District Decides on Traditional AP Exam Format

Maria Cifuentes, Reporter

This 2020-2021 school year has caused many changes to our learning environment and learning methods. There are students who have been attending school remotely since September, others attending in-person classes three times a week, and now seniors are back full time. Students have had to adjust to learning through a computer and receiving hybrid lessons. In response to all of this year’s changes, preparing and administering the AP Exams will also be different this year.  

The upcoming AP Exams are scheduled to begin May 3, but this year the College Board is offering different administrations for the AP Exams since many schools all over the country are still closed and others have different learning environments due to COVID-19. There are three administrations available for the schools to choose from. The students are not able to choose exam dates on their own. However, if you are not able to attend the exam dates chosen by your school you may contact your school principal and inform them of your situation. 

Hampton Bays have chosen Administration 1.  This means that the exam dates will be from May 3-17.  The exams will be administered in school and will be traditional full-length paper and pencil exams. In the event of a mandatory quarantine or other disruption with the first administration, will move to schedule exams during Administration 2, May 18 through May 28, or Administration 3, June 1 through June 11.  Administration 2 and 3 allow students to take exams digitally in person or at home. 

The decision for Administration 1 was not taken lightly. Assistant Principal Dr. Greenberg, who is a College Board Representative, along with the AP teaching team, took into consideration the advantages and disadvantages of providing digital exams and ultimately decided that traditional paper exams would be the most beneficial. If the students took the exam on their computer either in person or at home, after completing one question they would not be permitted to go back to a multiple-choice or extended response question. This means that once you respond the question will be locked for the remainder of the exam. This could pose a serious disadvantage and the administration wants to provide students with the best possible opportunities to do well on the exam. 

This school year AP teachers have had to face many challenges in order to help their students prepare for the exams. Mrs. Maresca teaches AP Seminar.  Throughout the course, the students must complete a team project and an individual paper and presentation, as well as a written end-of-course exam. The students must develop their own perspectives in research-based essays and perform multimedia presentations. This class requires a lot of group conversation and teamwork and a virtual or hybrid teaching model creates challenges.   Although it has been difficult, the students have worked hard and have found ways to complete their responsibilities. The use of break-out rooms through Google Meets allowed students to meet in small groups virtually. 

Mrs. Maresca said, “One positive aspect of teaching during this pandemic has been seeing my students adapt to the challenges.  I am so proud of how hard they are working, and I am impressed by how they have been able to work around the challenges they are facing and how they have found creative ways to collaborate.” 

In order to prepare for the AP exams, there are many options available to students.  AP teachers are offering weekly review sessions in the early morning, after school, and even during the weekends. These review sessions will be offered in-person as well as remotely through Google meets. 

AP teachers also have the opportunity to offer mock AP exams that will allow students to get a feel for what the actual AP exam will be like. Students can also use AP Classroom on the College Board Website, where daily videos are offered along with progress checks for each unit. These progress checks include AP style multiple choice and short answer questions.  The daily videos are taught by fellow AP teachers from high schools from all over the country. The videos thoroughly explain important concepts with lessons tailored to each AP subject. The teachers provide notes and practice for AP problems with explanations. Students can also check out the Advanced Placement College Board, YouTube channel that provides playlists with videos for each subject including AP Chemistry, AP Literature, AP Art History, AP Spanish, AP Calculus, AP Biology, AP Research and Seminar, and all the other subjects offered by the College Board. 

It is important to prepare for the upcoming AP exams and to review lessons as the dates approach. Students must use the review sessions available to them and the online lessons mentioned above. Although this year has been difficult and very different for students to adapt to, we must make sure to try our best in order to succeed on the exams. If you are struggling with preparing and studying please reach out to your fellow classmates and teachers.