The Heartbreak of Full-Length APs

By: Annie Dineen

One of the only good things that came out of the 2020 Coronavirus lockdown was the shift that the College Board made from an in-person 3-hour test format, to an online 45-minute test for all Advanced Placement classes. Of course, there were pros and cons to this restructuring. The pros being that students could take the test from the comfort of their own homes, cut out the studying for multiple choice sections, and only have to be in complete focus for less than an hour. The cons being the fact that your neighbor mowing the lawn or the dog barking could throw off your entire test-taking environment. There were always possibilities of technological problems and of course, the one topic you’re being tested on could happen to be the chapter that you were least confident in when studying. Because after all, how accurately does the College Board test your knowledge on all of world history when you only have to answer a question on the gunpowder empires from the seventeenth century. Not accurate.

        But tragedy struck at the end of February when the College Board announced that it will be distributing a full-length test for each AP.  For the junior class, this is a headfirst dive into unknown waters. Sure, some have taken APs before, but they did it in their pajamas while Grey’s Anatomy was on in the background. For seniors who took APs as sophomores, we have experienced both formats, and we aren’t ready to get hurt again.

        There are rumors that two options are being laid out, at home or in person. Briarcliff has chosen for its students to take the test in the high school building, mostly to avoid technical issues and because Briarcliff has the resources to administer these tests safely. Now hold on to your “Aw man”s and “UGH”s because the at-home option doesn’t seem as glamorous as one would think. Last spring, the test was made to be 45-minutes to prevent extensive cheating. This year, one will not be able to go back and change answers to questions once one has moved on. So, if you completely forget the meaning of “synecdoche,” move on to the following question, and then five minutes later have an epiphany for parts being represented as wholes, you’re out of luck. Another tactic to prevent cheating may not hurt the student body of Briarcliff but will hurt our friends living overseas. Each test will be administered at the same exact time all around the world. Meaning while we may be taking an AP at 11:00 am, a student from China will be taking it at midnight.

        So, whether you are taking one AP or five APs this May, just remember to stay calm and put your best foot forward. In my opinion, the College Board is a monopoly that is strangling the minds of our youth, but I will save that for a different article.


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