Online AP Exams came with a multitude of difficulties

Marguerite Quinn '22, Staff Writer

With a shift from in-person to online learning now in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many things that would usually take place in a school setting have been changed drastically, including the way we usually take assessments such as Advanced Placement (AP) exams. Back in March, the College Board announced that all AP tests would take place over a 10-day period, from May 11-22. Many students in Grosse Pointe have taken the exams recently- but with taking the test online, there were multiple mishaps that students had to face in order to complete their tests.

Enya Nguyen ‘20 was unable to submit several of her answers for some of the questions on her AP Calculus exam. With the test shortened, it also caused her to have difficulty to work on it within the time span that was given.

“Well, probably the problem that a lot of people experienced was just completing and submitting your answers.” Nguyen said. “So for me, because I was taking the AP Calculus exam, I was writing down my work on a sheet of paper and then I took a picture of that sheet and was going to submit it. But then for my second question, the submission was not going through so they didn’t receive my answers, that was one problem.”

Nguyen also heard about the issues that several of her friends had when they took their exams, such as the test crashing and lack of internet connection, that impacted the ability to complete the exams.

“Another problem I heard from from some other people that said that they had difficulty with Wifi connectivity, and it was very stressful while taking a test online to have to worry about if your Wifi was going to cut out or if you were going to be able to submit your answers.”

After completing her exam, Nguyen was able to contact both her teacher and the College Board about the problems that occurred during her exam and to figure out what to do next and if she could retake the test.

“So after you take the test, if you feel qualified to do the retake exam, you just have to send them an email, explain what happened and then they would get back to you.” Nguyen said. “So I took the retake exam recently, and they changed some things so that if you had difficulties submitting your answers, you could email your answers to them (the College Board), which I had to do because I had difficulty submitting the answers again. I did end up being able to submit the test successfully, but it was still kind of a shaky process.”

Nguyen also finds that the online format of the test made it more difficult to work on, and believes that it possibly impacted her score compared to the previous AP exams that she took in the past.

“I wouldn’t say it was that difficult, because I just worked on a sheet of paper and then just submitted the picture.” Nguyen said. “But with the College Board making it an online exam and shortening it so that it was only 45 minutes, it did kind of make it a little bit harder because there was less time to work. And compared to a three-hour exam instead of 45 minutes, it made it a little bit more difficult.”

Although taking the AP exams was different than in previous years, Nguyen has advice to her fellow classmates who have taken the test this year.

“If you don’t end up getting a good grade, it’s okay.” Nguyen said. “There’s so much ahead of you in life, so don’t be too down about it. It’s not exactly your fault if it went badly.”