Should the College Board have modified this year’s AP exams?


Yash Bachu

The photo above is the college board AP Student website where AP exams can be monitored.

Yash Bachu, Staff Writer

This school year has come with a variety of changes and challenges, some of the biggest ones coming from the College Board. In response to schools supporting distanced learning and all the challenges to come with it, the College Board has chosen to acknowledge it as well, adding changes to the AP exam to make it take-able at home and open note. Trevor Packer, senior vice-president of the College Board states that these changes are to provide “unprecedented flexibility.”

This year, students will be allowed to take their AP exams at school, with paper and pencil or at home digitally. However, those practicing distanced learning can also take the test digitally. The test will be three hours long unlike last year when it was forty-five minutes long. It will offer a full range of questions to keep it extensive enough for students to be effectively evaluated and for colleges to trust the testing for college credit. But the exams are too much content for students considering the less effective learning formats that have been in place.

“In my opinion, the content load is back to ‘normal’, it’s reasonably substantial and the tests definitely take a certain degree of effort, unlike last year’s make-shift tests,” said Arnav Saxena (‘21).

Considering the new limits to instruction that many teachers and students have faced, it is fair to say that most students may not have been able to cover the full range of topics tested by the College Board with little to no topics cut out in many courses, despite the numerous technical issues and a significant decrease in teaching instruction for AP courses.

“I feel that the content load on the AP exam is pretty excessive this year considering the significantly reduced instructional time because of the new schedule adopted this year,” said Arvind Swamynathan (‘21).

In addition to the substantial changes to the content and preparation in class for AP exams, some AP tests are getting delayed to happen weeks after school ends, cutting more stressful academics into tired student’s summers. 

“The AP test dates should have been scheduled in a better manner such that all of the AP exams would be completed before graduation,” said Swamynathan.

However unfair this may seem to AP students, it gives them a small but significant window to study and make up time lost during the distanced learning period.  

“I think the content load is the same as last year but because it has been online they extended the AP tests. Overall, I think we needed more time — I noticed that my AP teachers had to rush through the last unit before the AP exams started,” said Arjun Bemarkar (‘21).