Rainier students taking AP exams have been affected due to the coronavirus
By Karla Tran
Many students are stressed about AP exams because the tests can earn students a better chance of getting into their desired schools and can also earn them college credit for the course. For those students, it means that they can bypass certain courses required in college and can save on college tuition.
The AP tests cover the whole school year’s worth of information on the course. These exams are given to students to see how much material they’ve learned from the school year to determine whether they can qualify for college credit. Consequently, students taking AP tests review all of the material in the course in order to try to pass these exams.
This left many students concerned on how AP exams are going to work out since the pandemic is ordering people in the United States to self-isolate themselves. Additionally, schools are closed until further notice.
During the 2019-20 school year, the coronavirus has ordered many students across the United States to stay home in order to stop the spread of the pandemic. These stay at home orders implemented back in early March have led to many questions on how AP exams will work for the students who are planning to take the exams in May of 2020.
Rainier junior Philippe Andrei De Jesus shared his thoughts on how AP exams are going to work this year: ”I was pretty surprised when I found out that we’re taking the AP tests at home. This is a very important standardized test that colleges will be looking at, so it’s pretty stressful when there are changes a few months prior,” he said.
Andrei De Jesus also added that he is worried about the 45-minute exams being given this year because he thinks the curve will be more intense than previous given exams.
”I am currently preparing for the AP U.S. History exam. I’m mostly worried about the shorter 45-minute time to finish the test since it used to be a few hours. Although there are no more multiple-choice questions, I feel like the DBQ question will be graded harder.”
AP Calculus teacher Rachel Gianforte is worried about how students will earn AP credit for colleges due to ”such a shortened exam that it could not be nearly as rigorous.”
She shared, ”I don’t know how to communicate to students that these are a huge deal, but they are. They can save you thousands of dollars and really painful intro classes. Math departments at least hate teaching the basics.”
Rainier junior Tuong Nguyen shared her thoughts and how the coronavirus has impacted her upcoming AP exams. She said, ”Also, during the covid-19 pandemic, it has really messed up my academic and studying schedule. I feel more stressed out than usual.”
Some students have expressed how taking the exam from home has changed their way of learning.
Rainier senior Toan Chau said, ”I think that Covid-19 has negatively impacted the way testing is done in general. A lot of the resources that are being taught are taught on a computer screen and you are missing that person to person connection. Students tend to show when they are confused or lost with their facial expressions and teachers can see that something is not connecting for the student and they can help them. A lot of students also tend to learn better in-person with a teacher.”
While worried about the exams, some students found out on the College Board website that AP exams are being given online for the 2020 school year. For all of the AP tests, it will be a 45-minute online exam taken at home by students. Two different dates will also be offered for each exam, to accommodate students who prefer either an early or later test date.
The College Board has announced how the AP exams will run on their website. ”Complete your AP journey by taking your AP Exam online on any device you have access to—computer, tablet, or smartphone. You’ll also have the option to write your responses by hand and submit a photo. We’ll support you through exam day with testing date options and free resources.”
Rainier junior Angelica Cortez expressed her feelings having to take AP exams online.
“I am a bit worried about the whole process because I was already familiar with AP exams from last year, and I hope there aren’t any drastic changes or difficulties with the technology. I am concerned because if I am having issues it will be more difficult to ask for help” she said.
As Rainier students feel more worried for their exams, the AP teachers are trying their best to support students by doing practice free response questions (FRQ) and document-based questions (DBQ) to better prepare for the tests in May, considering that the majority of the AP exams for 2020 will be one short free response question that is 45-minutes long.
Brandon Garica, AP Language and Composition teacher, explained how he is helping his students better prepare for the AP tests by making students do timed writes in class and by giving his support and feedback.
”I am providing my students with resources and assignments that will better prepare them for the exam. I tell them that their priority and focus is on studying for rhetorical analysis essays,” Mr. Garcia said.
Rainier junior Jaryd Buendia voiced how he is both nervous and motivated to take his AP exams from home.
”Since AP exams have been altered, I feel motivated to take them now, more than ever, as it is, in a sense, ‘easier.’ In reality, the AP exams have been reduced, but I fear that most of the same concepts have condensed into a smaller amount of time. Thus, AP exams have become very relevant to my weekly schedule; not as a weekly dread, but a small amount of time to study and prepare,” he said.
Featured image (at the top of the page): AP test prep book for AP Calculus BC. PHOTO CREDIT: Vu Nguyen