College Board AP Exams are administered differently this year


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AP Exams will take place both in person and virtually, in May and June.

With adjustments in school due to COVID-19, the College Board had altered the system of AP testing this year to fit all conditions- both online and in person. Unlike the changes in testing the previous year and with additional options added for the students, the test has been switched back to the full length exam and now provides options of taking it both on paper or on the computer.

As of the current updates, there will be three testing windows held for the AP exams this year. The first testing day will take place in early May, having the exam all paper and pencil based. The second administration will be held in late May, shifting the testing to both pencil and paper based while others are taken digitally at home or in school. Early June will be the estimated time of the final third testing window where it will function similarly to the second administration, optional for either on paper or online.

The major difference between the AP exams compared to last year will be the length and time of testing. This year, the tests will be in full length in either format, covering the entire curriculum whereas last year’s exams were shortened to 45 to 50 minutes unlike the typical 2 to 3 hours given. Due to this change, the previous tests had removed some content, changing with the new adjusted exams. With this, students now have the decision to choose between taking the exam on paper or online.

The goal is for the AP exams to mock prior exams given years past by content and format despite the pandemic changes in the daily school life.

With the changes in schedule and remote classes, teachers have modified their lessons to help their students learn better in this new environment, preparing them for the exams. Having less class time, many teachers began recording their lessons for students to view and have available at home. Relating to the practice students had always received to prepare for AP testing in the past years, teachers have begun providing opportunities to focus on the most important types of questions for the tests and have laid the chance to practice and ask questions regarding the exam during class.

Mr. Semus, an AP mathematics teacher says, “My students will have the opportunity to work through several full length exams as we get into our review in April. I will hold extra help sessions as well, though these will be virtual instead of in-person most likely.” Similarly, many teachers plan to do the same as a few teachers have already begun introducing review topics and reordering their curriculum to fit their teaching.

Although the option given of taking the test online or in person led to many advantages for some, concerns have arisen with this addition. AP English teacher, Mrs. Radbill says, “Truth be told, this is not a secret— I prefer paper. I think all students write better, especially first drafts on paper. Overall, [most students receive] better results and thoughts when handwriting it,” particularly within the AP English exams. The new adjustments may benefit or disadvantage one’s progress in the exams, but regardless of the format, all the teachers wish the best for their students and say they plan to prepare them with review within the following months.