University announces online AP exams will be accepted for admissions, college credit

By Luis Velazquez, Assistant News Editor

Because of social distancing restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic, high school students will take online advanced placement exams at their homes from May 11-22.

Last month, the College Board announced on Twitter that its AP exams will have a different format compared to previous years. The online exams will take 45 minutes, with one or two free-response questions for each course. 

The tests are open-note and will only cover content that was introduced while in-person classes were still in session. 

Jerome White, director of media relations and external communications for the College Board, said the College Board asked more than 18,000 AP students whether they would like to continue to have a test this year with an at-home option. Ninety-one percent of students said yes. 

“AP exams will be online this year. If students have already registered to take an exam, they don’t have to do anything else in order to test. We’ll simply email them a personalized e-ticket two days before each of their exams,” White said in an email.

Students will be able to type their answers using a mobile or laptop device or physically write down their answers and submit a picture through the AP exam website. 

Daniel Mann, associate provost for enrollment management for the University, said the online AP exams will still count in admissions decisions and college credit. 

“We know that the College Board has been providing regular updates to students and the public in general about their testing protocols both for their SAT test and AP tests. They have announced modifications to their May 2020 exams that will allow students to test at home. We are committed to supporting our students with the AP test. Scores will still be accepted and used to process as we review admissions decisions in the future,” Mann said. 

Jay Hooper, AP statistics teacher at Centennial High School in Champaign, Illinois, said there has been proper communication between students, teachers and the College Board over changes in the exam’s format. Hooper said technology can help students succeed in their AP exams, but access is “the main concern.” 

“There could be students who have an unreliable connection or something like that. Apart from access, I think the students have the possibility of still having a good experience on the AP test,” Hooper said. “I think there is going to be positive pressure to still count scores and still assign credit to students. I would struggle to imagine universities harming students or withholding opportunities they would normally have.”

Fidelia Bustos, junior at Morton East High School in Cicero, Illinois, said that she is prepared for her three upcoming AP exams. However, she is concerned with online accessibility and how the home environment will affect test-taking. 

“I believe the exam is going to be more complicated because at school we had a space where we can focus where there wouldn’t be any distractions. Where at home, there is more of a chance to be distracted,” Bustos said. 

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