College Board Announces AP Testing Changes

On Friday, the College Board announced that traditional, in-person AP testing is cancelled for this year due to concerns surrounding coronavirus. Instead of the traditional two or three hour test, AP tests will be offered to students in a 45-minute, at-home format. 

A+screenshot+of+the+college+board+website+informing+high+school+students+of+changes+within+AP+testing+this+year+related+to+COVID-19.

Katelyn Newton

A screenshot of the college board website informing high school students of changes within AP testing this year related to COVID-19.

Emma Hutchinson, Mirada Staff

The College Board has offered a refund to students who are no longer interested in taking the test but after surveying 18,000 students around the country, they discovered that 91 percent of students still wanted to take the tests, despite school closures and other interferences in the normal school year.

“It’s not ideal especially since I think it will prevent some people from taking the exam,” said senior Mckenna Schinderle. “However, I am glad the College Board is understanding of the horrible situation we as students are in.”

Exams will only cover material that students should have learned through early March, as to account for school closures that prevent students from learning new material from their teachers which would usually be tested.

Some students say that only time will tell whether this new format will be successful or not.

“I’m anxious to see how the tests turn out, said senior Tatum White. “I feel like students are either going to excel or struggle depending on the class you took. Hopefully, all students do well but I can see how a 45 minutes exam will be stressful to demonstrate knowledge on the topic.”

The streamlined version of the tests will be available for students to take on any device that can access the internet, including a phone, tablet, or computer. The College Board has also said that students will have the option of submitting pictures of handwritten work for credit. 

The College Board plans to work with various partners in order to ensure that all students have access to technology they need to prepare for and take the test. 

For each subject that still has a test, there will be two dates offered for students: one before the original test date, and one later. An earlier test date would be ideal for students who feel ready for the test and don’t want to forget the information, while a later test date would be ideal for students who want to study more and review before testing their knowledge. 

The length of the exams are much shorter than that of the traditional exams. This allows the college board to use existing testing materials and consider that some students have missed critical class time, but is also concerning to some students about how representative such a short test could be.

“I have mixed feelings about it, said junior Annika Bjork. “On one hand it won’t be as time consuming. However if it’s a question that you don’t know how to do, your test grade might not reflect how well you actually know the material since the sample size of questions was so much smaller.”

In an effort to level the playing field for students who have been out of school for various amounts of time, the College Board is offering free, online preparation taught by AP teachers nationwide for students to tune into and refresh on certain topics if they feel like it’s necessary. These review sessions will begin on March 25. 

Amidst concerns about students being dishonest while taking tests from home, the College Board says that they are putting together precautions to prevent and detect cheating, such as plagiarism checkers.

More information regarding specific testing dates, types of questions, and other details regarding the new testing setup are set to be available from the College Board by April 3. More information can be found on the College Board website regarding online preparation and subject-specific information.