College Board announces AP updates

Due to COVID-19, AP exams can no longer be held in school and are shifting online, resulting in several key format changes. The College Board has been working alongside students to develop resources vital for the new exams.

According to the College Board’s Coronavirus update announcement, the majority of tests will be 45 minutes, with a 5 minute period to turn in the test. Exams can be taken on any device and must be activated with a student email. The new testing system requires students to log on 30 minutes before the test to familiarize themselves with the technology. There are some exceptions to the new 45 minute rule: Art and Design: 2D; Art and Design: 3D; Computer Science Principles; Drawing; Research; and Seminar, which will require portfolios instead of a test.

Among all these changes, there are some consistencies with the grading scale. Each test will be graded on the same 5 point scale as before, five being the highest grade and one being the lowest.

“We’re confident that the vast majority of higher ed institutions will award college credit as they have in the past. We’ve spoken with hundreds of institutions across the country that support our solution for this year’s AP Exams,” stated an email sent out by the Advanced Placement Program from the College Board to students regarding AP testing.

The dates of the tests have also been modified to accommodate the changes within the College Board and school districts. The College Board announced that all the initial testing days are between May 11 and May 22. There are five makeup days between June 1 and June 5 where students who missed the first date can take their test.

The content of the exam reflects the disrupted curriculum due to COVID-19 by reducing tested material.

“The exams will only include topics and skills most AP teachers and students have already covered in class by early March. We know that some students have lost more class time than others, and we want to be fair to all students,” the email further stated.

The College Board has issued several online resources to help students prepare for the AP exam, which can be found on their website. As well as online resources, the College Board stated that the AP exams will be “much like college level exams, open book and open note.” More in depth information about the open not format can be found here.
Teachers also have to adjust to the new changes. Many have updated their curriculum to help students prepare for the new test.

“Well, the big change has been not seeing each other every day,” said AP Human Geography and United States History teacher Nathan Newhalfen. “Now everything is online so it has made daily interaction much more difficult. Zoom is great, but it can only do so much.”

If students are not able to take the exam, or do not have interest in doing so anymore, the administration sent out an email to families who have paid for the AP test addressing common questions.

“Yes, students have the option of not taking AP Exams this year and receiving a full refund,” Dr. Ninja Idrizi stated in the email. “If you do NOT use the links sent to you in May or June, your exams will automatically be canceled. District 220 will then process a full refund, and the credit will go back in the original form of payment in June.”