Virtual AP exams could negatively impact students

Provided by WA Guidance Department

Image of the Week 2 AP exam schedule for the 2020-2021 school year.

March 10, 2021

Students taking AP classes dedicate hours to studying and preparing for exams in the spring. This preparation comes with a significant amount of stress as students must review all of the material they’ve learned over the entire year. Now, the recent news regarding the schedules for the upcoming AP exams has proven to provide more stress for students.

AP exam test dates changed again due to controversy that the previous schedules had sparked on February 25, 2021. Students were originally unhappy with the time periods the exams were scheduled for as well as the exams being administered full in length. Due to COVID-19, many exams are being taken virtually, while others are continuing to be taken in-person. Some students have an issue with the fact that they weren’t given the option to take the test virtually or in-person, as many students face difficulty with taking exams online rather than on paper.

The exam schedule has also sparked conversation regarding the issue of students being split into two different groups for testing. Some students will be taking their exams weeks before the rest of their fellow classmates, which is unfair. Students that will be taking their AP exams after other students gives them extra time to prepare for the exam once they’ve learned all the material.

With the distribution of the vaccine currently taking place, I don’t think splitting students up into two groups to take the exam is necessary. Everyone would be masked up and sitting far enough away from each other, keeping students and teachers safe. I think having everyone take the exam at the same time while being in-person would be the most beneficial for students.

I’m a student who will be taking the AP Psychology exam in the spring and I can definitely say that having to take the test virtually sounds stressful. I would much rather take the exam in-person and on paper rather than in my room. I believe that if I’m placed in a learning environment surrounded by my fellow classmates, I’ll be more motivated to focus and do my best on the exam.

Being at home in my room can come with many distractions, and I’m concerned that I won’t be able to do as well as I know I can do on the test.

Virtual learning has also come with many other challenges. Technical issues arise daily during remote classes and I think there’s always the possibility that technical issues could arise during the virtual AP Exams as well. My WiFi could be knocked out, the website could crash, and so on.

Being worried about my internet connection while I’m taking my exam virtually is a problem that I shouldn’t have to worry about. The thought of taking the AP exam is already overwhelming to begin with, but having to be concerned about internet issues only adds to the stress.

I chose to be a hybrid student for this school year, which was the right decision for me. I struggle during the remote weeks along with many others, as I frequently feel unmotivated to do my work. In addition, it’s difficult to be away from my friends during these weeks, as I consider myself to be a very social person.

It’s unknown what the AP Psychology exam will look like currently, but it’s possible that when students are taking the multiple-choice section, we will not be given the opportunity to change our answers once we select them. I believe that this is unfair because if we were taking the exam in-person, like normal, then we would be able to check our work and pace ourselves as we take the exam. Typically, students develop a clearer mindset towards the middle of a test, allowing them to catch any mistakes from earlier multiple-choice questions.

Administration believes that they’re lightening the load on students by pushing exams back to later in the spring rather than earlier, but they’ve also managed to make the schedule more complicated. If the majority of students are taking their exams virtually, all students should be able to take their exams at the same time. Despite exams being pushed, barely any material from units is being cut.

The incorporation of remote learning into this challenging school year has proven to be difficult for many students. I think that having virtual AP exams will lead to more stress in students as they’ll be taking the exam in a more distracting environment away from their peers.

I know that I’ll be preparing for my exam to the best of my ability, but the unknown that could come while taking the exam will continue to be overwhelming for many students, including myself.

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