AP exam season launches itself, unprecedented policies required

Junior+Aidan+Caesar+studies+for+his+AP+Chemistry+test.

Photo courtesy Aidan Caesar

Junior Aidan Caesar studies for his AP Chemistry test.

As the school year draws to a close, AP exam season has officially taken off. Students have had to make major adjustments in order to successfully complete the exams online while Covid-19 surges throughout the country. 

The AP College Board has accommodated students by permitting them to take their exams at home. The College Board suggests a multi-step process in order for students to do so. Once students install the AP exam Digital Testing App that was released at the beginning of April, practice sample questions become available as well. For each exam a tester takes, they must complete the exam set up one to three days prior and on testing day, they must show up at least a half hour ahead of time. 

For online and at-school exam security, the College Board designed the test so that students are unable to return to or go back-and-forth between questions, provide questions that do not require outside searches or reference materials to be used, begin testing at a globally synchronous time and are reviewed by plagiarism detection software. 

As for the device itself, if a student is digitally testing at a school-selected location or at home, they can use a Windows, Mac or school-managed Chromebook. Students are required to have their computers fully charged and be able to be plugged during the duration of the exam. 

I honestly think it was easier because I didn’t have to worry about bubbling and also it didn’t feel like an AP test because I was just sitting in my room taking a test like any other day.”

— Shayna Kotler

AP Psychology student, junior Shayna Kotler, took the exam on May 20. To her, the exam was not as bad as she expected it to be. “I honestly think it was easier because I didn’t have to worry about bubbling and also it didn’t feel like an AP test because I was just sitting in my room taking a test like any other day,” Kotler said. 

In order to prepare for testing day, Kotler said she attended review sessions hosted by the AP Psychology teachers after school, studied Quizlets and reviewed her notes and classwork. 

From April 19 to 29, the College Board has provided supplemental AP Daily: Live Review Sessions reviews to give students more opportunities to study. These videos are hosted by teachers from across the country and they teach students content review and testing strategies on the different sections of the exams.

While students have been taking exams from home, others have had the opportunity to test in-person. AP Calculus on May 24 was one of the classes that students were eligible to do in-person, which senior Natalie Eisen took part of. “The experience felt like I self-taught myself how to test-take and I prepared by using review books and going into virtual check-ins,” Eisen said.