The College Board announces changes to the 2021 AP Exams


Courtesy of The Paley Voice

Benjaman Raeburn, Copy-editor

COVID-19 has steered and altered many occasions, having them evolve into a new, safe, precautious form. As the end of the school year for high schoolers approaches with haste, the College Board’s AP Exams have also transformed by embracing safety measures and drastically shifting away from past tests. 

Earlier in February, College Board released its final decision for the 2021 AP Exams. Complying with the advice of COVID-officials, College Board announced that both digital and paper exams will be administered over three different sessions throughout May and into June. The first of the three slots, spanning the first two weeks of May, will consist solely of the paper test administered in schools. Next, a combination of paper and digital exams- which can be administered at home- will finish off the month of May. Finally, June will arrive, and the last session, made up of only digital exams, will be administered in school and at home. Of these three sessions, AP Coordinators at high schools will be given the option to mix and match between them so local-specific needs can be met. This way a given school has the chance to administer the paper, the digital, or some blend of the two. 

Although all exams will be full-length unlike last year, the paper and digital versions will only differ slightly. For one, the digital exams will not require graphs, drawings, or anything un-typeable; whereas, the paper ones will. Further, in an attempt to prevent cheating, digital exam-takers will not have the option to return to previous questions and must start their exam at a universal time with a webcam. More specific differences exist between digital and paper exams for certain courses. Digital history exams, for instance, will not include a long essay question, but paper ones will. For more information regarding specific exams check out College Board’s website. 

The College Board seems to have taken the right move regarding safety, but others question whether they made the right decision by returning the exams to full-length. Unlike 2020’s exams, which were only 45 minutes, the College Board has already decided it is time to return to full-length exams. However, because this announcement comes only a few months before exams, many teachers and students were left unsure whether to teach for a full-length or shortened exam. Moreover, teachers and students, in general, have faced mighty difficulties from teaching both online and in-person to battling mental health. The 2020-2021 school year has been as tumultuous and challenging as the last school year, which is why many disapprove of the return to full-length exams.