COVID-19 changes AP tests

Anthony Furtaw ’21, Staff Writer

According to the College Board, in an effort to curb the rise of the virus but also protect the needs of the students, they are allowing AP tests to be taken online with multiple choice answers excluded.
According to Justin Maccagnone ’21, a strictly free-response AP exam may be a lot more difficult then a normal exam, even if it is online.
“Honestly, I kind of enjoyed the multiple choice section on AP exams, because that is the most predictable portion of the test,” Maccagnone said. “The free response questions are mostly random and unpredictable, while the multiple choice section tests your knowledge on specific topics.”
Ian Foy ’21 said that he’s not that worried about the new testing guidelines, and he thinks the ability to take it at home makes up for the fact that it’s a strictly free response test.
“Being able to take the test at home is a huge advantage in the first place, so I feel like a strictly free response test is a good way to combat that,” Foy said. “Obviously, some people are going to disagree with it, but I’m just happy we got the opportunity to take the test.”
According to Bill Cayo, a South teacher with multiple AP classes, the College Board allowing students to take the test at home is a good substitution for the usual course of things given the situation.
“While it may be easier to take the shorter test in the comfort of your own home, it is a disadvantage that current students haven’t had direct access to their teachers for weeks,” Cayo said. “I think we should create the best solution we can to serve the needs of the students who find themselves in the middle of this very difficult situation.”
Maccagnone said the main reason he is worried about the at home AP exam is because he hasn’t had the opportunity to practice free response questions in class.
“Even though the free response section is a little bit more difficult than the multiple choice, I usually am prepared for it,” Maccagnone said. “The difference this time around is I haven’t had the opportunity to practice as much as I had hoped in school and that worries me.”
According to Cayo, he is glad the College Board decided to take students’ needs into account during this time.
“I think it is always a good idea to solicit input from students and I am personally glad they decided to go ahead with an exam,” Cayo said. “I think having the exam gives us something to focus on (other than coronavirus) and helps maintain an interest and incentive in continuing to try to learn in this distance learning environment.”
Foy said given the circumstances, he is hoping that people can learn to minimize stress and adapt to new changes during this pandemic.
“It’s a very weird time for many people right now, and there are a lot of different things changing and happening very fast,” Foy said. “We need to come together and support each other during this time and accept things as they come.”