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Exam Security

Ensuring a fair and secure testing environment

The AP Program is committed to reporting scores that accurately reflect a student's performance. For this reason, the AP Program maintains exam administration and security standards designed to ensure that all students are given the same opportunity to demonstrate their abilities and to prevent any student from gaining an unfair advantage over another because of testing irregularities or improper conduct.

Exam security policies are detailed in the AP Coordinator's Manual and the Bulletin for AP Students and Parents.

  • Participating schools agree to meet all security requirements in the AP Coordinator's Manual when the principal and coordinator sign the AP Participation Form.
  • Students agree to all of the policies outlined in the Bulletin for AP Students and Parents when they sign their answer sheet on exam day.

Electronic equipment (cell phone, smartphone, smartwatch, laptop, tablet computer, etc.), portable listening or recording devices (MP3 player, iPod, etc.), cameras or other photographic equipment, devices that can access the Internet, and any other electronic or communication devices are prohibited in the exam room. If a student posts to any form of social media during the exam, the student’s scores will be canceled and no retest will be permitted, and the student may be permanently barred from testing. No photos may be taken in the exam room during an exam by anyone, including, but not limited to, the AP Coordinator, the proctor, school staff, members of the media, and students.

If you discover or suspect any issues related to the security of your school’s exams, call the ETS Office of Testing Integrity (OTI) immediately at 609-406-5427 or 609-406-5441 for instructions.

A breach of exam security at a school's administration site could result in the invalidation of exam scores for individual students or for all the students taking that particular exam at the school. In addition, if a school does not adhere to the policies and procedures detailed in the AP Coordinator's Manual, it will not be allowed to offer AP Exams in subsequent years and may be held liable for financial damages incurred by the College Board as a result of a breach of security.

What behaviors are considered security breaches?

Here are a few examples of activities that could be considered breaches in exam security and explanations of why you are asked to not engage in these activities:

  • An AP teacher "interviews" students after the exam to gather information about specific multiple-choice questions or opens an exam before they are administered. The multiple-choice section of the exam must never be seen by anyone other than the student testing on exam day. Some multiple-choice questions are reused to ensure that exams are reasonably equivalent in difficulty from one year to the next. It is for this reason that AP teachers are not allowed to take AP Exams and students seal the multiple-choice booklets at the end of the administration and are not permitted to share information about these questions after the exam administration.
  • Students take an AP Exam on the day before or the day after it is supposed to be administered or in the morning instead of the afternoon. AP Exams are administered not only across the nation, but also around the world. To prevent "time-zone cheating," AP Exams must be administered at the official exam times. Students sign a statement saying that if an exam is offered to them at an incorrect date or time, they must refuse to take the exam and contact the Office of Testing Integrity. Scores for exams taken at any time other than the official date and time will not be released.