What you need to know about 2021 AP exams


Photo / Victoria Gasca

In 2021, AP tests will be delivered in both digital and online formats, depending on the subject and the decisions made by Coronado staff.

COVID-19 has changed the learning environment for all students and teachers, including the environment for AP exams. Considering it has been a year of adapting, 2021 AP exams have been accommodated to ensure the safety of student and teachers while testing.

College Board is offering three testing windows for the exams. After thorough consideration, Coronado teachers and staff have decided that the second window is the most efficient option. The second testing window dates range from Tuesday, May 18 to Friday, May 28. The later testing dates of this window will further ensure the readiness of students. Although the EOC state testing might coincide with AP exam dates, Coronado will appropriately adjust any conflicts prior to testing.

Furthermore, AP exams will be taken both digitally and in-person this year. The exams that will be taken in-person are: all foreign languages, music theory, calculus AB, calculus BC, statistics, chemistry, physics 1, and physics 2. All other exams will be taken digitally. Ms. Sharon Uribe will be sending exam dates and times to students via email or text message.

College Board’s guide for digital testing covers the specificities. All digital exams must be taken on a desktop or laptop computer; other electronic devices, such as tablets and phones, cannot be used to test. Access to internet connection is required. However, in the case of lost connection, the student will be able to continue testing. In preparation of exams, students will be able access the digital testing application to get familiar with the format and delivery of exams starting on April 8.

There will be differences between digital and in-person exams to ensure security. Digital exams will be started synchronously worldwide. Furthermore, students will not be able to go back and forth to questions. The digital exams will include security features, such as plagiarism detection software, to prevent collaboration or aid from unauthorized sources. Although there are some differences, College Board ensures that there won’t be a test type that “affects a student’s ability to get a particular score.”

Coronado students and teachers have different opinions on this year’s exams.

Junior Naomi Katz believes that the in-person nature of some exams but not others is quite unfair. Although Katz will take calculus BC in-person, she believes that digital test-takers are at a disadvantage.

“I don’t believe that digital testing will ever be able to mimic in-person testing,” Katz said. “Students can’t be reassured that they will be free of distractions at home. Furthermore, pen to paper is more engaging.”

AP world history teacher Mr. Gerardo Torres, on the other hand, believes that College Board is adapting to the environment that COVID-19 created as best as they can.

“It seems like we [teachers] are building the plane as we fly,” Mr. Torres stated.

He believes that the educators of EPISD are doing a good job at prioritizing students’ safety. He adds that he appreciates the more affordable pricing for AP exams as it is “reasonable and inclusive” in this year’s situation.

Though there are some concerns about the format, in general, the flexible nature of 2021 AP exams will ensure that all students have the ability to take exams while remaining safe and cautious of COVID-19 guidelines.