Coronavirus and how it has affected AP Students
AP tests can be some of the most stressful tests that a high school student will take in their life: it’s scary, daunting, and horrifying, all wrapped nice and tight into a 3 hour long test. However, this year the coronavirus hit the United States and states were forced to close schools down and turn to remote learning. Unsurprisingly, this made AP tests, which were already confusing and stressful enough, even more complex.
For starters, a problem with AP last year was the tests specifically. Due to the lockdown being so sudden, the entire test and the following rubrics were changed up to adapt to the new problems that students faced. With 45 minutes given, students had to complete two free-response questions (for some, only one) to receive a score of 1 through 5.
Many students, including high school senior Utkarsh Prasad, were not happy with this change of test structure. Utkarsh Prasad is a senior who has had a great deal of experience with AP classes and tests. In fact, including this school year Prasad has taken eleven classes.
When asked about last school year’s AP test format, Prasad (12) responded with: “It’s obviously going to be detrimental [to students] because the AP tests were completely different so teachers had to reevaluate their entire style of teaching”.
Furthermore, due to CollegeBoard announcing that this school year’s AP tests are going to be taken in person and that they are reverting back to their original test format, those who have taken an AP test last year and are planning to take an AP test this school year won’t have the same experience that they should usually be accustomed to. First time AP test takers expressed concerns on how they might do on AP tests the following year, when the number of AP tests they will take will go up; one of those students was Viraj Vinish .
Vinish is a junior this year who took an AP class last school year when school was closed mid semester.
“This year when the actual AP exam happens, I don’t know how they (AP exams) work and I’m taking two of them, so I have to get used to the format”, answers Vinish (11), “Last year would have been a good entry point because I was only taking one, and I would have understood how AP exams work and what to expect.”
Last school year was riddled with confusion, “The teachers didn’t really know what to do, everyone was confused”, says Vinish (11), “ Everyone didn’t have an idea on what was to happen… Some teachers weren’t as tech friendly… It was just a very confusing time”, Utkarsh Prasad adds.
Even this year, students still think that remote learning isn’t fully preparing them to take the AP test. Because of problems such as the internet or power in their house, students might miss key details that are necessary for class. This could hurt many students who are taking an AP class for the first time.
One of these students is Sonia Murugesh (10): a student athlete and a first time AP class participant
As Murgesh (10) mentions, “I’m sometimes late because of my internet and I end up missing out on information in class”.
The difficulty of the test might pose a challenge due to the unfamiliar circumstances that students may face, “Considering our circumstances I’m just hoping to pass, I don’t think I could get a 5, considering how things are working out now”, says Viraj Vinish (11).
Due to Collegeboard announcing that they are making AP tests in person, people are questioning whether a cure for the virus will be able to be put out in the market before the AP testing starts.
“If we don’t have a vaccine by then, then students will have to take the AP test with masks and face-shields on. I’ve practiced… while wearing a facial (maks and face shield) and it hurts!”, exclaimed Utkarsh Prasad (12).
Despite these setbacks, there are some positives that have come with remote learning AP tests. Viraj Vinish (11) states, “Things have definitely improved [from last year] and teachers now understand how to work with zoom and sending updates via schoolloop”. Sonia Murugesh (10) adds on to this by stating, “So far my teacher has been giving me all the necessary resources, and we are tested on what we are learning”.
But this overall situation can be summed up in the words of Utkarsh Prasad (12), “I don’t really think that anyone could do anything right or wrong in this situation.”