It is currently May, and as the school year draws to a close, there are many things to take into consideration as students prepare for the next. Armed with their college acceptance letters in hand, most students would be in their final month of high school classes, excited for the summer ahead of them. But there is still one last obstacle to tackle before graduation that has a big influence on the future- AP Exams.
You are probably familiar with Advanced Placement (AP) examinations. AP classes are advanced college-level courses taken during high school that students receive college credit for if they pass the nationally regulated exams given at the end of the year. The AP exams are a culmination of multiple-choice questions and essay prompts designed to prove a student’s knowledge and understanding of what they have learned over the course of the year.
The exams are scored on a scale of 1-5, with a 5 meaning the student is extremely well-qualified to receive college credit, and a 1 meaning they are not qualified. A passing score is considered to be a 3 or higher. Most colleges in the United States will accept AP classes for credit, allowing a student to gain an advantage in already satisfying some of their pre-requisite coursework.
AP tests are usually taken on-site at a student’s local high school, with a qualified proctor. However, due to the impact of COVID-19 on the current school system, all exams will be taken remotely, online.
The College Board has released the official schedule of AP Exam testing on their website. The unique security protocols that are required for this year’s online exams require all students worldwide to test at the same time.
The schedule is as follows:
|Exam Start Times: Local times vary depending on a student’s geographic location.||Hawaii Time: 6:00 a.m.|
Alaska Time: 8:00 a.m.
Pacific Time: 9:00 a.m.
Mountain Time: 10:00 a.m.
Central Time: 11:00 a.m.
Eastern Time: 12:00 p.m.
Greenwich Mean Time: 4:00 p.m.
|Hawaii Time: 8:00 a.m.|
Alaska Time: 10:00 a.m.
Pacific Time: 11:00 a.m.
Mountain Time: 12:00 p.m.
Central Time: 1:00 p.m.
Eastern Time: 2:00 p.m.
Greenwich Mean Time: 6:00 p.m.
|Hawaii Time: 10:00 a.m.|
Alaska Time: 12:00 p.m.
Pacific Time: 1:00 p.m.
Mountain Time: 2:00 p.m.
Central Time: 3:00 p.m.
Eastern Time: 4:00 p.m.
Greenwich Mean Time: 8:00 p.m.
|Mon, May 11||Physics C: Mechanics||Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism||United States Government and Politics|
|Tues, May 12||Latin||Calculus AB|
|Wed, May 13||Physics 2: Algebra-Based||English Literature and Composition||European History|
|Thurs, May 14||Spanish Literature and Culture||Chemistry||Physics 1: Algebra-Based|
|Fri, May 15||Art History||United States History||Computer Science A|
|Mon, May 18||Chinese Language and Culture||Biology||Environmental Science|
|Tues, May 19||Music Theory||Psychology||Japanese Language and Culture|
Italian Language and Culture
|Wed, May 20||German Language and Culture||English Language and Composition||Microeconomics|
|Thurs, May 21||French Language and Culture||World History: Modern||Macroeconomics|
|Fri, May 22||Comparative Government and Politics||Statistics||Spanish Language and Culture|
Students can view course-specific information and requirements for each individual exam as well as dates for makeup exams here.
A flurry of questions and uncertainty is surrounding this year’s test-taking procedures and overall school environment due to the current state of most communities in the middle of quarantine and social distancing measures. Most are still wondering about the same things. Should I still take the AP exams? Is it still worth it? How will I take the exams due to the current conditions? Will the College Board be accomodating those who choose not to take the tests?
At AdmissionSight, we want you to be informed and successful, and we are here to answer all your questions.
How Will the Exams be Administered this Year?
The College Board surveyed 18,000 AP students to see if they still wanted the opportunity to test this year. Their answer: a resounding yes. Secure, online free-response questions have been developed for each course to make sure that students still get the college credit they worked hard during the school year to learn.
To be fair to all students, some of whom have lost more instructional time than others, the exam will only include topics and skills most AP teachers and students have already covered in class by early March.
Students will be able to take AP tests on any device they have access to—computer, tablet, or smartphone. They’ll be able to either type and upload their responses or write responses by hand and submit a photo via their cell phone.
Like many college-level exams, this year’s AP Exams will be open book/open note. This is very different from the usual format of multiple-choice paired with essay questions with no additional material allowed. However, the new protocol does not mean that this year’s exams will be easy. Answering AP Exam questions takes more than copying information from notes. Finding facts, formulas, or other information in your notes is only one step to answering an exam question—you have to apply the information and know-how to use critical thinking skills in order to complete the task and demonstrate your understanding of the topic.
Proper preparation is still essential, just as it would be for a traditional AP exam. You should not copy responses from notes or resources. This year’s AP Exams have been designed with the knowledge that students will have access to their notes and resources, so the exam questions will ask you to apply concepts in new ways. Copying information or relying on a quick internet search won’t produce a satisfactory answer. Collaborating with others is not considered acceptable open notes.
The College Board has instated security measures for the AP exams suitable for the remote testing environment, including plagiarism detection tools, identity verification, and test questions designed to deter cheating. Any student caught cheating will be properly penalized.
AP exams will be given on May 11–22. Each subject’s exam will be taken on the same day at the same time, worldwide. Makeup test dates will be available for each subject on June 1–5. Students can take the exam at home or in schools if they reopen.
Is it Still Worth It to Take the AP Exams?
AdmissionSight firmly believes in the success of every student, with hard work and motivation being our only criteria to work with us. As a student, the time you have invested in learning and understanding college-level coursework is valuable and deserving of credit. Taking an AP test and passing means you will have proven that you can handle advanced university-level coursework and gained an edge when you enter college. 85% of selective colleges and universities report that a student’s AP experience favorably impacts admission. For students who opt not to take the exams this year, the College Board is waiving the $40 cancellation fee, but refunding the cost of the exam fee is entirely up to your school’s individual jurisdiction. We firmly encourage you to take the AP exams and do your best.