AP tests look to be held in-person for all students


Remi Williams

Beginning in May, AP tests will take place in-person for all students regardless of learning environment. AP Biology teacher Chris Ham suggests students keep things relatively the same as far study habits go. “I would think that study strategy should remain more or less the same since the exam is still based on the same course framework,” Ham said. “Just like any other year, make sure you have a strong foundation on the content of your AP exam.”

Urja Joshi, Guest Contributor

A year after AP exams were shortened and adapted for students due to COVID-19 and virtual learnings, it appears that the College Board is returning to in-person testing in May, much to the dismay of some virtual students.

“I was expecting the AP tests to be the same as last year, online and shortened, since COVID will probably still be around in May. I’m not very happy about the possibility of AP tests being in-person this year,” senior Ariana Khan said. “I think it’s a little unfair for some students who are high risk or have high risk family members and feel uncomfortable being around so many people.”

The College Board has stated that if the conditions allow, then schools can offer in-person testing. However, if the school is closed or COVID-related risks prevent testing at school, then a full-length digital test can be taken from home.

Frisco ISD hasn’t finalized its plans for AP testing, as FISD spokeswoman Meghan Cone said the district is holding out for more information from the College Board.

“At this time, Frisco ISD is waiting for the College Board to provide additional information regarding AP testing,” Cone said via email. “That information should be coming in early February. Once the District has that College Board information, we will make final decisions regarding how we will move forward with AP testing.”  

Senior Hardik Patil believes that it’s a matter of health safety, wishing to not take AP tests only to get COVID-19 afterwards.  

“I’m going to be brutally honest; I don’t really like the idea of taking the tests in-person. Although vaccines for COVID-19 are more or less complete, it will take a while for them to be appropriately distributed to everybody that will be taking AP tests in large numbers,” Patil said. “Even if the testing location follows appropriate regulations to deter the transmission of COVID-19, the last thing I want is to feel relieved after taking my AP exams to learn that I have contracted COVID-19, especially when I will be going to college next year. Although I value my education and have poured time and effort into learning this year, I value my health even more so.”

In-person students have a different opinion on taking the AP tests in-person.

“I think that having the AP tests in-person will be similar to how the SAT and PSAT tests were run recently. I took an SAT last year in-person with masks, and we were all six feet apart, which I think made people feel more comfortable given the pandemic,” senior Megan Guidry said. “I’m glad that we get to take the full AP test now because I think it will be a better indication of how we understood the material from the course.”

Virtual students are quite worried about the underpreparedness in taking full-length tests at school that is a result of doing school virtually.

“I’m mostly concerned about whether or not virtual students will be fully prepared,” Khan said. “It’s really hard to fully learn and practice the material at home, even though the teachers are doing great.”

After almost an entire year of learning virtually, taking tests in-person along with other students seems unimaginable.

“My biggest concern is the fact that the College Board asked the districts whether they would like to offer in-person testing or not. I think that should be a decision made by the students themselves, especially considering that we are already pouring so much effort into learning at home alongside all the potential distractions that can lead us astray,” Patil said. “Like I said previously, I think that students should not have to risk their health [and if infected, their time] in order to succeed academically if there is a safer alternative to taking the AP exams in-person. I think how the district prepares countermeasures against COVID-19 will really determine how this year of testing will be perceived by the students and teachers.”

Virtual students’ lack of practice in taking tests in-person may not be as disadvantageous as virtual students believe.

“I think that especially for virtual students, having to take the AP test in-person comes with the added concern of whether they feel totally comfortable and safe being around other students, even with the masks and social distancing,” Guidry said. “I don’t think that virtual students are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to preparing for AP tests, although I think that in-person students may have more recent practice taking tests in-person that aren’t open-note.”