First time AP Test takers face uncertainty

Laynie Stroup, Reporter

AP tests have always been a challenge leaving students worried about passing, but what about the students taking an online AP exam for the very first time?

The AP College Board has finally released the exam format leaving students with a choice – an in-person exam in May or an online version in June.  

“I’m taking the AP Environmental and AP World History exams online this June,” sophomore Gianna Nelson said. “I’m scared that I haven’t attained enough knowledge this year to do well on these tests.”

With all AP classes being mostly online, teachers have had to adapt their teaching while still providing enough content to prepare students for the exams. 

“I hate not having group work to help teach writing and document analysis,” AP World History teacher Jennifer Brandenburg said. “It is so critical to have peer reviewing and commentary for essay writing on the AP Exam. AP classes require necessary discussions with peers to build content and skills. It is just not as effective in an online format.”

Overall, most students said they do not feel prepared to take these AP exams. 

“I feel like most students learn better going to school and it’s just a different environment learning from a computer,” freshman Abigail Albert said. 

Albert is taking the online version of the AP Human Geography test in June. 

“I do not feel prepared yet because we haven’t read the whole book, but hopefully we can finish in time for the exam,” she said.

Most of these students who are taking an ap exam for the first time said they have no idea what to expect. 

“I don’t think students are prepared enough to take AP tests at the end of the year,” Nelson said. “Lots of students struggle with online school and I don’t think it’s fair to have a test at the end of the year when these are the circumstances.”

One thing Brandenburg mentioned that should be changed is the amount of content on the test. 

“The College Board mandated a full exam with full content which I believe was unrealistic in a pandemic,” Brandenburg said. “I feel that I am having to cram more than ever and I am still not able to keep pace with the College Board’s ridiculous pace and curriculum.” 

The biggest difference between the online version of all AP exams is that there will be no way to go back and forth on questions. Once the question has been submitted, you may not go and change it. 

“It is hard for anyone their first year, but this should be the hardest of all AP exams you will ever take in high school,” Brandenburg said. “Even if you come out with a two on the test, you can write about that experience and grit in your college entrance exams.” 

These AP tests are only a couple of weeks away, but there is a lot of preparation that needs to be taken. 

“I highly recommend students look at their AP Classroom courses for free materials from the College Board to have additional resources and practice,” Brandenburg said. “I wish the best for all of my current and former students. It will be hard but if students can demonstrate some skills and content, their AP Teachers will be proud.”