Students question their preparations for AP testing


Sanyu Srikanth

The College Board website provides information on testing dates and preparatory materials.

Sanyu Srikanth, Copy Editor

With the upcoming Advanced Placement (AP) exams, students are concerned about their level of readiness due to limited learning and difficulty processing material.

“I am taking five AP classes this year, and although my teachers will be able to provide me all the learning materials needed to grasp the content on the exam, I definitely think it will be harder to pass this year because of the lack of necessary formal practice that we would get in a normal in person-environment,” senior Tiffany Tran said. “For example, many [practice] tests are cut shorter to fit within the short class time frames, and so building up writing and testing skills is a lot more difficult virtually.”

The College Board has set three testing dates from which schools will choose from for the 2021 AP exams. Public schools have the opportunity to offer either paper and pencil or digital testing. However, the length and the material assessed will remain the same regardless of in-person or at-home testing. 

In Administration 1, exams will be administered in school between May 3 and 17, with paper and pencil testing. In Administration 2, from May 18 to May 28, half of the students will take exams in-person while others take them at home in both paper and pencil and digital forms. In Administration 3, between June 1 and June 11, all students will take the test digitally from home or school. 

“I prefer the in-person testing for the pen and paper format, but I am not comfortable enough with our current environment to participate in anything but the online version,” Isabel DiLandro said. “It’s because most of my family members are at high risk, and [the] College Board is quite possibly the last thing I would prioritize over their safety.”

However, online digital testing includes higher risks of cheating and breaches in security. As a precaution, College Board plans on tighter security to avoid cheating in order to make the digital test option more feasible and fair.

“I think that the [security] is beneficial to prevent cheating online and promote social distancing for in-person testing,” Tran said. “I expected the changes to occur because of the problems that occurred in last year’s testing.”

The stress of living through a pandemic along with the numerous accommodations to test settings may make the AP exam process challenging. 

“For me, learning itself has been harder because of the less support there is to receive more help and understand the content,” Tran said. “However, I would still definitely choose in-person testing because I am more familiar with the set-up, but with changes in the procedure, it makes it all harder.”