AP Statistics Exam Test Guide (Updated 5/24)

Some Post-test updates from CollegeBoard:

I’ll be given access to your test questions and responses on Tuesday the 26th. I’ll plan to post my answers to the questions you tested on later that day or on Wednesday

If you requested a make-up test, you’ll be notified by email on Thursday May 28. The makeup exam schedule can be found here (ours is Thursday, June 4 at 4:00)


Update (5/17) From CollegeBoard:

We share the deep disappointment of students who were unable to submit responses.

  • Beginning Monday, May 18, and continuing through the makeup window, there will be a backup email submission process for browser-based exams.
  • This option will only be available for students who were not able to submit in the standard process—and they must then email their responses immediately following their exam.
  • These students will see instructions about how to email their response on the page that says, “We Did Not Receive Your Response.” The email address that appears on this page will be unique to each student.
  • Any student testing between May 18–22 who can’t successfully upload their response through the exam platform or send it to us by email, will need to request a makeup exam.
  • To protect the security and validity of exams, we’re unable to accept submissions from students who tested May 11–15. However, these students can feel confident that the email option will be in place for them during the makeup exams.
  • Email submissions will not be available for the World Language exams.

Start Here

  • Watch this video from CollegeBoard. It summarizes essentially everything you’ll need to know.
    • There’s good info in the other videos, too. Check them out.
    • Note that AP Statistics is a “Two Question” exam.
  • Download, print, and complete this Exam Day Checklist
    • I’ve added key information for the AP Statistics exam. You can find a blank version here for your other exams.
  • Download and print the AP Statistics Formula Sheet and Tables
    • This is mostly the same stuff as was on our formula sheet from class, but there are extra tables at the end that might prove useful.
  • Log into My AP and ensure your contact information is up to date.
  • Check out the Demo AP Exam and explore the submission options

