Seating requirements are the same for paper and pencil AP Exams and in-school digital AP Exams.
The AP Exam seating policy requires that students be seated a minimum of 5 feet apart to maintain exam security (with a minimum of 4 feet allowed for certain paper exam subjects). To meet social distancing guidelines, schools may seat students as far apart as needed above the minimum required 5 feet. We encourage schools to maintain social distancing during AP Exams and support spacing students 6 feet apart.
Typically, the use of partitions is prohibited. However, this year clear partitions may be used as a safety measure if desired. Be sure partitions do not prevent the proctor from seeing students.
Review the “Seating Policy” section in the AP Coordinator’s Manual, Part 2 for AP Program seating policy requirements. See the “Administering Digital AP Exams in School” section in the AP Digital Testing Guide for details about seating for digital exams in school.
Failure to follow seating requirements could result in cancellation of exam scores.
- Allow no less than 5 feet (1.5 meters) between students. Distance between students should be measured from the center of one student to the center of the next student.
- Everyone must face the same direction.
- Seat students directly behind each other (in rooms with elevated seating, students must be seated no less than 5 feet behind one another).
- Assign seats randomly (not alphabetically or following any other expected pattern) within the testing room. Under no circumstances should students be permitted to select their own seats. Go here for step-by-step directions to assign random seating using Microsoft Excel.
- You may seat more than 1 student at a table, but only if all students face the same direction, are seated on the same side of the table, and the 5-foot distance between students can be maintained. To maintain this distance, a table must be at least 8 feet (2.43 meters) in length to accommodate 2 students and at least 13 feet (3.96 meters) to accommodate 3 students.
- New! Clear partitions are acceptable if being used as an added safety measure this year. Some exam subjects have additional specific guidelines around the use of partitions. See the “Seating Policy” section in the AP Coordinator’s Manual, Part 2 for details.
- Round tables are prohibited for testing, regardless of the number of students.
- The desk or work surface should be an adequate size for each student and must have a minimum writing surface of 12’’ x 15’’ (30.4 cm x 38.1 cm). If possible, seat left-handed students in left-handed armchairs. Tablet armchairs designed specifically for right-handed individuals provide an awkward and difficult writing surface for left-handed students. If only right-handed tablet armchairs are available, seat left-handed students behind one another in a separate row with a vacant writing surface to their left, or in the last seat of each row of right-handed students.
- See the AP Coordinator’s Manual, Part 2 for details about specific seating requirements for exams in Calculus (AB/BC) and U.S. History.
Seating Chart Tools
Start here. This provides step-by-step directions for creating a seating chart and a blank form to create your own seating charts.
Note: schools may use either the 11-digit serial number of the exam booklets or students’ full names on the seating charts.
Excel Seating Chart Templates:
36 Seats (.xlsx/50KB)
64 Seats (.xlsx/50KB)
100 Seats (.xlsx/50KB)
Excel templates that you can use for different size administrations.
Assigning Random Seating Using Excel (.pdf/958KB)
Step-by-step directions for using Excel to assign random seating.