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The Arcade

The Student News Site of North Hollywood High School

The Arcade

The Student News Site of North Hollywood High School

The Arcade

A Digitizing Era: Standardized Testing

A+Digitizing+Era%3A+Standardized+Testing

Following the Covid-19 pandemic, several aspects of our society and community were changed or have become updated. These aspects in our day-to-day lives can include, no-contact delivery services, online shopping, and increased health standards. However, another factor that more immediately impacts students is the transition of taking exams online, particularly, AP, and SAT exams. 

In 2024, seven different AP exams are going digital. This includes classes such as AP U.S. History, AP World History, AP European History, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP Seminar, and AP Computer Science Principles. 

Although the test format and timing of all exams remain the same, one key noticeable difference with these exams is that any sort of writing question will now be typed in the digital version of these exams. Particularly, exams where handwritten–Short-Answer-Questions (SAQs), Long- Essay-Questions (LEQs), Document-Based-Questions (DBQs), or even an essay–component was required, will now be switched to a typed document. 

Many students express that this change provides a great relief to the exam takers and is an overall beneficial change to the testing environment.

Junior Phoebe Xu notes that the digital format, “not only conserves my energy on essay writing, but allows me to elaborate on my answers as well.”

Furthermore, exam graders no longer have to decipher messy handwriting, and students no longer need to worry about getting all of their words onto their paper should their hands become cramped. 

Despite this change, it is clear that the humanities exams where writing is required will ultimately benefit from this change. However, for STEM-oriented courses, others note that typing complicated equations and symbols is a greater hindrance than assistance. 

“It would be hard to show my work on the STEM exams, and you need to show your work for credit,” says Xu. 

At the same time, the digital format of exams may throw off students who prefer taking their exams on paper, particularly the multiple choice section of the exam. 

For HGM student Scarlett Manuelian, “I feel like I get more testing anxiety when things are digital…like if the computer shuts down then that is out of my control, but if it is on paper then I know that I am in control.”

The CollegeBoard has shared that each school will have the opportunity to select whether or not they wish or order digital or paper AP exams–if the option to choose so is applicable, which makes some students hesitant about the testing process. 

“Due to the inconsistency in the quality of technology at school, I am a little concerned about how this will affect the testing when it comes to it. ” shares Yuran Jung, also a junior. 

Manuelian adds, “I can’t help but wonder if people will cheat.”

However, for the SAT, the option to take it on paper is no longer available. Since the start of 2024, the CollegeBoard has officially switched its SAT to a digital platform. 

n a rapidly evolving world, digital exams were likely already expected to become the norm. But similar to many other things, each has its benefits and drawbacks. Standardized exams included.

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About the Contributor
Dana Injan (She/Her)
I am an HGM junior.
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