Despite the struggles of virtual school this year, College Board Advanced Placement tests remain

Belle Wilson, Editor-in-Chief

The College Board abruptly notified schools that AP Exams will look drastically different from last year. This lack of accommodation and communication from College Board to the public is unfair to students and teachers.

Last year due to the sudden “two week shut down” issued by some states, the College Board was planning to have all of their AP exams canceled. Of course, students who had spent their entire school year studying college material demanded that the College Board try to make some sort of accommodation.
That left students with an open-book and note abbreviated at-home exam. This was the perfect solution for students who had just been hit with some of the hardest weeks of their lives. It made the exam more specialized, and students could focus on the material they learned in school — instead of cramming information from online learning.
Students’ average scores were also the highest they’ve been since at least the year 2000, at 3.03 according to College Board.
However, over a year after the “two week” shut down, College Board released the news that AP Exams would continue similarly to how they were administered in the past years, including full length exams, no use of notes, and stricter conditions for taking the exams online.
Also included are new security features that prevent students from returning to an answered question or even skipping a question. Students will also not be able to take the test on a phone or any smart device; they must use a computer. They will also not have the option of submitting photos of handwritten work.
Basically, online exams are proofed to prevent any type of cheating in order to keep online test takers and in-person test takes on the same level. They also are supposed to be more effective with saving students work to make sure that no one has any technical difficulties like last year.
This changes the way students have to study completely. Writing an essay on paper is completely different than typing one on a laptop, considering the time constraints on each section.
Knowing that students would have the option to take in-person exams fully could affect both how a student is studying and how a teacher is teaching. Instead, teachers were left in the dark.
Luckily JC teachers have been preparing AP students for the worst-case scenario, having to take a full in-person exam. Since the decision to have in-person exams, JC teachers have been taking proper action to prepare students effectively for May.
However, it is impossible to know if every school’s teachers have been running AP classes due to the lack of communication.
Taking an AP class not only shows students’ hard work, but it exemplifies that they are prepared to take their education to the next level. It takes a lot of self-accountability to be able to sign up and thrive in an AP class, considering it is college level. Taking the AP exam not only gives students a one-chance opportunity for college credit, but it also allows them to show what they have been working hard at learning all year.
College Board knows how important this opportunity is for hard-working students. They should’ve released this news sooner and have taken into account how differently students across American have been learning.
Virtual learning just isn’t the same as sitting in an in-person class and retaining knowledge. It’s easy to feel unmotivated and overwhelmed, struggling through life events and virtual schooling.
It’s impactful that College Board wants to give students normalcy through taking a normal AP exam, but it’s insensitive to disregard how different learning has been for AP classes compared to years prior.