Following the theme of the 2020-2021 school year, AP testing is seeing some major changes compared to previous years. Students now have the option to choose if they want to take the exam at school on paper and pencil or at home on a computer.
There are three options for students to choose from. The first option is a traditional paper and pencil test at school. These tests will be taking place from May 3 to May 17. The second option takes place half from home and half at school from May 18 to May 28. Finally, the third option takes place mostly from home from June 1 to June 11.
“I think the biggest difference is that in person students can flip back and forth between essays, and similarly with the multiple choice, but on the online version of the exam, from what I understand, none of that is possible,” AP English teacher Tracey Contino said.
This same sentiment was shared by senior Atharva Iyer.
“I’m taking the test in-person so that I can review my answers,¨ Iyer said.
Most students are opting for the first option taking place in the beginning of May. Some feel like taking the exam as soon as possible will set them up for success.
“I’m taking the test in-person because I think it will be easier to take it with less separation between instruction and testing,” senior Josie Diaz said.
Taking the test in-person is also seen as beneficial by staff.
“I think that in person is the better choice because that essay was originally designed to be taken and the opportunity students have to better gauge their time,” Contino said.
The online portion of this school year has seemed to have a negative impact on some students, which could be a worry as it could damage their scores.
The AP class experience has become a lot more independent, now that we are at home,¨ Diaz said. “I think it is a lot harder to retain the information without the separation of home and school.”
Other students, however, feel that the online work has benefited them.
“I feel like I have had more time to do my work,” Iyer said.
The teachers of this school have tried to compensate for the difficulties of online learning, but that hasn’t made up for the distress many students feel.
“I think the teachers are doing their best,” Diaz said. “However, some give too much independent work.”
When asked what students can do to help understand material or just get general help, Nicholas Guido, an AP history teacher, emphasized communication.
“Usually talking to your teacher is the most important thing. I would always start with your teacher if there are things you don’t understand,” Guido said.
While there are many other key things students could be doing to prepare for their exams, it is always good to look at what the College Board requires.
“Looking at what the College Board provides in terms of framework, going back and making sure you’re familiar with the key concepts, and being familiar with the examples that they have in there ” Guido said.
It is also beneficial to use past AP prompts, which can be found on the College Board website, as they provide a clear example of what the college board expects of students. Many teachers use prompts as practice and students should ask where they can find more practice prompts.
“I’d ask your teacher what type of prompts they have been using,” Guido said.
Most importantly, the best thing students can be doing in order to get comfortable with their AP test is reviewing. Reviewing should be used as a tool to help with test taking over a long period of time, not something that is done in a single night.
“Don’t wait until May to start reviewing, the first thing is to start off with small pieces at a time. If you cram, you’ll do the test and none of the information will stay,” Guido said.
Best of luck to all Panthers on their upcoming exams. For more information, contact Tania Sharp at firstname.lastname@example.org.