Opinion

New AP exam guidelines will poorly reflect students’ work

Every year around the end of spring break, the days start ticking down to the dreaded, yet slightly anticipated, AP exams. Some teachers prepare their students the whole year for this day, the day when all the hard work gets put to use; all year, students learn new terms and skills, and deal with the strenuous workload that accompanies most AP courses. The weeks leading up to the exams are stressful and nerve wracking as students study and go over all the information they have learned over the year. While a mix of emotions can arise in a student after the test, either doubting or praising their submissions, one overall emotion can be felt amongst students: relief. All the stress and anxiety leading up to the test is lifted off of a student’s shoulders. This is how usual AP exams play out year to year; however, 2020, as we have witnessed, hasn’t been very usual. 

Taking an AP exam during school is an exhausting and stressful two hour period. It is  the moment for students to prove what they know, which they do on the multiple choice and a form of a free response question. However, the College Board has shortened the testing period to 45 minutes, and the tests will all be taken online. Due to this, portions of the exams have been cancelled, including the multiple choice for AP Literature and the two out of the three essays, leaving students to only write one prose essay for their entire AP test. All the essay preparations and practice multiple choice tests seem pointless now that only one 45 minute essay will be written. As an AP Lit student, learning to write an essay is the foundation of the class. Students learn skills all year about how to annotate and find the complexity within a novel, poem, or prose passage. Now with only one essay, students aren’t able to show what they are capable of, never being able to display their work in the test they’ve been prepping for all year. 

AP Psychology and AP Chemistry will also not have a multiple choice portion of their exam, so students will only be taking the two FRQs, still in just the 45 minute period. Science classes like these are focused on the multiple choice, for it is factual based and students learn the theories, terms and applications all year to prepare. Every unit test has a multiple choice, slowly preparing students for the big day, but students don’t even get to take it. As an AP Psychology student, it is really disheartening to know that we will only be taking a portion of the planned exam. AP Psych was a remarkable class, and it seems unfair that we don’t get to complete the entire test, when it is unlikely for students to repeat the class and take the “proper” exam that is expected.

With the circumstances that the world is in right now, it can be hard to find the light in situations. The rest of school being cancelled for the year has already thrown students off guard, and the changes for AP tests is difficult to comprehend; diligent students take these tests to prepare for their future, and when the test is unconventional it can seem worthless. The dedication and hardwork that students put into their AP courses seems like it was for nothing, and it is frustrating that some of the skills a student learned won’t be put to use. While the changes to AP exams are unconventional, something that couldn’t have been predicted in a million years, students have to adapt to these new AP exam situations. They have to uphold their integrity and diligence and still do their absolute best to prove that they had what it takes to be a student in the hardest classes in high school.

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