Majority opt for home setting for Advanced Placement test


Yeihn Lee, Staff Reporter

Upon finding out that the College Board will offer students online and on-campus testing options for the 2021 Advanced Placement [AP] exams, normally only in May, many students lean toward taking them from home.

AP coordinator Kathleen De La Rosa sent out an email to parents, students and teachers on March 9 in which families filled out a survey choosing between testing in person on the Sunny Hills campus or digitally at home at different times.

Assistant principal Sarah Murrietta stated that in-person testing will have benefits — ones that the digital exam will not be able to provide students with.

“A student will be able to go back and review their answers when testing by paper [and] pencil,” Murrietta said. “The online version does not allow a student to go back once the questions are answered.”

As of April 16, 233 students will take the AP exams in person and 815 students will take them online.  

Freshman Denise Gabrielle Bravo, who is enrolled in AP human geography, thinks that being given the option to take the exams either at home or at school is a good opportunity for students.

“As a freshman who’s only experienced taking an AP class online, I feel as if giving the choice to those taking AP classes of whether or not to take the exams at home or on campus would be appropriate for our situation,” Bravo said. “With everything online this year, learning has not been as efficient or intensive as before, causing distance learning to be more lenient, so it is pretty reasonable that we are given this choice.”

The College Board’s website, for example, mentions that the AP English Language and Composition exam will be offered on paper in early May but as a digital exam in late May and early June.

Junior Daniel Vargas, who currently takes AP Biology and AP English Language and Composition, applauds the College Board’s decision to make adjustments once again to how it traditionally gives out its exams.

“I do like that the College Board is giving the option,” Vargas said. “I think it’s really risky to have a group of students meet for an exam that can be taken online, so in my opinion, I think schools should make it mandatory to take exams at home.”

AP English Language and Composition teacher Randy Oudega disagreed with Vargas’s perspective.

“Some schools are making the decision and all students are doing the same thing, and some school students get to make a choice,” Oudega said. “I think either way we’re going to make sure you’re prepared and make sure you’re going to succeed.”

AP Biology teacher Kelly Kim also agrees with the College Board’s options given what is happening with the coronavirus pandemic.

“Things are very different right now in many ways, so if students feel safer taking it at home, then I think it’s great that they are giving that option,” Kim said.

On the other hand, freshman Aaron Sagum, who is enrolled in AP Human Geography, has already decided to take the exam on campus.

“I’m actually glad that there is an option to actually take the test on campus because I have heard a lot of horror stories about connection issues affecting those taking the test, so I was happy to hear that,” Sagum said.

Furthermore, according to the email Kim received from the College Board on Dec. 18, 2020, the “2021 AP Exams will cover the full scope of course content and skills,” and students will be tested on everything they learned.

Sophomore Robyn Shin, who is in an AP Psychology class, took the AP human geography exam online in May.

“I think this year’s test format is relatively fair,” Shin said. “Last year, no one expected a pandemic to occur, so it wouldn’t have been fair, but we’ve known it for a while now, so I think it is justified.”