by Cambree Bernkopf
Students prepare all year for their AP exams. Due to the global pandemic, College Board made the decision to administer a shortened version of the exams online Monday, May 11 to Friday, May 22 with makeup dates in June. A student’s AP test score is what determines whether a student gets college credit for that class or not. There has been a lot of controversy whether the test is fair or not and if students can cheat easily.
This year, the AP Biology exam is a 45 minute test only of two free response questions. The fact that two question responses (or one essay, in the case of English courses) can determine whether a hard-working student gets college credit is a bit surprising. Other AP classes are following a similar route. Senior Sydney Hollingsworth says, “It’s awful! Having just one topic that you have to know is going to lower a lot of scores because it doesn’t show the wide range of knowledge a student may have,” especially over a year’s worth of learning.
Cheating is also another large problem with these tests. Students can easily pull out a cell phone and use it to help them with taking the test or even have other students take it with them. A new report published by the National College Testing Association, the result of a five year study by researchers, says, “Students in online courses have the highest tendency to cheat, with more than 70% admitting to cheating.” The College Board said the tests would be “open book/open note” to help eliminate that temptation. The College Board is also finding students planning on cheating or helping others cheat by using social media and other sources. Trevor Packer, the head of AP instruction for the College Board, tweeted Sunday that AP test registrations have been cancelled for a group of students who were intending to cheat on the exams. The College Board is trying to do all they can to stop cheating and still have testing continue for students wanting to take them.
Some students do like the AP testing format this year and believe the way the AP biology exam was set up is smart. Junior Riley Reynolds says, “I think the way they set it up takes a lot of pressure off of students who were not able to review in the actual classroom and I think it’s a motivator for students to study more on their own since it is solely one question that could make or break their [exam score].” The College Board is trying their best to help students who need college credit and provide the fairest way of doing so.