The New Ways of Testing for College Board


     When first signing up for an AP class, students like juniors Andrea Rodriguez and Sophia Moreno expect the end of the year to involve a paper, pencil, and all the knowledge their brain can hold. They hear the ticking of the clock, other students flipping through pages, and the proctors yelling reminders about the time. However, for the first time in AP history, exams moved online last year to adapt to the conditions of the global pandemic.


   Last year’s AP exam was an open book, open note and 45 minutes long at-home exam that students were able to take on any device, such as a computer or phone. For some students, it was a dream come true. Everything they needed was found in their notes and no endless searching into their minds were needed. 


  Junior Andrea Rodriguez explained, “Last year I took the AP Spanish exam. The exam was cut in half, so I only had to do the speaking parts. It was a lot easier than I thought it was going to be and the college board along with my teacher prepared us for it well.” However, the exam wasn’t the exact same fantasy for everyone. Many students had issues with their internet connection, downloading their photos, and reliability of the device they were taking it on.


  Having learned from last year’s mistakes and successes, the College Board has made more changes for this year’s upcoming pandemic-era testing. In order to meet each student’s needs, the College Board has made options that are convenient for every student. Schools that are open for in-person learning are offering the usual paper-and-pencil AP exam with a proctor. Additionally, students who opt for the digital version will be taking an exam at home but instead of the initial 45-minute exam, it will be the full length of 3 to 4 hours. 


   Junior Sophia Moreno stated, “This is my first year taking AP classes and my AP psychology exam is luckily online. I feel like it’s going to be a lot less stressful online, but it’s going to be hard to stare at a screen for so long.” However, exams that are “too easily cheatable” will only be available for in person testing. With the locations of testing being a choice, the date of the exam is also the student’s choice. College Board is offering “three test sessions for each subject, from early May to mid-June” (EdSurge). It feels like nearly every accommodation possible has been created to suit every student’s needs.


   College Board has also redesigned the virtual exam “to be tolerant of internet disruptions.” Internet access will be needed to start the exam, but if at whatever point after the start the internet goes out, the test will still continue. Also, to fight back against online users having an easier time than those in person, experts are taking account of discrepancies that ensure each test is “statistically required for difficulty levels.” With this step, every student will have an equal opportunity on the AP exam.


   All these measures being taken for the AP exam will be seen in full force in the upcoming months. More changes may come as test dates come closer, but for now, remember to study and prepare!