• Xochitl Noriego

Countdown to AP exams



Students meticulously looking over flash cards, racing over study guides and reciting presentation materials hoping to get that coveted but often elusive five.


It is that time of year again panthers, AP exams.


Junior Nathalie Medrano plans on watching "many Tom Richey YouTube videos and using a few Fiveable resources" to prepare for her four exams in AP US History, AP Language, AP Research and AP Spanish.


No other time, besides maybe finals, brings as much fear and stress than the CollegeBoard's official tests. This year the exams have another layer of complications due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.


In a normal year AP exams would be given across the country in the first two weeks of May, Typically they take three or more hours to complete and only have one other examination date for those who could not take the test on the primary date. In 2020 this dramatically changed with exams consisting of usually only one FRQ/DBQ all conducted online in a 45 minute window. This format received heavy criticism especially from students who felt the short test would not show the breadth of their knowledge. The larger issue came in the form of many students being unable to submit their essays due to internet issues or simply an overload of the CollegeBoard system.


SJM students faced difficulties with the 2020 exams as Medrano had her own scare when her "AP Euro exam would not submit with 20 seconds on the clock."


This year the exams will look a little different than 2020 and different than they looked in 2019. There will be three administration dates. The first will be May 3-7, 10-12, 14, 17 and will all be in-school tests with paper and pencil. The second batch of exams will be May 18-21, 24-28 and will include both at-home and in-school students with half of tests expected to be paper and pencil and the other half expected to be digital. The final group of exams will be June 1-4, 7-11 and will again be offered for both at-home and in-school exams with the majority of tests expected to be digital.


Most seniors will be completing their AP exams in-person due to the online tests occurring during senior finals and after graduation. Other AP students have more leeway in deciding when and how they would like to take their tests.


However this year's online AP exams look different than they did last year. They will be full length exams with notes no longer being allowed. Additionally, those taking the online exams will not be able to double check their multiple choice questions. Instead, once they answer they will move on to the next question and will be unable to click back.


The exams will also cover the full course content unlike the 2020 exams, where questions spanned from the beginning of the course to where students where expected to be in early March.


There are a few aspects of the 2020 exams that did stick around such as waived cancellation fees and later testing dates. Only time will tell if the other issues that plagued the 2020 exams will come back this year.


AP Exams begin May 3 with AP Government and Politics at 8 AM.


Good luck Panthers!


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