AP Tests Affected by Coronavirus Shutdown

Janie Wu, staff writer

At least 98,000 public schools and 34,000 private schools are closed in the US, affecting a minimum of 55.1 million students nationwide. Because of this, many schools are having trouble keeping up with the normal pace of school. This virus has posed many issues for the education system and College Board has decided to make it a little bit less stressful by changing the format of the AP tests. 

According to their site, it is still undetermined what the exact format will be, but there have been a few tests cancelled and the rest will not cover as much content. One to two units of each test will be taken off. To check which units are included, you can go to the College Board website. There is a whole chart outlining this information (https://apstudents.collegeboard.org/coronavirus-updates/taking-ap-exams).

Not only that, but the amount of time that is allotted for each test has decreased significantly. Each test is now only 45 minutes. The tests will be administered online and if you have no wifi at home, they are currently trying to work out a solution. There are going to be two test dates so that schools can take advantage of the whole school year (for schools that start in September) and to give students more time to review, should they need it. 

Also, should there be something wrong with a device, or you would rather not risk it malfunctioning, you can print out the test and take it by hand. A picture of the completed test would have to be submitted from there. 

There are a few kinks that need to be worked out, but the main point is that a majority of the tests are still occurring and that the format has been changed drastically. Another important point is that colleges will still accept these test scores as credit. 

The College Board will also be administering full refunds up until the first test date. For New Providence High School students, email Mrs. Gnudi to fill out a cancellation form to receive a full refund. It will not work if you go through the payment site that was used to sign up for the AP test. 

It seems that at this point, many NPHS students still plan to take most of their tests, unless they feel completely unprepared for them, as it is still going to be used as college credit. Junior Sammy Kogan says “I’ve spent a whole school year working my butt off and I’m not letting that go to waste.”

One hitch is that if the units have been studied out of order, that makes some of the topics that were learned completely useless. Unfortunately, this is the case for junior Gabbi Arace. She feels that, “we are at a disadvantage because now we have to rush while other schools are probably just reviewing for it.” 

This is one factor going into many students’ decisions, as well as having a somewhat limited ability to ask teachers questions in person. Fortunately, to address this concern, NPHS has allowed Fridays to be a full day of setting up Zoom meetings to ask teachers questions and the College Board has created more review resources. They have live review lessons taught by AP teachers all over the nation. 

It is still undetermined how the College Board will combat cheating. According to Mrs. Shadis, the head of the counseling department, “this is a huge question not only among our teachers and students, but across the nation.” This issue has yet to be addressed by the College Board.

Another concern is that the home environment is sometimes not ideal for testing. Students like senior Andi Bloom worry because “the at home atmosphere is going to be very different, especially in loud houses like mine.” 

Also, there are differing views on whether this new format will actually make it easier for students. 

Ethan Neidich, a senior, says, “I often do poorly on state or nationwide standardized tests, so I believe this new format would be beneficial for me.” 

Meanwhile, senior Mackenzie Landsittel says, “I am worried I will run out of time and I won’t do as well due to the lack of information I am getting from my teacher!” 

Despite all of these concerns, overall it is apparent that students understand that the new format is necessary for the circumstances we are in, but the change will certainly be difficult to adjust to.