 Test Taking Submission Options

  • Option 1: Copy/Paste and Submit
    • Your setup: Click the e-ticket in one window to access the test page and write your response in a Google Doc, Microsoft Word Document, or other word processor on another window (positioned side-by-side, ideally)
    • You answer by: Typing your response in the document
    • You submit by: Copying text into test window
    • Pros:
      • Typing is probably faster than handwriting
      • Easier to edit answers
    • Cons: 
    • Other things to remember: 
      • Make sure to include your 8-character AP ID and initials at the top of each file
      • Supported browsers: Chrome (recommended), Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge (but not Internet Explorer)
      • If you have the Grammerly add-on installed, you will need to remove it.
    • Bottom Line: This is probably the best option. Typing math is tricky, but I think the benefits outweigh the risks
  • Option 2: Attach typed text document and Submit
    • Your setup: Click the e-ticket in one window to access the test page  and write your response in a Google Doc, Microsoft Word Document, or other word processor on another window (positioned side-by-side, ideally)
    • You answer by: Typing your response in the document
    • You submit by: Saving a text file (a different file per question) and uploading it to the test window.
      • Supported text file formats: .doc, .docx, .pdf, .txt, .odt
    • Pros:
      • Typing is probably faster than handwriting
      • Easier to edit answers
    • Cons: 
    • Other things to remember: 
      • Make sure to include your 8-character AP ID and initials at the top of each file.
      • Create and pre-save your documents
      • Supported browsers: Chrome (recommended), Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge (but not Internet Explorer)
      • If you have the Grammerly add-on installed, you will need to remove it.
    • Bottom Line: No big difference over option 1. There’s a small risk of uploading the wrong file, but you can avoid this by pre-saving your documents and carefully naming them (e.g., LastName.FirstName.APQuestion1 and LastName.FirstName.APQuestion2)
  • Option 3: Attach photos of handwritten response and Submit
    • Your setup: Click the e-ticket on your cell phone or tablet and open the test page. Have pen/pencil and paper nearby to write your responses.
    • You answer by: Handwriting your response on lined or unlined paper
    • You submit by: Taking a picture of each page (up to 5 allowed) and uploading them to the test page.
    • Pros:
      • You’re already used to handwriting math responses
    • Cons: 
      • Response must be submitted as a picture (.png, .jpg, .jpeg) or scanned PDF
        • Note that if you upload a PDF, it must be submitted as a “text” file and not an “image” file
        • Many iPhones take pictures as HEIC files, which are not accepted. You can change this setting by going to Settings > Camera > Formats and selecting “Most Compatible”
      • Writing for such a focused length of time can be painful to your hand
      • Must scroll on phone to see questions
      • You’re not looking at the screen while working, so you might miss the timer alert
      • Harder to use cell phone as backup timer
      • Photo quality must be perfect
      • Runs the risk of accidentally submitting before uploading all images.
    • Other things to remember: 
      • Make sure to write your 8-character AP ID and initials on the top of each page (as well as a page number for multi-page submissions)
      • You’ll submit your images all at once. Don’t hit “Submit” until all have been uploaded!
    • Bottom Line: I don’t recommend this option. While handwriting math is likely easier than typing math, there are too many ways for this to go wrong.
  • Option 3 (alternative): Upload photos of handwritten response to computer and Submit
    • Your setup: Click the e-ticket on your computer to access the test page. Have pen/pencil and paper nearby to write your responses.
    • You answer by: Handwriting your response on lined or unlined paper
    • You submit by: Taking a picture of each page (up to 5 allowed) or a PDF scan of all pages, emailing/uploading them to your computer, then uploading them to the test page.
    • Pros:
      • Allows you to handwrite math while eliminating some of the disadvantages of accessing the test on your phone.
    • Cons:
      • Same issues with photo quality and requirement of image files (not pdfs)
      • Many steps make take time that you can’t afford.
      • CollegeBoard does not recommend this
    • Other things to remember: 
      • Make sure to write your 8-character AP ID and initials on the top of each page (as well as a page number for multi-page submissions)
      • You’ll submit your images all at once. Don’t hit “Submit” until all have been uploaded!
    • Bottom Line: CollegeBoard does not recommend this option and nor do I. The number of steps behind taking proper photos, uploading them to your computer, and submitting them gives you too little room for error.

What will Test Day Look Like?

  • Two days before the exam (May 20 for us), you’ll get an e-ticket in your email. You will use this ticket to access the exam on the 22nd.
    • This ticket will also be accessible on your My AP account
  • Click the link on your e-ticket no later than 1:30 pm on Friday, May 22nd. You’ll be asked some security questions, then be placed in a waiting room until 2:00
  • Immediately at 2:00, Question 1 will appear along with a timer for 30 minutes. You will have 25 minutes to write your response, then 5 minutes to upload it.
    • IF YOU DO NOT SUBMIT YOUR RESPONSE TO QUESTION 1 BEFORE THE TIMER EXPIRES, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO SUBMIT IT AT ALL
  • After 30 minutes, Question 2 will appear along with a timer for 20 minutes. You will have 15 minutes to write your response, then 5 minutes to upload it.
  • From CollegeBoard: “Don’t worry if you don’t complete all parts of the question before you need to attach and submit your response. To give students as many different chances to demonstrate what they know as possible, a question may have more parts than can be answered in the allowed time. You don’t need to complete the entire question to get a score of 5, but you do need to submit whatever work you’ve done.”

Additional Information

  • The full 2020 AP Testing Guide can be found here. The guide is written for teachers, but students are welcome to review it as well.
  • If you have previously-approved testing accommodations, (e.g., extended time for tests) they will be automatically applied to the exam. More information can be found here.
    • If you experience a sudden temporary disability, e.g., you sprain your wrist the day before the exam, emergency accommodations can be made available. Contact Ms. Eva Collier, our school’s AP Coordinator, and/or visit the link above.
  • If you have a known conflict on May 22, you do not have to do anything. Do not click the link in your e-ticket on the 22nd, and a new ticket to access the makeup test on Thursday, June 4 at 4:00 pm will be automatically sent.
  • If you encounter a technical issue that you feel impacted your ability to perform effectively on the test, you may request a make-up exam.
    • Acceptable reasons for a request: sudden sickness, significant interruptions from family members, battery failures, power outages, or technical disruptions
    • Your request must be submitted here within 48 hours of the exam date.

