The first round of online, at-home AP exams concluded with tech glitches and submission errors galore. Thousands of students must now prepare for June make-up exams. Indeed, the exact number of affected students is unknown because the College Board tellingly stopped sharing numbers after the first few days of testing. Even so, their previous estimate—less than 1% of test-takers unable to submit responses—would still point to tens of thousands of students needing to retake AP exams next week.
If you’re one of those students, the silver lining is that we know more now than we did two weeks ago. You’re heading into the June testing window with more time to study, as well as a clearer idea of what to expect and how to handle the most common issues that could arise. The extra preparation may help you perform even better than you did the first time around.
Here’s what you should do this week to get ready:
- Stick to your study plan and update your notes.
- Avoid tech glitches by preparing your devices.
- Be ready for the worst-case scenarios, including email submissions and final make-up exams in late June.
Stick to your study plan and update your notes.
Continue your regular studying schedule, ideally 2-3 independent study sessions and 1-2 tutoring sessions per week for each subject you’re preparing for. For example, this week’s schedule could look something like this:
- Monday: Independent Studying (30 min). Review AP materials and revise notes for test day.
- Tuesday: Tutoring Session (1 hr). Review FRQs and get one-on-one support from a tutor.
- Wednesday: Independent Studying (30 min). Continue reviewing AP materials, revising notes, and practicing with past FRQs.
- Thursday: Independent Studying (30 min). Continue reviewing AP materials, revising notes, and practicing with past FRQs.
- Friday: Tutoring Session (1 hr). Review FRQs and get one-on-one support from a tutor.
And now that you’ve had a trial run, think about what worked and didn’t work for you when it came to the “open note” aspect of the exam. With that in mind, revise the notes and other resources you’re planning to use during your make-up test. For more ideas about making the most of your notes, check out this blog post.
Avoid tech glitches by preparing your devices.
The most common tech issues can be avoided by:
- Updating your browser. Outdated browsers have caused many issues, especially for students attempting to copy and paste their responses.
- Adjusting your iPhone/iPad settings. HEIC file formats continue to be one of the biggest issues for students. In fact, some students’ responses initially appeared to go through, but students later received emails saying the file formats didn’t work. Before your exam, change the following settings:
- Turn off Live Photos. Open up your Camera app, and tap the yellow "Live" icon to turn it off.
- Turn off HEIC format. Go to Settings > Camera > Formats, and select "Most Compatible."
- Turning off Grammarly. Disable any Grammarly extensions you normally use on any devices you plan to use during the exam.
- Attaching PDFs as text files (not as photos). When attaching a PDF, select the “Text” option.
Be ready for the worst-case scenarios, including email submissions and final make-up exams in late June.
If you still end up seeing the “We Did Not Receive Your Response” page at the end of the exam, you can email your responses to the College Board.
- Follow the instructions on the “We Did Not Receive Your Response” page. The email address that appears on the page will be unique to each student.
- Email your responses within 10 minutes, even though the College Board has been allowing an unspecified amount of wiggle room to students who submit responses a little after the 10-minute window.
- Important: your response must be attached—not simply copied and pasted in the body of the email.
If you don’t get to the “We Did Not Receive Your Response” page or you run into other issues that prevent you from emailing your submission within 10 minutes, call the College Board at 888-225-5427 for further support and next steps.
The College Board is also now offering a final round of make-up exams (which they're calling "exception testing") at the end of June. You can click here for the exception testing request form, which will be available between June 1-7. The final round of make-up exams will take place from June 22-30. Check out the full testing schedule here.
In the meantime, it can also be helpful to follow the College Board (@CollegeBoard) and Trevor Packer (@AP_Trevor) on Twitter. During the May testing window, many AP exam updates and tech solutions were posted to Twitter first—sometimes less than an hour before exams began.
Above all, remember to focus on what's in your control. As you’ve already experienced, certain aspects of test day may be unpredictable, but by preparing and following the steps above, you’ll be in the best possible position to successfully get through your June make-up exams.
Need more individualized advice?
The recommendations above are general suggestions. If you have specific questions, reach out to our experts here. We’re happy to help in any way we can.
ArborBridge is the global leader in innovative, digital, one-on-one tutoring. With nearly a decade of experience teaching students online, ArborBridge supports students of all kinds: home schoolers, AP students, test preppers, and more. Our tutors specialize in creating personalized plans and in providing compassionate support for students and families.