AP exams will look different this year

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Screenshot by Joaquin Moreno

The AP Central website, run by the College Board, is the place to get updates on AP exam administration as exam day get closer.

Adapting to the current situation of the pandemic, The College Board has released new guidelines for Advanced Placement (AP) test taking coming up in May. In an update on the AP Central website run by the College Board, they explained that AP exams this year will be administered during three different testing windows, with the decision to be made by the school district as to when students take the test. During the first administration window, all tests will be offered in person. Administration window two sees a 50-50 split between in person and online exams, and the third administration window will be primarily virtual exams.

Junior Joseph Kiriacos, who will be taking the AP Human Geography, Lang, and Physics exams this year, has mixed feelings about the idea of different test dates. “I think the idea of three test dates is good. However, I personally think that the school should not have the choice of picking the test date. That decision should be in the students’ hands,” Kiriacos said.

I personally think that the school should not have the choice of picking the test date. That decision should be in the students’ hands”

— Joseph Kiriacos

Junior Spencer Golub, who signed up for the AP Psych, Calc, World and Spanish Lang exams, likes the College Board’s decision. “I think it’s the right decision to have different testing dates, as schools across the country have had a wide discrepancy in the amount of class time, so each school can make a decision to take the test at whichever time best reflects the amount of preparation their students have had,” Golub said.

Schools will also have the liberty of choosing whether tests be administered online and at home, online in a school setting, or in person in a school setting. Both Golub and Kiriacos would prefer to take the exam online. However they also both expressed concern about the logistics of taking the exam online, including the possibility of technical difficulties. “These exams were notorious for freezes or crashes last year so there’s no guarantee that they’ll actually function this time,” Golub said.

Kiriacos, on a similar note, said, “I do not feel confident in the College Board’s abilities to provide a stable connection to their servers especially after last year’s fiasco.”

The idea of a full-length, three-hour exam has also stirred up controversy. On one hand, Kiracos likes the idea of a full exam. “It gives a better representation of a test-taker’s abilities. One missed FRQ will not kill your exam score,” Kiriacos said.

Golub disagrees with the College Board’s decision. “We didn’t have the regular amount of class time to learn and understand the regular material. The condensed exams are much more suited to the amount of time in class we’ve had to practice material,” Golub said.

Regardless, both agree that in terms of course content, they feel unprepared compared to previous years. “I think that there should be less course content on the exam because online school has inhibited our abilities to learn drastically. For this same reason, I do not feel very well prepared compared to previous years,” Kiriacos said.