pace 1718 US MS COMM oct25-96

COVID-19 Brings Changes with AP Exams

History department chair Tim Hornor teaches one of his four AP classes a year ago at Pace.

The COVID-19 outbreak has taken a major toll on our society, and not just socially. Several adjustments were made to academic plans, including the Advanced Placement (AP) exams. For the 2020 testing period, most students in AP courses will take a 45-minute exam, consisting of free response questions. The exams will be open book and open note.

However, for classes like AP 3D Art and similar classes, a portfolio will be submitted for the year. This test is a far cry from the three hour exams that students had anticipated. 

Many students feel as if the test will be easier this year. “It’ll definitely be less information, which will make it easier to study for,” said sophomore Jermiah Polk. However, he also laments the difference, saying, “Part of me feels like a lot of my work is going to to go to waste.” 

Then there’s the issue of cheating. Though the College Board has gone to great lengths to try and assure the security of tests, in reality, there is not much they can do to avoid this problem. “Personally, I feel like they can’t make it completely fair online,” said sophomore Lauren Smith. “It’s just impossible to monitor everyone.”

For a student at home, with access to multiple electronic devices and people who may be able to supply them with information, it’s not really a challenge to get the “extra help” they may need. This creates an imbalance between them and those students who plan to rely on themselves and their book and notes only.

Though there are definitely some issues with the new systems, some see benefits as well. “I’m really excited that the test is going to be shorter,” said Polk. “Long tests have never been my thing, so I think this will be much easier to sit through.”

The exclusion of the information learned past mid-March will surely make studying a lot less daunting. The comfort of one’s own home will most likely make students less nervous as well. “My favorite thing about the changes is that I don’t have to go anywhere to take the test,” laughed Smith. “Being home will definitely help my test anxiety.” 

For Pace seniors, AP exams are optional this year. Sophomores and juniors are still expected to take the exams for their AP classes.


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