AP exams persist through pandemic, not in students’ best interest

Marina Engler '21, Staff Writer

As the coronavirus sweeps across the world, the manner in which the AP tests are now being given is no longer what I expected going into this school year.(Graphic by Marina Engler ’21)

Entering my junior year, I already had the month of May marked on my calendar. Starting in September, I began to learn content that would eventually be crammed into an hour long AP test. However, as the coronavirus swept across the world, the manner in which the AP tests are now being given is no longer what I expected going into this school year.  

As schools across the country closed, the College Board was subsequently forced to create a different way for the thousands of registered students to take the test. The end result: a 45 minute online test available from the comfort of our homes. I definitely have to applaud the College Board for coming up with a quick and effective solution given the circumstances with which they were presented. However, I believe that the hard work I put into my classes will not be reflected in the tests they are now administering. 

One of the AP tests I am taking this year is AP English Language and Composition. For months on end, I practiced three different types of essays, two of which will not appear on the online version of the test. We are now required to only write one essay.

I know many people would not complain about having to only write one essay as opposed to two, but I think the alteration is unfair. For those who find the given essay harder, this is their only chance to prove their skills and may allow students that are more comfortable with the essay format to receive drastically higher scores. 

Across the board, all tests no longer have a multiple choice section. This leaves a lot more content having to be crammed into two free response questions. I have heard complaints from many about how it seemed as if the tests were only focusing on a few units rather than the entire course, which makes the tireless work put into the class all year seem a bit futile.

I have heard complaints from many about how it seemed as if the tests were only focusing on a few units rather than the entire course, which makes the tireless work put into the class all year seem a bit futile.”

I definitely did not sign up for the tests knowing they were going to be online. As the first week of AP testing has concluded already, the online test platform has already presented a handful of problems. Many students have trouble submitting their work, which prevents them from submitting on time as a consequence. The hard work students  put into the tests they paid for isnt  going to count, and they will have to take it again on the make-up day. 

Although it may seem unfair right now, I think it is just as important to look at the bigger picture and realize that there are bigger problems going on. Things more important than a score card. We have all had to adapt in many ways during the coronavirus, and with it comes some sacrifices. With all that said, I think the College Board could have worked a bit harder or recrafted these tests in a much better manner that worked in the best interests of all students, not just for their own profit.