Outdated AP Exams?

courtesy of College Board

courtesy of College Board

Erin Edmon, Editor

Over the past two years, AP exams have been conducted differently from past years to accommodate COVID regulations. Rather than being taken on paper, as is the custom, the AP exams had to be held online with the students taking the tests at home. In 2022, the closest we have come to a normal school year since 2019, the AP exams are once again being taken as paper tests.

For some, the idea of handwritten AP exams, especially the essay portions, is preposterous when one considers just how much better an essay can be written when mistakes are easily erased and claims easily revised without the messiness of pen scribbles. Although most everyone can agree that the AP exams given over the past two years have been less than ideal, many feel that, with some revisions, AP exams could be taken similarly to how the CAASPP is, online and in a secure browser.

The biggest issue with the online AP exams was the restrictions that had to be put in place to monitor the students who took the exam from home. The restrictions included not allowing students to bookmark an answer to go back to it later and making students address each of their essays prompts one by one. This test-taking system was not only annoying, but it was detrimental to the student’s focus and ability to use vital test-taking skills taught since elementary school.

On paper tests can be extremely helpful in subjects like math and physics, where writing out the math for problems is much easier than trying to show work in the test itself. ALHS’s own AP physics teacher strongly believes in the superiority of on-paper testing.

“The ability to write things out and show your work is easier on paper than it is to type in equations to show your thought process,” claimed Jason Coutts, Physics teacher.

However, for subjects like AP History and English courses, writing essays online is truly much easier than writing one by hand.