What to Expect on the 2020 AP Exams


Brooklyn Blevins, Staff Writer

As the typical school year begins to wind down, many juniors and seniors have one last hurdle to overcome before they are able to prepare for summer vacation: Advanced Placement, or AP exams. However, like many other aspects of upperclassmen’s lives, the coronavirus has negatively impacted these exams. The College Board has made the executive decision to continue to administer the AP exams, however, the tests themselves are being drastically altered.

With in-class learning no longer an option for students, in-person proctoring of the AP exam is also out of the question. As a result, students have been given two testing date options, one in May and one in June, and will be required to take the test using a device able to connect to the internet. However, not only is the administration of the tests changing, but also the test format itself. 

The majority of the standard AP exams are broken up into two main sections, multiple-choice, and free-response questions. This year, the exams consist of either one or two questions, both free responses. Furthermore, instead of the test normally spanning approximately three hours, it has now been cut down to about 45 minutes. 

With the layout of the tests completely different from what students were originally preparing for, many are frustrated, and wondering how this will affect their performance on the test. Students have spent nearly the entire year learning content and material to do well on these exams, only for the structure of the tests to change at the last second. 

Lake Shore senior, Olivia Hagan, explains her concerns with the changes to the AP exams, saying, “I appreciate what the College Board is doing for students by still allowing us to take our AP exams to hopefully earn college credit, however, I am skeptical of how the shortened test format will be able to cover all of the content I learned this year.” 

As a result of the current coronavirus pandemic, the College Board has offered to refund individuals who no longer want to take their AP exams, however, for students who are still seeking to earn college credit, the new, and not quite improved, AP exam will have to do. Resources to aid students in studying are being released daily, nonetheless, with the first testing date for many exams less than a month away, it seems a bit late for the College Board to be switching gears. 

Overall, it will be interesting to see how the updated test affects students’ results. With many feeling unsure about their exams as a whole, it will all come down to the one or two questions that are given on test day.