Spring AP testing experiences have been stressful for teens

Today was very stressful for my daughter. She took an AP biology test, in her bedroom.

Normally, she would have taken the test at school, after two semesters of in-class instruction and practice tests. Instead, she spent the past two months reading, highlighting, studying and learning biology from an AP study guide book purchased online, at home, by herself. There were no study groups for her to attend or classroom discussions about the material she struggled to understand. 

My daughter is not unique. Students everywhere have been dealing with similar challenges surrounding learning and studying for AP tests. 

Thankfully, the College Board adjusted expectations and testing protocol as schools across the country shut down. By the second week of April, students were emailed information about the new testing format.   

The new AP testing procedures include;

  • Spring AP tests dates from May 11-22.
  • Each subject test is administered at the same time, all around the world.
  • Most tests only have 1-2 essay questions (with a few exams using a different format).
  • All exams are open book/open notes.
  • Students have 45 minutes to complete the exam.
  • Students have 5 minutes to submit their answers after each section.

Fortunately for my daughter, her “take-at-home” AP test wasn’t until the second week of testing. Three of her friends took their AP tests before her, with bad results. 

Two of her friends had the exact same bad experience. They each finished their test in under 45 minutes, but when they tried to turn in their answers, the system was overloaded and wouldn’t process. They both continued attempting to submit their answers, until the time ran out. Within minutes of their failed test submissions, they were informed that they would need to retest in June. 

Her other friend took his AP test this morning. In an apparent attempt to fix the problem of numerous students submitting test answers simultaneously, students were told they could submit their answers via email. When he attempted to copy and paste his answers to the College Board test submission box, he was unable to attach his entire answer. With time running out, he was only able to submit a portion of his answers, all because of a software glitch. 

These stories left my daughter extremely worried. 

When she finished her test this afternoon, she walked into the kitchen with a smile on her face. She was able to take the test and submit her answers, without a problem. Now she just has to wait for her score. I’m glad her test didn’t end in tears over a software glitch. 

Isn’t this pandemic fun? 

Melanie Flake

Melanie Flake

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