Students to take AP Exams at Home

COVID-19 Forcing Major Changes for May 2020


Hunter Hardesty, Editor

Editor Update:  Testing Schedule Released:

During these unprecedented times due to COVID-19, we have relaxed, stressed, been to the fridge a thousand times and slept a lot. But, school is back in session. While it’s not the school we are used to, online school is becoming the new normal across the country.

These days, labs, lectures, group work, and Socratic Seminars, are replaced by Google Classroom, Docs, Slides, Forms and sometimes virtual discussions through Google Meet.  We students have to adjust to staying organized and following a weekly posting; assignments posted on Mondays and due by Sunday at 10 p.m. But for Advanced Placement (AP) students, an exam still looms ahead, and now it’s more student driven than teacher led.

Like a lot of upperclass students at GBHS, I take AP classes, and want to stress to my fellow students remember what we have worked toward over the past year is still important: we spent hundreds of hours listening, analyzing, creating, and studying.  We still want our payoff for this hard work by passing the AP exams this year, right?

So we do still get the opportunity to show what we learned and potentially earn college credit for our high school work.  Recently, the College Board – the organization that manages all of the AP testing – found that 91% of 18,000 students surveyed still wanted a chance to earn college credit.

Testing will still occur, however, Junior Ethan Stearns, who takes several AP classes currently, expressed some hesitation, that while that’s good news, “I think that the changes will make the test too easy, but at least we get the chance to take it.”

Stearns referenced the changes to the final test of the coursework in May; the culmination of our studies; the test score that determines if we earn college credit or not, and could save thousands of dollars per each waived college class.

The College Board revised the format due to the COVID-19 school closures so that each test is shorter in length than ever before, and will contain free response questions (FRQs) only in one setting, timed at 45-minutes; no multiple choice questions. In addition to the 45 minute test, they are providing an additional five minutes to upload your response to their server.

Some AP class exams will consist of two FRQ’s with a time limit of 25 minutes for one question, and 15 minutes for the other question. Students get five minutes to upload each question, and must submit the questions in order.  For example, question one must be completed and submitted before tackling question two.

Other adjustments to the AP exams include narrowing down the material covered.  For example, each class is structured by defined units; some units will be excluded from the AP exam.  The catch, however, is that college will still expect students who earn a passing score on their AP exam will still be expected to know that material.

Despite these changes, many colleges, including Ivy League schools announced AP credits will still count towards college credits.

The AP final exam for all classes will have two exam dates. One in May and one in June as a makeup date. The test will be taken digitally around the world all at the same time. In addition to the designated time for your class, College Board wants all students to login and get ready thirty minutes in advanced to reduce any setbacks as you only have 45 minutes.

As for what students can expect, Kevin Kress, AP Physics teacher, stated, “Because [exams are] online, classes like math and physics where equations are used will probably require no work shown, or even maybe no questions requiring calculations and formulas.” So while many students are happy on being able to take the test still, the online version might prevent students from showing what they actually know.

College Board has also announced many measures that will improve test security and reduce cheating as the tests will no longer be taken with a proctor watching.

While the prompt for your class will be similar, the College Board has made sure to not allow just definitions that you look up count as your points. In order to receive the points for your specific essay, you must either apply the term to a situation provided in the prompt or how is it seen in the documents provided.

Lastly the College Board will have plagiarism software setup so graders will see if a student has plagiarized. If a student gets caught cheating, the College Board has announced that drastic measures will be taken such as your score will not be accepted, your school will be notified, colleges will see this on your application, and you might not be able to take future AP classes, or even the ACT or SAT.

So while it might be tempting to cheat on an exam that could save you thousands of dollars for your future, there is a positive and there are many resources being provided to help you pass the right way.Basically every minute counts, agreed Mrs.W-B, who teaches AP Language and Composition.  “With only 45 minutes allotted for the reading and essay writing, if students are spending time texting friends on how to answer, it’s very likely they will not be able to produce a quality essay in 45 minutes,” she explained.

A positive from all these changing formats on the final exam is, that you will be able to use open notes. While you are  allowed to use your notes, you don’t know what exact word you might need to look at, and your time is limited. Everardo Aguilera, a Junior AP Calculus AB student, expressed his nervousness as he stated, “We have to do FRQ’s which could be on anything.”

So how to we prepare in this new environment from home? First of all with the new marking period starting up, your AP teachers will most likely do review to help you study for the test day. Study guides, Barron’s Books and more have been provided in some classes, so make sure to look at them.

Melissa Campasino, the AP Calculus AB teacher at Glen Burnie High School suggested, “Organize your materials and make a summary sheet (use the “golden packet”).” This means that if you make a new study guide with all of this years knowledge and you know where everything is in that packet, you will have a better chance of looking at your notes while also having enough time for producing a quality essay.  “Math will require the showing of work,” Campasino added, “so students are encouraged to write on paper and scan in their work.”

In addition, AP Teachers unveil recorded review sessions lastly between 30-50 minutes on Youtube Monday-Friday. I find these really helpful review.  Go to the Advanced Placement Youtube Channel at

There’s also test prep lists posted on and

Old school flash cards are sold online on Amazon for under $25.

So AP students, while you should relax and stay calm during these unprecedented times, make sure to still make a couple of hours in your day to study for the stressful but rewarding final exam.

If you have any other questions, or want to see what time your exam is, click the College Board link for exam status: