College Board revises AP exams

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Photo by Sasha Kek

A student looks on the College Board website for updates on AP exams. “I look at College Board videos [to study for the exam], which help when I can't contact my teacher or just want to get more information on a certain topic," Ratana Khek, sophomore AP European History and Computer Science student, said.

Sasha Kek, Staff Writer

The College Board has revamped AP exams due to the coronavirus outbreak in order for students to be able to access the exams from home between May 11 and 22.

“Given the circumstances, the College Board had to make a change [to the exam], and while a 45-minute test will never assess the same as the original exam, at least they chose the type of prompt that best reflects the broader skills of AP Language and Composition,” Joe May, AP Language and Composition teacher, said. “It will show [the students’] abilities to closely read, analyze rhetorical design and situation, and compose with a sense of purpose.”

With the shortening of the original exam, May says he has had to adapt his teaching since class discussions can not be held daily.

“I am creating tutorials and discussions based on previously released AP essay questions,” May said. “The students outline or compose an essay, review College Board responses, [then] we discuss what works and does not and I try to give them as much feedback as possible.”

May’s students are like so many AP students who use the College Board resources as a way to prepare for the exam. Ratana Khek, sophomore AP European History and Computer Science student, plans to use College Board resources and materials teachers post on Canvas for studying.

“Many teachers already had reviews and other activities that they transitioned into eLearning-type of activities, [and] I was planning on depending on those, so studying is about the same despite the change in the situation,” Khek said. “Though I do look to the College Board videos as an ability for me to seek help, they are limited, but I see them as a benefit since before I wouldn’t look into other sources for study material.”

Along with a new form of studying for the test, Khek says the new exam will be “easier to score high in due to limited material being covered,” but it will not fully measure his abilities in his AP Computer Science class.

“I was looking forward to my CS test since I was pretty confident in my ability to score high, [but] with the changes to that test, I feel like my full ability isn’t getting its full recognition and I lose valuable class material that is no longer covered,” Khek said. “Since I plan on going the computer science route, the information I miss is a big setback in my learning.”

Although there is less material students will be assessed on, May is concerned with any technological issues since students will be taking AP exams through a secure browser.

“I worry about the hiccups that always come with new technology and I worry what the students may lose by no longer receiving as much face to face instruction,” May said, “[but] I think my students were already well prepared for the skills [on the exam]. Having an extra month and a half to prepare just for the analysis should further bolster their performance.”