College Board Carries On With 2020 AP Exams

Leticia Manzo, Reporter

Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, students who have been diligently working in their Advanced Placement (AP) classes since the beginning of the school year will be able to take their exams. Although, the circumstances are different than usual. 

Typically, AP exams are held in person, and students are guided by proctors throughout the exam. To ensure the correct student is taking their own exam, the College Board will email a personalized e-ticket for each student two days prior to taking the exam. Now, instead of having three hours to complete their test, students will have 50 minutes to respond to one question and if there are two questions, students will have 30 minutes for the first question and 20 minutes for the second one. The five minutes suggested time to submit test responses is within the fifty minute test time, leaving students with exactly 45 minutes to complete and submit their work. Students’ work can be submitted with either a photo of their work, a copy and pasted response, or an attached typed response. Tests will be taken from students’ homes using mobile devices such as computers, tablets, and even their phones.  

Students will only be tested on a fragment of what they learned in their classes before online classes came into effect. Additionally, tests will be offered on two different dates: one on the scheduled date in May and a makeup date in June. 

This alternative for home AP exams has presented some obstacles for some students, who have been hardly working to prepare for these exams. Despite having the option to test at home, some students are understandably not satisfied with this alternative. Some students feel that having a shorter test time will give them a chance to succeed in their exams due to the material being condensed into a smaller time slot. Others believe that a reduced test time will affect their score in a negative way since they will have to rely on a sole test question to determine the outcome of their score. 

“We have been focusing on the exam this past semester but it has been difficult for me since the exam wasn’t what we were expecting,” shared senior Andrea Carbajal from Casa Grande. “We now have to adjust to a different format than what we were expecting to take and have less time to prepare with our classmates with [distance learning].”

AP exams have also become worrisome for not only students but teachers as well due to the virtual distance learning. In the past, teachers have hosted boot camps with a month’s anticipation to prepare for AP exams. Having been aware of the circumstances, the College Board hosted various online workshops, practice tests, and demos for students with less access to resources in order to prepare themselves for their exams.

 In spite of the College Board’s efforts to aid students in preparing for their exams, the submission process has been an issue for students across the globe. According to the Washington Post, in the first week alone of AP tests, there were 1.64 million exams with nearly less than 1% of students unable to submit their work. Even though less than 1% doesn’t seem significant, to put it into perspective that is an estimate of 16,400 students who weren’t able to submit their responses due to technical difficulties. The College Board’s response to these unfavorable outcomes was to test a second time during the makeup test time in June.