count-up timer starts for Task 1 when the narrator says in English, “You will now begin this task,” and for Task 2 when the narrator announces in English that preparation time is done. The count-up timer doesn’t reset when you start speaking.

The timer counts down before recording mode begins.

The timer counts up during recording mode.

Remember that you’ll hear a tone to indicate when to start and stop speaking during each task.

To see how the timers work, you can watch this video and use the app in practice mode.

If you prefer to keep time on a stopwatch or other device, you can use that device, but remember that using multiple devices could cause distractions during the exam. You should practice before exam day if you want to use a separate timer.

Can I minimize/navigate away from the app while I’m preparing for each task?

Within the app, a countdown timer indicates how much time you have left before it’s time to begin speaking for each task. If you choose to navigate away from the app on your device during the preparation time for each task—for instance to take digital notes or to look at reference material—you’ll need to keep track of your time on your own.

Important:  You’ll also need to return to the app as soon as your preparation time for a task is complete. The app screen must be visible while you’re speaking to record properly. If you do not return to the app screen before the tone to start speaking, you’ll have less time to respond, and if you speak your responses without the app screen visible, your responses won’t be recorded.

How much preparation time will I have for each task?

The preparation time for each task for each exam is:

  • French, German, Italian, and Spanish Language and Culture Exams:
    • Standard Time: Task 1: 1 minute; Task 2: 4 minutes
    • 50% Extended Time: Task 1: 3 minutes; Task 2: 13 minutes
    • 100% Extended Time: Task 1: 5 minutes; Task 2: 22 minutes
  • Chinese and Japanese Language and Culture Exams:
    • Standard Time: Task 1: 1 minute; Task 2: 4 minutes
    • 50% Extended Time: Task 1: 3 minutes; Task 2: 10 minutes
    • 100% Extended Time: Task 1: 4 minutes; Task 2: 16 minutes

Will exam directions be given in English, the target language, or both?

For French, German, Italian and Spanish Language and Culture, the directions are given in English and the target language.

For Chinese and Japanese Language and Culture, all directions are given in English only.

For details about the exam directions and questions, go to your subject's course-specific exam page.

Will I be able to read the outline of the conversation during the exam?

No. This year's conversation is not a guided/directed conversation. It takes the form of a phone interview/survey with a recorded interlocutor.

You'll focus on answering the interlocutor's/caller's questions. There's no written outline of the conversation this year.

For details about the exam questions, go to your subject's course-specific exam page.

What if I lose my internet connection while taking the exam?

You'll get an alert when you first launch the app if there's no internet connection. You'll need to establish a connection in order to begin the exam. If you lose your connection once the exam has started, don't worry—the app will continue to administer your exam and record your responses. You'll need an internet connection after your responses have been recorded so the app can submit them to the AP Program. You'll get an alert if there's no internet connection at this point. If this happens, try to restore your internet connection. The app will continue to try to submit your responses.

Because the exam is open book/open note, am I allowed to use a translation dictionary?

You can use a digital or hardcopy translation dictionary to look up words; for example, a word you hear you don't know the meaning of, or a word you don't remember how to say.

However, keep in mind that the time you'll have to prepare to speak is one minute in Task 1 and four minutes in Task 2. It's better to spend your time composing your thoughts and, for Task 2, organizing and practicing your presentation than using your dictionary.

Translating entire passages is not acceptable, will be detected, and will be considered an exam violation. Students committing exam violations will face consequences.

For details about other materials permitted during the exam, review the course-specific page for the exam you're taking.


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