The College Board’s offering choices for AP Exams, but they’re not appealing to this junior

Potomac+juniors+pictured+taking+standardized+testing+Wednesday%2C+March+3.+

Patrick Morris

Potomac juniors pictured taking standardized testing Wednesday, March 3.

Audrey Lee, Opinion Editor

Almost exactly a year ago, what started out as a normal spring spiraled into chaos that no one was expecting. With the pandemic came a lot of challenges —academic and beyond— but one silver lining came from the College Board when they reduced the length of AP exams to 45 minutes and administered them online. 

Despite being a sophomore, I was taking AP Spanish Language and Culture last year. After spending more than an entire semester on practice ensayos, multiple choice, and other elements in preparation for a standard AP, our class was shocked when we heard about how AP exams would be run. 

Now a 45-minute exam, the APs were administered in a virtual setting at one specific time. Not only were students able to use open resources, but they also did not need to cover nearly as much material in this shortened period. While the College Board came to a solution quickly, this was no easy transition. On testing day, many students could not access virtual testing sites, forcing them to retake the exam on only one available makeup date. 

When looking towards this school year, AP Central is learning from their mistakes… sort of. The College Board has announced three different administration periods in May and June. That being said, the design of the AP exam this year is looking a lot like my freshman year English essays —that is to say, a complete mess. The College Board recently announced two different testing options: full in-school testing and full virtual testing. The issue? The school has to select a mode of test administration on behalf of all their AP-students. 

We can all agree that this has not been a normal school year by a long shot. Teachers have had to adjust to teaching without a typical classroom setting and with significantly less class time. So, when the College Board announced that AP exams are to be their normal three-hour (excruciatingly painful) length, you could say it was a bit of a slap in the face. 

While I had more than a semester’s worth of normal learning last year, students this year face varying degrees of in-person, hybrid, or virtual learning. I understand that the College Board is attempting to get students back on track, but having the traditional three-hour AP exams is simply not realistic —at least not now. 

Bottom line, it’s hard to pay attention and stare at your screen for seven hours every day. And I, for sure, am not feeling excited for May.