The 2021 AP Exams: Everything You Need to Know

With school being online, the 2020 AP Exams were adjusted to a format that was unfamiliar to most people. College Board cut a notable amount of the test, leaving only (Free Response Questions) FRQ questions rather than the traditional FRQ + (Multiple Choice Questions) MCQ format. Some people responded to this in a positive way as they believed that it would allow students to have a better way to justify their responses, whereas others believed that having only 45 minutes and as few as one question was not enough to assess a year’s worth of knowledge. Just recently, College Board announced the new format for the 2021 AP Exams. This is what they said.


First and foremost, the 2021 AP Exams will return to their traditional format in which there will be both multiple-choice questions and free-response questions. In addition, the tests will be administered on three dates: early May, late May, and early June. Depending on the subject, the exam will be administered in either a paper or digital format. This will be decided by the school themselves as they can elect to offer either of the two. For more on the specific formats of each subject, click here.


Preparing for the 2021 Exams

With the exams just right around the corner, there is no doubt that you may feel a bit anxious about what to expect and how to prepare. While there is still a decent amount of time left before the first test date, it is a great idea to begin studying as soon as possible. Thankfully, there are many different ways and many different resources that you can utilize to go into the AP Exams feeling confident and prepared.


Create a Schedule and Utilize Past Assignments

The first method of studying is fairly straightforward: creating a schedule and taking advantage of previous assignments and assessments. To start off, you should create an effective studying schedule that is neither too easy nor too rigorous. Depending on how much time you have every day, it is a good idea to scale the amount of time you spend studying for the AP Exams to the amount of free time you have. This way, you won’t burn yourself out by depriving yourself of any time to relax and destress, and you are able to keep up with your work without feeling tired or groggy.


One simple way that you may go about studying for the AP Exams is by dedicating different days to different tests. This may not apply to those who are only taking one AP Exam, but for those who are taking up to five, it is a good idea to balance your time according to the rigor of the subject. For example, if you are taking a class with a reputation for its difficulty such as AP Chemistry, you may want to prioritize that over an AP class that you find to be significantly easier. The difficulty of an AP subject can depend on multiple factors, such as the amount and complexity of the content as well as the types of questions that are asked on tests and quizzes.


Consider Investing in Prep Books

If you do not feel comfortable with the resources available to you online, it is a good idea to consider buying a prep book. These books condense all of the information pertaining to the class, thus providing you a great resource to utilize. Some of these books are unfortunately fairly expensive, which is why they may not be the best investment if you are already fairly comfortable with the content of the subject. Some of the most notable books for these AP Exams include Barron’s and The Princeton Review, both of which specialize in different subjects.


Practice Exams and Questions

One of the best ways to assess your knowledge on certain subjects is by taking prior AP Exams. Although some of these exams may be outdated, they are still useful resources to use when you want to test what you know. Thankfully, there is still a plethora of up-to-date released FRQ questions that can be found on College Board’s website.


Join Communities

One of the most underrated resources to use when studying for AP Exams or any other type of exam is joining online communities. Discord servers, such as AP Students, offer a variety of tools for students to use. AP Students consists of roughly 38,000 members as well as channels regarding AP Exam announcements and voice channels and text chats for students studying the same subject to help one another. Since there are so many members, the chats are usually always fairly active, thus giving you a quick and easy way to get help on certain concepts when needed. If you would like to join the server, click here. There are also many other servers that you can look at for additional help.


With AP Exams just right around the corner, it is essential that you take advantage of the remaining time to study and thoroughly prepare for these tests. There is no doubt that some subjects may be more difficult than others, which is why it is important that you acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses and create a concrete studying routine based on those to go into the exams feeling confident and prepared.


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