Sometimes life happens and you end up missing an AP exam. Naturally, since the tests are expensive and you want to take them while the material is still fresh in your mind, you may want to make up the exam.
In this article, I'll go over what to do if you know in advance you won't be able to make your AP exam, what to do in an emergency, how AP late testing works, and situations in which you might not be able to make up the test—and what to do about it.
AP Test Changes Due to COVID-19
Due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, AP exams for May 2020 will be held remotely, and details on how this will work are still evolving. Stay up to date with the latest information on test dates, AP online review, and what this means for your prep with our AP COVID-19 FAQ article.
What to Do When You Know You'll Be Missing Your AP Test
There are a variety of reasons that you might find that the exam you signed up for a few months ago conflicts with something you can't avoid.
As soon as you realize you may have a conflict with the exam, you should get in touch with your school's AP coordinator to discuss AP late testing. They will let you know whether the test can be made up and how, when, and where it will happen.
If you do not know who your AP coordinator is, ask someone in the school office or a guidance counselor. Your school might also have a designated process for requesting late AP testing that someone in the main office can tell you about.
For making up tests when you know about the conflict in advance, there are two scenarios: the College Board deems your conflict either unavoidable or avoidable.
For those conflicts that the College Board deems unavoidable, you'll be allowed to take the make-up exam for free. Most conflicts fall under this category.
Unavoidable conflicts include the following:
- You're taking two AP exams that are scheduled for the same time slot, or you're taking three or more AP exams that are scheduled for the same day
- You have an IB exam or a state or national exam the same day
- There are scheduling issues with the language lab at your school (this would primarily be a problem for foreign language exams)
- You have an academic event or meet (e.g., a Quiz Bowl or math team competition)
- You have a sports meet or game that conflicts with the exam
- It's a religious holiday
- The school is closed for an election or a national holiday
- There is an issue with your disability accommodations (that you know about in advance)
Sorry I couldn't make my AP exam; I was busy hatching.
For other conflicts, which the College Board views as avoidable, you will be allowed to take the exam later but will need to pay a fee of $40. This fee is waived for those who qualify for financial assistance.
Avoidable conflicts include the following
- You have an exam for a class the same day; in this case, it might make more sense to arrange to take the class exam at a different time instead of taking a late AP test
- It's a school holiday (pre-planned, not a national holiday or emergency)
- You have a family commitment that is not an emergency
If you're not sure whether your conflict qualifies you to take a late exam, discuss it with your AP coordinator. They will be the one who ultimately coordinates all late testing for your school.
You can also call the College Board to discuss scheduling issues at (888) 225-5427 or (212) 632-1780 (the second number is the international line).
But what if you miss your AP exam unexpectedly, in spite of your best-laid plans?
This fire extinguisher just realized she missed her AP exam.
Making Up AP Tests: What If Something Unexpected Occurs?
There may be situations in which you have a sudden emergency and cannot make your AP exam. In this case, you should let your school's AP exam coordinator know as soon as possible so they can coordinate your make-up exam.
The coordinator is the person who will order all late AP exams for your school, so it is up to them to decide whether you will be allowed to take a make-up exam. Should they allow it, they will let you know when, where, and how to take the late AP exam.
The College Board will not charge you for a late exam due to an emergency. Potential emergencies include the following:
- An unforeseen issue with your disability accommodations
- A bomb scare or fire alarm at your school
- A natural disaster
- A labor strike at your school
- A family tragedy
- A serious injury or illness
If you just have the sniffles, you might want to bring a box of tissues. If you have a splitting headache and a sore throat and can't talk, consider skipping your AP exam and going to the doctor (to get a note). Late AP exams are a pain, but you also don't want to end up scoring a 2 instead of a 4 because you felt light-headed and nauseated the whole time.
But what if you miss your AP exam for a non-emergency reason?
Decisions on all make-up exams are up to the school AP exam coordinator. So whether you slept through your alarm, or your little sister threw the entire contents of your backpack into the trash, or you got in a fender bender on your way to school, take your case to the AP exam coordinator.
If they say no, it's not awesome—but it's also not the most horrible thing in the world. If they say yes, then great! Read on to know what to expect when you make up your AP test.
What Happens When You Make Up an AP Exam?
The College Board has designated late testing dates for AP exams. If you can't take it the first go-round, you'll take it on that test's designated make-up day.
Barring some highly unusual circumstances, once you open your AP exam you are no longer eligible for late testing. So, unfortunately, if you toss your cookies in the middle of the test, you won't be able to make it up later.
Note that you will be taking an alternate form of the test. This is so that students who take late AP exams won't be able to get any information on the exam content from their classmates. Other than that, the experience will be similar to the regular AP test.
You can check out the upcoming AP late testing schedule at the College Board website.
What If You're Unable to Make Up Your AP Exam?
Whether or not you can make up your AP exam is primarily up to your AP exam coordinator, who requests the make-up exams through the College Board. This person might allow you to make up your test even if you do something like sleep through your alarm or forget about your test and go to your regular class.
However, you can't count on this happening, so don't be that person who goes back to their house because you forgot a pen or pencil (someone will loan you one if you forget it!) Pack your bag with everything you need the night before and leave for school early.
If worst comes to worst and you miss the exam (and can't make it up), your hopes and dreams are not dead. You will probably be out the $94 you paid for your AP test (though you might be able to negotiate that with your school's exam coordinator), but it won't appear on a score report or anything. No one will know you missed the exam, and colleges don't necessarily expect that you will take the AP exam for every AP-level class you take.
If you still want that college credit, you can take the AP test the following year; however, you'll have to put in some serious study time to be able to remember everything!
Key Takeaways: Late AP Testing and How It Works
Missing AP exams happens. As soon as you realize you have a conflict or an emergency on test day, get in touch with your school's AP exam coordinator. If you don't know who that is, it's in your best interest to find out now!
If you are allowed to make up your AP test, you will take an alternate form a couple of weeks after the regularly scheduled exam. If you are not allowed to make it up, however, then the exam won't show up on your score report.
Go forth and conquer, noble AP adventurers!
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Ellen has extensive education mentorship experience and is deeply committed to helping students succeed in all areas of life. She received a BA from Harvard in Folklore and Mythology and is currently pursuing graduate studies at Columbia University.