Students React to At-Home AP testing

Jaelyn Staiano, Staff Writer

A global pandemic occurs, yet education finds a way. During the school weeks of May 11 to 15 and May 18 to 22, students across the United States took the College Board’s first online adaptations of the AP exams to earn college credit. Because of COVID-19 school closings, the SAT and Regents exams were cancelled, but AP exams were modified for students to test at home. 

Before exams were administered online, the rules and format had been changed. Students needed to check in 30 minutes before their exam. To follow College Board’s security guidelines, every student took the exam at the same time. 

From Monroe-Woodbury High School, Giuliana Cioffi, sophomore, and Brooke Pearson, a junior, took the exam for AP World History: Modern. Both students were interviewed afterward. 

Q: What did you originally expect from the AP exam?

“I expected to be tested on a recent topic that we were taught (1750-1990), that was broad, and easy to follow; or at least I hoped,”said Cioffi.

“It was exactly how I expected it to be! The practice demo really did a good job of showing us what we had to do on the exam,” said Pearson.

Q: How did you feel during the test? Did you experience any test malfunctions?

“Surprisingly; no malfunctions, everything went according to plan,” said Cioffi, but added, “I feel horrible for the people who have taken the test and it didn’t go through, and the fact that the College Board disregarded them and is making them take it again in June.”

“I think the exam ran pretty smoothly,” said Pearson.

Q: Was it different from what you expected? And if so, how?

“It was different in terms of the time period. I did not think they were going to give me a prompt that was from the beginning of the year (the Mongols: 1200 c.e.), while we were expected to know 1200 through 1900,” said Cioffi.

“[No] Throughout the school year, we have written essays that cover the same topic as those on the AP exam,” said Pearson. 

Q: If you could change how the test was given or formatted, how would you do so?

“I think that 45 minutes to write a well-thought-out DBQ (document-based question) is not a reasonable amount, given the requirements to get a high score on the exam,” said Cioffi. 

Brooke agreed with Giuliana.

“I would increase the time we had to complete our responses. 45 minutes seemed to cut it close,” said Pearson.

Q: What are your overall thoughts?

“Overall, I thought my prompt was relatively good, but many of my friends were given obscure questions. My problems are mostly with the College Board in whole; in that we had to study 20 chapters and were given a single DBQ on one of those chapters to gain college credit,” said Cioffi. 

“The exam went well, minus the time crunch, but I felt confident in my work,” said Pearson.