Testing season is upon us, and it’s never been more stressful for graduating seniors. Not only do students have to manage their classes in primarily remote settings, but they also need to prepare for their SAT and ACTs from afar as well. How are students supposed to balance the stress of standardized tests while also preparing for their advanced placement examinations?
This year, due to concerns brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, AP tests could be either in person or online. The decision of how to hold AP tests is entirely up to your district and your school, which means their test may look very different from a peer’s exam who attends another school.
With all of the struggles seniors are facing while preparing for their AP examinations, there are a few things you should keep in mind as a parent to ensure your student is ready for academic success.
What Is AP?
Advanced Placement is a program run by the college board, the governing body that also oversees the SAT examination. AP classes are designed to prepare high school students to enter a college setting and make them competitive students for selective colleges.
In many cases, AP classes allow students to test out of some college requirements or receive college credits for work done during high school. To have AP classes counted by a college or university, the student needs to achieve a specific score on the end-of-program exam.
What Did The Test Look Like In 2020?
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 winter examinations were held entirely virtually. There was some debate in the early days of the pandemic that schools should cancel the AP exams, and to determine the logistics of the 2020 exam, the college board surveyed students.
These students, who were slated to take the AP exams that semester, responded in massive numbers that they wanted to take the AP test even if offered slightly differently than in years past.
While this might surprise parents, it shows that the AP test does service many students’ needs. High-achieving students are often competing for very few spots at highly-selective colleges and universities, and AP exam scores can be a factor that sets them apart from their peers.
As a result of students’ desire to take their exams, the 2020 examinations were presented in a virtual setting. Many understood this would be adopted in the winter 2021 tests as well. Still, as mentioned earlier, it is now entirely up to your student’s school as to whether or not the exam would be offered in person or virtually.
This decision in 2020 was met with quite a bit of pushback. Due to limited time for students to prepare for a virtual exam and the fact that there were issues regarding accessibility to devices and the internet, some parents sued the college board for violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This lawsuit was thrown out as “baseless,” though it likely is one of many contributing factors to the decision to allow schools to make decisions on exam formats this year.
What Changes Will Happen in 2021?
Even though testing could be either in person or virtual, there are a few standardized changes that came to AP tests this year. First, there are more testing dates than ever before, with these dates spread over a month’s time. Not only does this best encourage social distancing at larger in-person testing sites, but it also provides opportunities for students who happened to be COVID-19 positive during one test date to take the test at a later date.
Many students have noticed that a change already happening in the lead-up to the 2021 exam is that they feel inundated with higher levels of homework than ever before. Teachers are finding less and less in-class time available to teach content, leaving students to do a lot of work independently.
Finally, students may need to prepare to take their exams in less-than-ideal situations. For example, if a student is high-risk for COVID-19 and their school requests that the exam is held in person, students may be even more uncomfortable and nervous about taking the exam than in a typical year.
How Should My Student Prepare?
Given that many students currently feel lost trying to prepare for their AP tests, your student may find that they need some additional help in reaching their own goals.
At Mighty B Learning, we can help your student reach their highest potential on their AP tests and make it to their dream university. While this year may be throwing multiple curveballs at your student, we can help them practice their swing.
MIghty B Learning offers personalized tutoring plans, and we make sure that your student won’t be stressed with lengthy meetings--we can even set meeting times as short as 30 minutes to fit into your student’s busy schedule.
Reach out to us today to help your student succeed on this year’s overwhelming AP exams.
My name is Bethany, and I am professional tutor backed by over 10 years of teaching and tutoring experience. I have worked for some of the top names in the tutoring industry, and now I am ready to pass my experience on to you.