As Advanced Placement dates are rapidly approaching, students are cramming to finish their instruction at home in order to be prepared. This year, College Board has made many significant changes to how the tests are administered. Many students are relieved that the changes have been made, while others fear that colleges will not think the test reflects the college-level course.
AP tests have been modified to a much shorter period to take into consideration the at-home work environment. This length of time is between 45 and 80 minutes, depending on the class, to answer primarily short, free response questions. Many students see this shortened test as an opportunity to improve their score and gives them confidence to do better.
College Board has also minimized the amount of required material that would have been on the original test. The test has been altered to only require the material that most classes across the nation have already covered before schools closed. This ensures that all students had a fair chance at scoring well. However, the at-home environment in which the test will be distracting for some students. Though, the material and rubrics have been manipulated to help students score well, multiple distractions posed by parents, pets, siblings and technology may be difficult to overcome.
The at-home environment in which the test will be taken has also raised a concern about cheating. In today’s digital age, internet and social access makes it easy for students to find, share and take answers to help themselves succeed. However, College Board has implemented many strict protocols to prevent cheating and plagiarism. Most of the new practices will remain confidential to maximize their effectiveness and ensure students do not try to find loopholes.
While most AP students will make the right choice and perform with academic honesty, some students will attempt to give themselves an unfair advantage. Those who commit academic dishonesty while taking the test will be blocked from testing or have their AP scores canceled. Colleges to which the student has sent previous scores and high schools will be notified. Students who cheat or plagiarize content may be prohibited from any future tests, as well as SATs or CLEP assessments.
In some ways, this new way of testing may not reflect the amount of work and learning students have done throughout the school year. While some feel more nervous about the test, others have gained confidence and hope that their skills will help them score well.
“It won’t accurately measure it at all. It feels like I’ve put in all this work for nothing,” said sophomore LaNaiah Frieson. “Still, in a way, my confidence has increased. My AP teacher has always told me about how great I’ve done on the writing pieces—now it’s just up to me to get College Board to think the same thing.”
College Board has offered many resources to help students excel on the AP test, such as daily review sessions live on YouTube, the opportunity to have notes and textbooks readily available, a test demo to show students how the test will work and a thirty–minute window before the test starts to get students logged in on time.
The YouTube review sessions can be found at https://www.youtube.com/user/advancedplacement
The test demo can be found at https://ap2020examdemo.collegeboard.org/
Though the test has been greatly altered, students still have the opportunity to receive any grade on the 1 to 5 scale. Testing will run May 11th through 22nd, with make-up testing in June for anybody unable to perform on their testing day or have major problems with their technology. As of right now, scores will be released on, or around July 15, 2020. Hundreds of colleges and institutions support this new way of testing and have committed to accepting test scores, as they would during normal circumstances.