College Board Alters AP Test Format


Credit: Wikipedia

With students facing the shift to remote learning, the College Board has changed the format of AP (Advanced Placement) tests to accommodate the challenging, uncertain time.

The AP test takes place in May and it’s typically two to four hours long. However, due to remote learning, students have lost class time and preparation for the exam. The College Board understood the unprecedented challenges students have to face and has changed the exams drastically.

Students around the world  collectively breathed a sigh of relief, when, on March 23, the College Board announced the exams for this upcoming May will be open book, taken at home, and will only be 45 minutes long. Students will have five minutes to upload their exam after the 45 minutes have passed.

Praghya Athavan Raja, a sophomore from Saudi Arabia, will take her first AP test this May. She currently takes AP World History and the typical exam consists of 55 multiple choice questions, three shorts answers, one document based question (DBQ), and one essay. The exam this year will only be one DBQ.

Praghya thinks that the different format for the test is appropriate. “People are in different countries and circumstances and I think changing the test makes it a little bit fairer for everyone,” she said.

Her only worry for the exam is the time difference. She told the Willistonian, “I know that for me this test will have to be taken around I think like seven at night, which is a lot later than usual.”

Sonia Whitman, a junior from Greenwich, Connecticut, will be taking the AP Language and Composition and AP US Government exams.

She does not feel too worried about the exams. “I feel fine because they took out the chapters we would’ve been reviewing for during this trimester, so most of it is things we have already learned,” she said.

Sonia has been preparing for the exam by watching YouTube review videos posted by the College Board, and she mentioned that it is a lot of independent study.

“The teachers are still having us review, but it’s different because it’s over Zoom,” she said. “A lot of the reviewing or memorizing vocabulary we will have to do on our own, but that’s completely understandable considering the circumstances.”

Her biggest worry for the exam is if other students will cheat or not. She told The Willistonian, “I think managing the security of the test is going to be really difficult for the college board to do. The AP tests are usually curved, so people cheating would impact the students who didn’t.”

She continued, “This year they’ve switched it, so they can give an unlimited number of the highest score, which makes me a little less nervous.”

Jihee Liu, a junior from Tokyo, Japan, will be taking the AP exam for Calculus BC and US Government. He thinks that it is fair for the College Board to change the format because of the loss of time in class, many students are at different levels of understanding of the material.

“It is unfair for those students who haven’t covered some of the topics and others do,” he said. “It creates the division between those type of students.”

Like many international students, Jihee will have to cope with the different time zones. He told The Willistonian, “I will be taking two AP tests in one day and it occurs at midnight here. I am worried that [I won’t be able to] put all my efforts into it and produce the best score for me.”