Full AP Exams Are Back


On February 18, 2021, the Collegeboard Advanced Placement Twitter account (@APforStudents), tweeted, “Since the pandemic began, AP teachers and students have told us how much they care about continuing AP coursework and taking AP Exams. Options for 2021 exams are meant to prioritize health and safety while preserving college credit opportunities.” Within that tweet was a link that took users to their website where they explained all the changes that happened to the AP exams for the year 2021. 

Last year, the AP exams usually consisted of an FRQ (Free Response Question) and did not have the multiple-choice part of the exams. However, for this school year, the CollegeBoard has decided to include the multiple-choice part of the exam, as well as the FRQs, which brings us back to the original formatting of the AP exams. 

These are not the only changes that are being made: CollegeBoard has incorporated three testing windows that students can sign up for. The first testing window, Administration 1, is from May 3-17 and are tests that are being taken at school. Administration 2 is from May 18-28 and half of them are to be taken at home while the other half is taken at school. The last testing window, Administration 3, is taken at school and at home and is from June 1-11. This allows for some flexibility within the AP testing schedule and for those that may not be able to take the exams at school. 

Unfortunately, North Hollywood students are unable to take any AP language exams. Due to the pandemic and school closures, LAUSD is unable to offer AP language exams despite having students that are currently taking the classes. Especially at North Hollywood, a good amount of students are currently enrolled in AP Spanish Language and AP Spanish Literature, yet they are unable to take the exams that may offer them college credit. 

In the midst of all this new information, students are not happy with the changes. One student claims that “the change only causes students more stress and prevents them from getting potential college credit – it’s basically just there to make CollegeBoard look good, and students are left in the lurch.” 

Due to the way classes are set up during distance learning, teachers have less time to go over more material during class. In addition to having limited time to teach the materials, teachers must accommodate to the district’s learning plans and alter their curriculums to fit the new ones that CollegeBoard puts out. 

Another student is displeased with the changes, stating that they find it to be, “inconsiderate because students have had little to no time to prepare, at least in comparison to previous years, and they are expected to do it despite the fact their home conditions may not allow for it. On top of that, teachers put in so much work in little time (IE: in those 3 days of the week, assigning extra work to compensate so it’s overwhelming work all at once) and students don’t take in information.” 

Since the CollegeBoard is using the full exam format, students are expected to learn all of the curricula and take the multiple-choice part of the exam as well as the free-response questions. But some students feel ill-prepared. 

Due to California being a hotspot for Covid-19 cases, restrictions have been placed and students have been taking classes from home; the nature of their household may not be the best environment for students to learn and prepare themselves for the exams. Teachers feel pressured to teach their students an absurd amount of information in a short period of time. 

But not all feel the same way. One student says, “You gotta keep in mind that the rest of the country doesn’t operate the same that we do. We have half the time, but others don’t. We can sit and moan, but that doesn’t solve anything. We must do our best, or just don’t take it.” This is a valid opinion as well; it really boils down to how the student may approach the AP exams and the idea of online learning. It is not easy for everyone, but the reality is harsh and not everyone reacts the same way to such changes.