AP Seminar

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About the Assessment

Important Update

Updated April 8 You can now download the digital testing application and take digital practice to prepare for the testing experience. See below for more information on digital practice and taking the digital exam.

2021 AP Seminar end-of-course exams will be offered on paper in early May and as a digital exam in late May and early June. Student presentations will still be delivered live in real time (and not prerecorded) as usual, though they can be delivered in a remote, hybrid, or in-person setting.

All versions of the end-of-course exam will cover the full scope of course content, giving you the opportunity to qualify for college credit and placement. Both the paper and digital versions of the end-of-course exam will contain the typical free-response section.

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP Seminar only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

Learn more about 2021 testing.


A new pair of review sessions for AP Seminar will premiere the week of April 26—and will be hosted by AP teachers from across the country. Recordings of each session will be available on YouTube and AP Classroom for you to watch on demand if you can't join live.

Exam Overview
The AP Seminar assessment has three parts: two performance tasks—which you’ll complete over the course of the year and submit online for scoring through the AP Digital Portfolio—and the end-of-course AP Exam. All measure your proficiency in the course skills, and all contribute to your final AP score on a scale of 1–5.

Digital Practice and Testing Information

Updated April 8

Digital Practice Now Available

Starting April 8, you can try out the test-day experience, by answering example questions in the digital testing application. See the Digital Practice page for general information about practice options.

AP Seminar students will have two options to answer example questions in the digital testing application. Both provide approximately the same time limit per question as the full exam.

  • Digital Practice is full-length (Part A and Part B, 2 hours).  
  • The App Demo consists only of Part A, and lasts 30 minutes.

We highly recommend you take the Digital Practice, and strongly advise that if you can’t take the Digital Practice, at least take the App Demo. Both can be taken multiple times, and can be accessed directly in the digital testing application. You can access your answers and FRQ scoring guidelines for the Digital Practice. Note: Taking the App Demo after completing Digital Practice may override your answers from Digital Practice.

Taking the Digital Exam

You should be aware of some aspects of testing digitally that you’ll encounter–in the Digital Practice and on exam day:

  • The digital testing application includes an annotation tool, which allows students to mark text and make notes on the provided sources. You can use the digital annotation tool to highlight key elements within texts, organize your thoughts, and create brief notes. While the annotations will not be scored, annotating is an opportunity for students to analyze texts to help them as they write their responses.
  • The directions for Part A of the exam are the same on the paper and pencil and digital exams. However, the provided source on the digital exam may include footnotes, which students should consider as part of their analysis.
  • The rubric for Part B of the digital exam has been adjusted slightly with points distributed differently across rows. The directions for Part B are the same as usual, but students must follow the instruction to incorporate at least two of the provided sources to access higher scores on the rubric. View the Part B rubric for the digital exam.
  • On Part B, you’ll view the Sources directly in the exam app. You can click on the tabs on the left side of the screen, lettered A through D, to view one source at a time. You may need to scroll down to view the tabs and the complete sources.
  • As a reminder, students will type all responses directly in the digital exam application. Scratch paper is permitted for notes or planning, but students cannot handwrite or otherwise upload responses. 
  • Students may go back and forth among questions 1, 2 and 3 while answering Part A, but once they move onto Part B, they cannot go back to Part A. They must complete Part A first.
  • Exam directions and section-specific directions will not be read by a proctor–they’ll appear entirely in the application. You’ll see them at the beginning of each section, and can access them at any time during the exam. Please note that the exam timer starts when the directions appear. While you should read the directions, be aware that the timer will be running while you do so. You can view the full text of the exam and section directions in advance of the exam.

Assessment Dates

  • Thu, May 20, 2021,
    11:59 PM EDT

    AP Seminar Performance Tasks Due Date

    You must submit all final AP Seminar performance tasks via the AP Digital Portfolio and your teacher must have scored all presentations by this time.

  • Tue, May 11, 2021,
    8 AM Local

    Paper, In School

    AP Seminar End-of-Course Exam 

    This is the Administration 1 date for the AP Seminar Exam.

  • Wed, May 26, 2021,
    4 PM EDT

    Digital, In School and At Home

    AP Seminar End-of-Course Exam 

    This is the Administration 2 date for the AP Seminar Exam.

  • Mon, Jun 7, 2021,
    4 PM EDT

    Digital, In School and At Home

    AP Seminar End-of-Course Exam 

    This is the Administration 3 date for the AP Seminar Exam.

Assessment Components

Note on 2021 Exams

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP Seminar only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

Work in teams of 3–5 to identify, investigate, analyze, and evaluate an academic or real-world problem, question, or issue. Your team will design and/or consider options, alternatives, or solutions and develop a multimedia presentation to communicate your conclusion or recommendations. The team project and presentation will be evaluated based on the following components:

  • Individual research-based essay (1,200 words): scored by College Board
  • Team multimedia presentation and defense (8–10 minutes): scored by your teacher

College Board will provide stimulus material (texts) representing a range of perspectives focused on a single theme or topic. You will use these texts to identify a research question of your own; research, analyze, evaluate, and select evidence to develop a written argument of your own that you will present; and then you will defend your conclusion. The individual research-based essay and presentation will be evaluated based on the following components:

  • Individual written argument (2,000 words): scored by College Board
  • Individual multimedia presentation (6–8 minutes): scored by your teacher
  • Oral defense (2 questions from the teacher): scored by your teacher

4 questions 2hrs 45% of Score

During the AP Exam administration window, you will take a two-hour exam. The exam consists of four questions (three short-answer questions and one essay question). The exam will be scored by College Board–trained readers, similar to other AP Exams.

  • 3 short-answer questions: These questions will be based on a single source. You’ll be asked to explain and analyze an argument.
  • 1 essay question: This question will be based on 4 different sources, which give different perspectives on 1 theme. You’ll be asked to synthesize information and create an evidence-based argument.

How We Score Your Work

Teacher-Scored Components

The two AP Seminar in-class presentations and defenses are scored by your AP Seminar teacher. Your scores on these components contribute to your final AP score.

Here’s how we make sure that scoring by AP Seminar teachers is standardized:

  • AP Seminar teachers use a scoring rubric designed by the AP Program.
  • AP Seminar teachers also take part in mandatory training from the AP Program in how to score these components.

College Board–Scored Components

The individual research-based essay, the individual written argument, and the end-of-course exam given in May are scored by College Board. These scores also contribute to your final AP score. All these components are scored by trained, experienced educators called AP readers.

Assessment Preparation

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