I expect still more information will be made available as we move closer to test day. Watch this space, watch your email, and watch AP’s Coronavirus Page for more updates


Update (4/21): The IHS Administration has made some decisions about AP exams at IHS.

  • If you plan to take the test, you do not have to do anything. You are currently registered, and Ms. Collier, our school’s AP Coordinator, will submit your registration fee after the exam.
  • If you plan not to take the test, you also do not have to do anything. Just don’t log in on the day of the exam.
    • That said, I would appreciate you keeping me in the loop about your decision!
  • You may make the decision to not take the exam up to and including the day of the exam itself. Ms. Collier will look at the actual results of who takes and didn’t take the exam and will process registration fees accordingly. You will receive a full refund for any exams you did not take.

Update (4/15): I attended a webinar hosted by Trevor Packer last night and have a few small updates:

  • First a reminder:
    • Our exam is on Friday, May 22 at 2:00 pm. There is a makeup day of Thursday, June 4 at 4:00 pm, though CollegeBoard is saying this is “For students with Technical or Other Disruptions.”
  • On April 28, CollegeBoard plans to release more detailed information about the revised AP procedures, including instructions on what information you’ll need to have with you when you sit down for the exam. Trevor did give a little more information on what test day looks like:
    • On the 22nd, you’ll receive an email with a link to your exam page. This invitation will also appear in your online AP profile.
    • Plan on logging in no later than 1:45 pm. You’ll be asked some initial information to confirm your identity, then you’ll be placed on an online “waiting room.”
      • You will have until the start of the test to decide whether you want to hand write/upload your responses, or type/copy+paste your responses. It was unclear to me whether you can change your mind mid-test. I doubt this.
    • Exactly at 2:00, the first free response question will appear, along with a 30 minute timer. You will have the first 25 minutes to compose your answer. At the 5 minute mark, the timer will turn red and you will see a prompt to submit your response. Stop working at that point and submit your information. If your connection is slow and the submission does not finish by the end of the timer, that is okay. As long as you’ve initiated the submission process, it will continue in the background
    • Exactly at 2:30, you will lose all access to the first question, and a second free response question will appear, along with a 20 minute timer. You will have the first 25 minutes to compose your answer. At the 5 minute mark, the timer will turn red and you will see a prompt to submit your response. Stop working at that point and do so.
  • Here’s what I know about the questions themselves:
    • Both will be “multi-focus” in nature, meaning both questions will draw on your knowledge from two or more of the major aspects of the course:
      • Exploring Data
      • Sampling and Experimentation
      • Probability and Simulations
      • Inference
    • Both questions will be of similar difficulty to past free response questions, though the first question will be longer.
      • Trevor has said that you should not expect nor plan to finish either question, and that students will still be able to get a 5 even if they do not finish.
    • All required calculations can be done with paper and pencil, with no calculator (graphing, statistical software, etc.) required. However, use of a calculator is allowed and may be helpful (e.g., for completing basic arithmetic problems).
    • You may use the AP Statistics Formula Sheet. You may have this open as a page on your computer, or print it out to refer to. I do not know (though I doubt; see below) if you’ll need access to the tables included (standard normal table, t-distribution table).
  • SPECULATION ZONE – ALL INFORMATION HERE ARE MY OWN GUESSES ABOUT THE EXAM AND IS NOT CONFIRMED BY COLLEGEBOARD AT ALL
    • I don’t think there will be a full hypothesis test question, where you will write hypotheses, check conditions, complete the mechanics, and write a conclusion.
    • That said, I do think there will be parts of a hypothesis test question, e.g., here are some hypotheses, check the relevant conditions; now here are the mechanics, state the appropriate conclusion. Or: given a sample statistics and margin of error, write and interpret a confidence interval and use it to check a hypothesis.
    • I suspect there may (also? instead?) be a question asking you to test a hypothesis, and maybe even calculate a p-value, from the results of a simulation. Think about the “smelling Parkinson’s” example we did at the start of the class, or the simulation-based statistics you did in Algebra 2 (if you’ve already completed that class). Something like: “Given that 23 of these 1000 simulated trials produced a statistic as-or-more-extreme than the one observed, what can we conclude?”
    • There will almost definitely be a question asking something about the design of an experiment or survey, and it will probably be the former.

