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2021 AP tests to alter format amidst difficult year

As May rolls around, students prepare for the changes that have been made

JJ Benefiel, Staff Reporter
Originally published June 11, 2021

“Four Steps to Take Digital Exams” (collegeboard.org)

“Four Steps to Take Digital Exams” (collegeboard.org)

With the school year coming to a close, many students are getting ready for the Advanced Placement (AP) tests they have spent the entire academic year preparing for. 

Last year, the tests looked different than they had in the past. With the unprecedented changes, there had to be several adjustments to accommodate them.

Some students signed up for AP tests early on in the year without knowing what to expect. When the new format was released for digital testing, some students reached out to cancel their tests.

The content and style of this year’s AP exams are supposed to match what it once was before COVID-19, meaning they are longer and multiple-choice questions have returned.

Students taking the test digitally are not allowed to go back to answered questions and they also cannot move back-and-forth between unanswered questions.

Also, the College Board has made adjustments so that the questions they provide consist of content that cannot be searched on the internet, in a textbook, in notes, or in study guides.

It is also required for students to download an AP testing application for their digital tests this year.

Since the exams from last year, the College Board made some changes to make the test more accessible. For example, the test last year required the internet, but with this test, even if there is a disruption in connection, students can continue working.

In an email with Michael Broom, the Building Testing Coordinator, he said that several students reached out to cancel their tests this year because they were able to receive full refunds.

Senior Ruby Eaton chose not to take any AP exams.

“I decided not to take any because I didn’t feel like online school would adequately prepare me for the tests,” Eaton said. “And my mental health has not been great because of online school so I didn’t feel capable myself either.” 

“I stand by my decision for cancelling,” Eaton said. “I don’t think I would have done well on the tests with both the way my teachers tried to prepare me as well as my personal study habits this year.”

However, despite the test’s new changes, other students decided to go forward with taking the test.

Students like senior Colin Moore have opted to take the AP exams. “I decided to take the AP tests because that’s what I’ve done for all AP classes I’ve taken in the past,” Moore said.

Moore explained that this year he feels less prepared for the upcoming exams.

“I feel like I haven’t been fully prepared yet because I still have half a month before I take them. I also don’t think I will be nearly as ready for the tests as I would’ve been if COVID-19 hadn’t happened.”

One common theme between students who have decided to take the AP exams and those who have decided not to is that because of online school, a lack of motivation has made it hard to keep up in these college-level classes.

In order to prepare for AP exams, Broom recommends to “check your email for AP testing update from College Board, listen for AP testing news from your AP teachers, follow instructions for downloading the AP testing app and start practicing now.”

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2021 AP tests to alter format amidst difficult year