AP Testing Is Changed due to COVID-19, Number of Tests being Taken Decreases


Emma Borage

Many students taking an AP course this year have dropped their exams for the spring.

Despite the complications of this school year, OHS is still offering AP exams in 17 subjects. But many students are in the dark: How are AP exams being conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic? 

According to the most recent College Board update, “The College Board has designed a multi-window approach to testing this year, and has added an option for students to take the full exam in any area digitally.” 

This means that there will be three separate in-person testing administrations for each subject. Administration 1, a standard paper/pencil in-person exam, will take place during May 3 – May 17. Students are encouraged to take exam(s) during this testing window.

According to OHS guidance counselor Chris Ventimiglia, a group testing format will be used during Administration 1. “OHS exam groups larger than 25 will be testing in Gym B,” explained Ventimiglia. “And groups smaller than 25 will be testing in the library.” The only exception to these rules is the AP Music Theory exam, since it requires equipment. The location of this exam is to be determined.

Administration 2 will take place during May 18 – 28, and Administration 3, June 1 – 11. As stated by Ventimiglia, OHS will not be offering in-person exams for these administrations, so all students wishing to take their exam(s) in Administrations 2 or 3 must test digitally at home. 

Many students prefer to test at home because it is a safer option for those who want to take extra precautions from COVID-19.

“I hope I can take my AP Psychology test online,” said Vicky Riordan (12). “It seems like a safer option and follows COVID-19 protocol.”

Other students believe that in-person exams will allow them to focus on the exam and work harder. 

“Last year during my AP Language and Composition exam, I was extremely distracted and it was hard to write,” Sophie Kettenbrink (12) explained. “I will definitely be testing in person this year.”

According to the College Board, students who wish to test digitally must get approval from the school AP coordinator, so these students must make arrangements with Ventimiglia as soon as possible. The digital testing application will become available on April 8. More information on digital testing can be found here.

Despite these accommodations, many students have decided to opt-out of AP exams entirely for the 2020-2021 school year. Alex Breihan (12), an AP student who usually participates in AP testing, has decided against it this year. 

“With the first semester being completely virtual, I decided that it was best to skip the tests this year.” Breihan explained. “I didn’t feel that the time in virtual class was near equivalent to the value of the time in person.” 

Another OHS student, Addie Kettenbrink (12), feels similarly.

“Absolutely no discredit to the teachers,” Kettenbrink said. “But I feel like all the switches of school schedules, and with a good portion of the year being online, I have not learned what the College Board will test over.” 

It is evident that many students at OHS feel similar to Breihan and Kettenbrink. According to Ventimiglia, the number of exams being taken has gone from 327 to 314 between 2020 and 2021, although students still have the option to drop. This is the lowest number of AP tests being taken in the last four years. 

This is likely because the College Board is offering full refunds this year, when they usually require a $40 fee for missed exams. Many students have taken advantage of this opportunity.

More information on AP exams can be found on the College Board website.