AP testing changes because of coronavirus

Posted: May 27, 2020

Social distancing orders affected this year’s AP exams, switched to at-home testing

The College Board altered May 2020 AP exams to conform with COVID-19 stay at home orders.

The College Board announced on March 20 that all AP exams would be taken at home, online. Students took the tests on a computer, tablet, smartphone or by hand,  wrote their response and submitted a photo. 

Exams took place May 11 through May 22. AP Art submission deadlines were extended to May 26. Make up exams are scheduled for June 1 through June 5. 

Students worldwide were required to complete their tests at the same time, regardless of timezone differences. Since the majority of test takers live in the U.S, exam times were chosen so those students could test during daylight hours. 

As a result, students in countries such as India, Thailand, Guam and Japan had to test as late as 4 a.m. the next day. 

We hope that for most students, having the chance to test outweighs the unusual timing,” said College Board admissions leaders. “We do encourage students and families to prioritize their health over taking AP Exams, and we support any student’s decision not to test.”

The College Board modified all exams. Most exams had one or two free-response questions on material most students would have already covered by early March. All exams were open books and open notes with 45 minutes to complete and five minutes to submit responses.  

Teachers affiliated with the College Board filmed youtube videos for students to review important curriculum. Students were also provided with a practice exam beforehand, which allowed students to get a feel for how online testing would work. 

When exam week arrived, students had differing experiences. 

“The actual testing went very smoothly for me,” said sophomore Peter Mollison. “…With online tests, it is inevitable that there will be some technological issues, but I think that [College Board] did a pretty good job as far as the online format goes.”

Others had some obstacles, such as slow connection with the website or testing in a home environment. 

“I did not like the test being online at all,” said senior Jordan Brown. “Though [testing is] more stressful in person, I really struggled finding a quiet place in my house, managing my time, and more or less getting into a test mindset. I think it’s easier to regulate the environment when testing is done the traditional way.”

This was an unexpected change that greatly affected students and teachers. It is a waiting game at this point. Exam results are expected to be released in mid-July.


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