Online AP exams fall short


Abby Fleming, Staff Writer

Although many things have changed due to the coronavirus outbreak across the globe, one notable alteration has been standardized testing. SATs, IB exams, and the like have been canceled outright, but the AP exams that students take around the world in hopes of gaining college credit were instead shortened and moved online. While some may argue that this is better than cancelling these exams altogether, others disagree due to College Board’s and the new exams’ shortcomings.

Because of the large amount of students taking the exam on the same platform, technical difficulties were inevitable. It was more than likely that students would have some issue turning in their exams, whether it was due to an issue on their side or College Board’s. Since these difficulties were unavoidable, it is frustrating for students that College Board can do nothing to fix their mistakes other than forcing students to wait for the make-up exam. Students that have been studying for months have to study all over again.

Junior Maddie Cortesi had technical difficulties and was thus unable to turn in part of her AP Chemistry exam, leaving her frustrated. “I spent the two months we had off from school studying every day for my exams and now I have to keep that material fresh for another couple weeks,” she said.

On the student’s end, the test and uploading process were both extremely stressful. With the test being shortened to only one or two questions, each question was made extremely long to compensate, occasionally being up to thirteen parts. Students only had 15 or 25 minutes to complete a question, which is an unrealistic amount of time, stressing them out even more.

Junior Becky Rupinen said “I don’t think I benefited from the shortened test because I had less time to fully think through the question.” 

The turning in process was also very stressful, especially for students who had to take pictures and attach them to their test in a mere five minutes. This time limit left absolutely no room for error and led to many issues for students across the globe.

“It was very stressful to upload the photos in the five minutes,” said junior Jackie Kerner.

By forcing students into this shortened time window, College Board only left more room for stress, error, and frustration.

Finally, forcing students into taking the AP exams online was unfair because every student has a different at-home experience. While some are fortunate enough to have a device to take the test on, a strong wireless connection, and a quiet space to test, this is not applicable to every student. This leads to a huge disadvantage to the less fortunate students. 

While continuing to hold AP exams was a good choice for students who need college credit, College Board should have foreseen the technical issues and worked to make the test more beneficial to everyone in the midst of a pandemic.