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Advanced Placement (AP) Testing Goes Digital


In addition to our classrooms transitioning to an online learning environment, Advanced Placement (AP) testing has also made the switch to digital.

AP tests occur once a year, evaluating a high school students’ knowledge of AP course material to determine whether the student is qualified to skip similar introductory courses in college.  Although the tests come with a hefty price tag (over $100), most students believe it’s money well spent.

2020 has been a very different year for our school system, here in Irvine and across the country.  Most American students are sheltering-at-home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Physical school attendance has been nonexistent since mid-March, so CollegeBoard — the firm overseeing the AP testing process — has been forced to make appropriate changes.

This year’s testing will include reduced content.  For example, the AP Calculus BC test has cut out around 1.5 units of content in order to accurately represent what students should have learned in the traditional classroom environment, before the shelter-at-home orders were put in place.  Since access to technology drastically differs across the country, it would be unfair to hold all students to the same standard this year.

The test time has also been reduced.  The traditional AP United States History test takes well over three hours to complete, with multiple choice, short answer questions, free responses, and a document-based essay question.  This year, students will be taking a 45-minute test.

To accommodate the shorter test time, this year’s English and social science AP tests will include only a single essay question.  The math and science tests have been reduced to two free response questions.

More detailed information for this year’s tests can be found by clicking here.  At the link, you can also find the new AP exam schedule as well as the adjusted testing content.

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