We’ll have more information about the test on Tuesday, the 28th.


On Friday, April 3, Collegeboard released a new Coronavirus page with updates on how the AP examination process will change due to nationwide school closures. I recommend that students carefully read everything in the Students section of this page (as well as the FAQs), but I’ve tried to compile some of the highlights for our class below:

  • The new exam date is Friday, May 22 at 2:00 pm
    • If school has reopened by this time, you’ll be taking the exam in school. Otherwise, you’ll be taking the exam at home.
    • An alternative late test date of Friday, June 5 at 4:00 pm is available for those with a school-approved conflict on May 22
  • The exam will be open book/open notes
    • Specifically, you are permitted the following notes, resources, and tools:
      • Class notes created by the student
      • Classroom resources provided by the teacher
      • Previous assignments or assessments returned by the teacher
      • Calculators for certain exams (see specific exam information for details)
      • Your AP Statistics Formula Sheet
    • You are permitted to store/access these resources digitally
    • You may not:
      • Communicate with any other person during the exam through any means, including online, in-person, by mobile or other device
      • Crowdsource support from group messages, online forums or social media
      • Incorporate the work of another person or technological service into their own exam response, including language translation
    • Collegeboard has posted some open book/open notes exam tips. I suggest you take a look at them and pay attention to what they say.
  • The exam will feature two free response questions
    • You will have 25 minutes to read and response to Question 1, and then 5 minutes to upload your response. Your score for Question 1 will be worth 55% of your exam score
    • You will then have 15 minutes to read and response to Question 2, and another 5 minutes to upload your response. Your score for Question 2 will be worth 45% of your exam score.
    • Once your response to Question 1 has been submitted, you will not be able to return to it.
    • Both questions may cover two or more of the central topics to the AP Statistics course:
      • Exploring Data
      • Sampling and Experimentation
      • Probability and Simulations
      • Inference
    • Free response questions 1-5 from past exams will be good models for the questions that will appear on this year’s exam. There will be no Investigative Task question (question 6 from past exams).
  • You can take the test/submit answers on a computer/laptop, or on a smartphone
    • When on a computer/laptop, you can type your answers or handwrite them, then upload/submit a photo
    • When on a smartphone, you can handwrite your answers and take a picture/upload them from your phone.
    • Collegeboard recommends you pick one of these strategies, and not try to juggle both.
    • There will be video demonstrations and live “simulations” so you can experiment with these methods of test-taking and response submission posted in late April.
    • If you don’t have a device, please let me know ASAP, and complete Collegeboard’s access form here.
  • Collegeboard will be taking exam security very seriously, possibly even moreso this year than in the past. Read more about their plans here.
  • All teachers will be given access to student responses by May 26.
    • This will partially serve as another step for exam security, but will also allow us to use your responses in our calculation of a grade for the course.
    • I will post an update on if/how Ms. Seifert and I plan to use this information later, once we have made this decision.

I expect Collegeboard will continue to release information about this exam and its contents in the coming weeks. They are continuing to release daily live instructional videos for all of their exams, and you can access that schedule here. I recommend that you watch these videos to supplement the work we are doing in class.

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