Exam Security Policies

AP Exam security policies and procedures are designed to make sure every AP student gets the same chance to demonstrate their knowledge on exam day without anyone gaining an unfair advantage. For paper and pencil exams, you’ll sign your answer sheet on exam day to acknowledge that you’ve read and agree to follow all the test security and administration policies and procedures listed in the 2021 AP Exam Terms and Conditions. If you’re taking a digital exam, you’ll acknowledge that you agree to the Terms and Conditions before exam day.

Digital Exam Security

2021 digital AP Exams have been designed with security in mind, so students can take exams at home if they are unable to test at their school. Exam violations on any AP Exam—paper or digital—will result in a score cancellation and additional consequences as warranted. Review details at Digital Exam Security.

Keeping Exams Secure

Because AP Exams are given on the same day around the world, and because some exam questions are reused from year to year, it is critical that students taking the exam follow policies and procedures to keep the questions secure. The exam security policies and procedures include things such as:

  • Taking your AP Exam at the scheduled date and time.
  • Not opening your exam materials until your proctor tells you to do so.
  • Not taking exam materials from the testing room.

Violating these or any of the test security and administration policies and procedures could cause your score to be canceled. Under some circumstances you could even be banned from future testing.

Discussing Exam Questions

College Board will automatically cancel your exam score if you are discovered disclosing through any means the following:

  • multiple-choice content
  • free-response content from an alternate exam
  • free-response content from a regularly scheduled exam within 2 days of its administration
  • free-response content that is not released on the College Board website 2 days after the regularly scheduled exam administration

This means that something you may not have intended as a violation, like casually talking about a multiple-choice question with your friends or your teacher during the exam break or discussing a free-response question right after the exam, can actually result in having your score canceled.

You can only discuss free-response content from a regularly scheduled exam after two days have passed, and if that particular free-response content was released on the College Board website.


You are also agreeing not to engage in misconduct during the AP Exam, including:

  • Obtaining, or attempting to obtain, improper access to the exam, or a part of the exam, or information about the exam.
  • Removing a page or portions of a page from the exam book.
  • Attempting to remove from the testing room any part of the exam or any notes relating to the exam.
  • Referring to, looking through, or working on any exam, or exam section, other than during the timed testing period for that exam or exam section.
  • Accessing or attempting to access any prohibited aids.
  • Accessing or attempting to access a phone of any kind or electronic device during testing or during breaks.
  • Having subject-related information on your clothing, shoes, or body.
  • Using testing accommodations not approved by College Board.
  • Bringing food or drink into the testing room (unless it’s approved as an accommodation by College Board).
  • Leaving the testing room, building, or designated break area without permission and/or taking an extended break.
  • Copying the work of another student or of published or unpublished sources.
  • Attempting to give or get assistance, or otherwise communicate, through any means, with another person about the exam during the exam administration, including during breaks.
  • Attempting to take the exam for someone else.
  • Creating a disturbance.

If found doing these you may be asked to turn in your exam materials and leave the exam room. You may not return to the exam room, and your score will not be reported.

Consequences for Violating Security Policies

The following security policy is now in effect:

College Board will prohibit individuals from taking the SAT, SAT Subject Tests, or AP Exams when we conclude they have deliberately gained or attempted to gain or share an unfair advantage on any College Board test, or otherwise threatened the integrity of the test. Examples include viewing or capturing images with a cell phone on test day or being caught with a “cheat sheet” containing test content, answer keys, or other content that would provide an unfair advantage.

The duration of an individual’s ban may vary depending on the circumstances and severity of the violation, as determined by College Board’s discretion. College Board reserves the right to share information, including the names of banned test takers, with their attending high schools and interested higher education institutions.

Appeals of the ban will be considered and decided at College Board’s discretion.

Following exam security policies and procedures keeps things fair for you and your fellow exam takers. So, before exam day, make sure you’ve read through the information in the 2021 AP Exam Terms and Conditions and on this page so you know what to do and what not to do.

Not a student?

Go to AP Central for resources for educators