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College Board makes adjustments to AP exams due to COVID-19


The College Board released the answers to their AP students’ questions about the exams for 2020. They announced that the exams will be much shorter, and they will only cover the materials that the students have already learned. 

In order to make this decision, the College Board surveyed 18,000 students to see if they were still interested in the opportunity to test this year. 91 percent of students said that they still desired to take their exams. The students have been working hard in these classes that are known for their rigorous content all year long, so losing the opportunity to earn college credit is not something that they desire. 

“It’s kind of crazy how we’ve heard so much about the previous tests, and now the structure is completely different,” said AP Biology student Allie McCall. “I don’t really mind the changes, I’m just glad we still have the opportunity to take the test.” 

Once it was determined that testing was still going to happen, the College Board began to adjust the exams based on this year’s circumstances. Since students have lost months of class time due to the coronavirus pandemic, the College Board decided that the exams would only include topics and skills that have been covered in class by early March. 

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, students will be taking the 2020 AP exams at home and online which means the tests will be open book. Photo by Emily Brandyberry

The coronavirus pandemic has also made it impossible for the students to test in their high schools as planned. They now are going to be testing at home between the dates of May 11 and May 22. At home testing led the College Board to make the 2020 exams both open book and open note. 

Even though materials and information will be readily available, the 2020 AP exams are not going to be easier than in past years. The exams have been shortened to allow 45 minutes for writing the response and 5 minutes for downloading the response.  Most subjects will have one or two free-response questions that will be timed separately (the total time for both questions will be 45 minutes). Students must write and submit their responses in the time allotted in order to receive credit for a certain question. 

“Instead of our score being based off so many questions about different topics, our score is based off of only two questions which is very nerve wracking,” said AP Biology student Sara Calderon. 

The College Board has released the testing dates and times for each subject. The test for each individual subject will be taken at the same time worldwide to prevent cheating. 

Different from previous years, the exams will be taken on devices this year. The exams are usually taken on paper. For the 2020 exams, students will be allowed to test on smartphones, tablets and computers. They will have the choice to either type and upload their answers or write answers by hand and submit a photo through their phone.

As the end of April draws near, the College Board has released YouTube live streams to review for each subject’s exam. In addition to the live streams, it has added optional student practice questions in the AP classrooms. These questions are specific to the units that the exams will be covering, and they are identical to how the structure of the exam will appear on the test day. 

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College Board makes adjustments to AP exams due to COVID-19