The outbreak of the coronavirus in the United States has created new and unexpected educational challenges. Not only have most schools transitioned to online teaching, but also Collegeboard has made changes to its AP exam policies. Since health and safety is everyone’s priority right now, Collegeboard is offering an alternative for the usual AP tests. Before, AP exams usually lasted two to three hours and had a Multiple Choice section and a Free Response section. Additionally, the exams took place at one’s school in a classroom setting. Although the full exam schedule, specific free-response question types, and specific testing information is not yet available, there are already guidelines set for the new AP exams. Firstly, there will be two different testing dates for each exam to ensure that every student has the opportunity to take the exam. There will be secure 45 minute online free response questions for each course and the content will focus on what most schools were able to complete by March. The exams can be taken at any device that one has access to, including being able to write the responses by hand and submitting a photo of them. The 2020 AP exams are going to be an online, shorter version of the past exams. Additionally, to ensure fairness, Collegeboard plans to use a variety of digital security tools, like plagiarism detection software. Collegeboard is also providing free, live, and on-demand AP courses and review sessions to help schools and AP teachers out.
Although changes are hard to adjust to, most AP students surveyed are still willing to take the AP exams and those that decide to drop the tests will receive a full refund. Senior Katie Harrington shared her opinion on this change in AP exams: “I think for the current situation it’s a good way to handle it and it makes the test easier for sure. But some classes I tend to do better on the multiple choice and now we’re not even doing it. Plus, people will get 5’s this year on the same test that people struggled to get 4’s on last year, just because it’s shorter. So, in general, it has its ups and downs”. Although not all students are pleased with the update on AP exams, Collegeboard has effectively found a way to still make AP tests available for those who are willing to take it.