The pandemic upended the way teachers prepare students and the ways exams are given. Your independent college counselor can show you new options for flexibility and enhanced preparation in 2021. Here are the changes at a glance:
- Due to COVID precautions, students have the option of taking tests in school or at home.
- There are no cancellation fees for 2021.
- Live Review sessions online, featuring AP teachers across the country, will help students review course content and skills before exams. And in-person study and drills with your independent college counselor give you the edge.
College Board wants to help students out
Across the nation, 20% of students have been fully remote learning for the whole school year, with many working one-on-one with an independent college counselor outside of “class.” The other 80% have experienced a mix of in-person and remote learning. This discrepancy has created a unique challenge for AP test administrators. In order to accommodate this situation, test administrators at College Board are offering more options for testing than ever before. You and your independent college counselor benefit from that.
If you’re thinking about skipping out and attempting to log on to take the test on your own — don’t do that. Your independent college counselor can help you with test anxiety, as well as managing time on tests. Test-takers should understand that the AP test coordinator has to approve your request to take a test at home. This means that the teacher, counselor or principal in charge of AP testing at your school is the only one who can authorize you for testing at home. Your independent college counselor can “go to bat” for you, too, explaining why a home test is a more accurate gauge of your performance. Don’t ask your school or AP officials last-minute, though. Plan well ahead of time and ask them for approval to test at home if you’d like to do so.
Prepare your technology
The exams can’t be taken on smartphones since typewritten free responses are required. “Free responses” are like essays, and your independent college counselor or college essay tutor can help with such “freestyle” responses. You will need to install the digital exam application on your computer and your independent college counselor can run practice tests with you to get you familiar with the testing environment. It’s best if students plan to use one computer throughout AP testing this year. This will not be the same digital testing platform that was used for emergency testing in spring 2020. Students will not need to install the LockDown Browser they may use for secure AP Classroom assignments. You will need a reliable internet connection to begin the test and for most of the testing session, but you will be able to continue if you lose connection temporarily. Exam setup will be available 3 days before exam day and must be completed no later than the day before exam day. Consult your school AP testing coordinator or your independent college counselor for up-to-date information.
AP digital testing guide
Digital testing includes a full-length exam that covers the same knowledge and skills as traditional paper exams. You’ll still complete both multiple choice and free response portions. College Board has published a detailed guide of how you should prepare if you are going to take an AP test digitally, and your independent college counselor can review subject areas with you as well as question formats designed to trick you into choosing wrong answers. You can download the full guide from College Board here. Digital testing is offered at home or in school during test administration #2 (May 18-20 and May 26-28) and during test administration #3 (June 1-3 and June 7-11). Schools can choose to mix and match between testing dates and locations, so check with your teacher to see what has been decided. Worldwide, testing will start at 12 p.m. or 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
Tests can be taken on laptops or desktop computers. Mobile devices are not allowed. If you have an unreliable internet connection, the good news is that although you need the internet to begin the test, if your internet momentarily drops during the test, you can continue to take the exam uninterrupted. Students with approved accommodations will still have access to those accommodations.
Beginning on April 8, students will have access to practice questions via a digital format. These practice days will also introduce students to the digital testing format and tools available on the exam. Working with your independent college counselor prior to the actual tests is key for performing at your best potential.
The team at Hawk Education Solutions would love to help you prepare for upcoming AP testing. We are about a month away from go-time, so stay on top of important dates and try to attend review sessions virtually or in-person. Talk to one of our independent college counselors today for valuable guidance. I’m sure you’ll do great!
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