Josie Laur, Copy Editor
Originally published June 11, 2021

Cartoon by Sam Rainville

Cartoon by Sam Rainville

Dear College Board,

What a year it’s been, huh? Longer than that at this point, actually, but the days all start to blur together.

In fact, the days have blurred themselves right into May, which means that next month is June—and, with June, comes the AP tests.


As you may have once been students yourself, you may be aware that the big standardized tests come with an innate level of stress. There’s cramming to be done, old study guides to find and friends to freak out with. You study, you don’t retain anything, the test happens and whomp bang done, have a happy summer.

It’s a pretty simple rinse-and-repeat formula that students have endured for generations. This (my) generation of students, however, has encountered an unexpected wrench in the plans: the global pandemic.

Now, when the quarantine lockdown began last March, the decision was made to change the AP tests from full-length tests to shorter and simpler versions, to accommodate for the four months of school we’d miss and the economic/mental/physical damages that came along with a global pandemic. Because we wouldn’t have completed a full year’s worth of instruction, the logic was that we couldn’t take a test that relied on knowing a full year’s worth of knowledge. I approved.

I ask you, College Board, what happened to that idea?

As I said, it’s been a year, and we are now weeks away from the start of the 2021 AP tests. This year, not only are they full-length, but they’re also in a “lockdown browser” that prevents us from leaving the test page, and we can’t go back to previous pages to check our work or fill in an answer that we bypassed the first time—something that we have been encouraged to do by the school system since our kinder years.

If you changed the tests to be easier than usual because we missed four months last year, why would you make them harder than usual when we have missed a full year?

Are we technically back in school? Yes, and in online school for a while before that, but I guarantee that I have not learned a year’s worth of curriculum in any of my six classes. I’m going to be generous and say that I’ve learned a semester’s worth of each—at most.

This push that we have been seeing from the school system to get things “back to normal” since the early days of the pandemic is understandable, but also extremely frustrating in practice. Things aren’t normal, and I promise that standardized tests are not the first things that people want to come back.

Anyway, can I come complain to you when I fail because I accidentally clicked the “next” arrow too soon and now an entire page of questions remains unanswered? Let me know!

All the best,