Students prepare for College Board’s new AP testing system amid schools closing for COVID-19

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Amanda Hare

The College Board recently changed the AP testing system for this year due to schools closing for the coronavirus. The new test will be only 45-minutes long and will be short answer only. “I think the new system is great, and hopefully, the tests will be easier,” junior AP student Laura Barnes said. “It will be harder for people who are not great at essays, though.” 

Amanda Hare, Reporter

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As schools transition to e-learning and students continue to be in quarantine due to COVID-19, the College Board has announced that the yearly AP tests in May will be changed into a 45-minute free-response-only online format from home.

The full exam schedule, specific free-response question types and additional testing information will be available Friday, April 3. Students and teachers now are coming up with different ways to prepare for this new testing system.

“I am very excited about the brevity of the test,” teacher Noelle Witte said. “I think this makes it more feasible for students to have success despite the situation with the coronavirus. I think it will be more challenging to be really clear in student responses and show specific content and skills mastered, but I love the flexibility the students get by being able to write instead of answering multiple-choice questions.”

Witte teaches AP Human Geography and GT Humanities, which will take the AP World History test.

“I am going to focus more on writing skills and use that to drive the review of content,” Witte said. “That’s not any different than what I was planning to do with my GT Humanities students, but is a little different than my original plan for AP Human Geography. I will be sure to give lots of feedback and opportunities for them to correct their mistakes.”

Witte suggests that students check in with the College Board website and use the review sources that they post.

“I’m glad College Board found a convenient way to provide AP exams in the midst of the coronavirus and all the quarantining,” sophomore Tiana Albino said. “It’s good that students can now take an abbreviated version of our AP exams in the comfort of our homes. I’ll be taking the AP World exam this May, so I simply plan on reviewing certain chapters off of The Princeton Review or Barron’s books. Fortunately, I have my teachers, Ms. (Lauren) Hodum and Mrs. Witte, to guide my classmates and I through this AP preparation process, as well.”

Albino currently is in the GT Humanities class, but last year she took the AP test for AP Human Geography.

“Some students may want to take the exam sooner rather than later, while the content is still fresh,” the College Board website said. “Other students may want more time to practice. For each AP subject, there will be two different testing dates.”

These dates will release no later than Friday, April 3, to allow students to prepare for the test. Students and teachers can check this website to find the information when it is released.

“You’ll be able to take your exams on any device you have access to — computer, tablet, or smartphone,” the College Board said. “You’ll also have the option to write your responses by hand and submit a photo.”

The exam will only be asking students about the information they learned by early March, the specific units for each class can be found here.

“We know that not all students have access to the internet or a device,” the College Board said. “We’re working on solutions to help students get what they need to show their best work. If you need mobile tools or connectivity or know someone who does, you can reach us directly to let us know.” 

Students who do not have internet or a device can fill out this form to receive help from the College Board.

“The exams will be secure,” the College Board said. “We’re using a variety of digital security tools, including plagiarism detection software.”

Starting March 25, students could attend live, free AP review courses taught by teachers around the country. They can be watched either live or on-demand at the AP Youtube account.

“I think the new system is great and hopefully the tests will be easier,” junior AP student Laura Barnes said. “It will be harder for people who are not great at essays, though.”