Online vs In-person AP Exams


Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

Lindsey Lewis, Staff Writer

Flashback to last spring. You’re sitting in the comfort of your room at your desk with your computer and notes, ready to take an AP test. Luckily, the College Board moved the tests online and shortened them, so there is less to stress about. Summer is about to start, and Zoom attendance isn’t mandatory; life is good. But then the alarm sounds. You look up to find you’re actually sitting in the small gym, surrounded by 50 classmates taking the AP exam. To make matters worse, that alarm was the sound of the first section ending, two more hours to go.

With the advent of hybrid learning in our school systems, the College Board created options for students to take the 2021 AP Exams online or in-person. The harsh switch back to in-person testing after last year’s shortened 45-minute exams is proving to be difficult for some students. 

“I’m taking AP Spanish, Macro, and Statistics exams soon, and only Macro is online. I would way rather take them online because they take so long in person, and it’s a lot easier to just do it from home,” senior Henriette Schmuck said. The extended exam lengths are a significant drawback, compelling some to favor online testing. Unlike last year, online exam lengths are the same as in-person this year; however, in-person testing means waiting to be checked in, filling out answer sheets with personal information, and overall longer times due to the number of students. “I took the AP Calculus AB exam, and we got out way later than I expected. We got there at 7:30, and the test lasted until around 12:30,” senior Fiona Akazawa said. 

Students are not allowed to choose which way they would like to take the test, instead, it is decided by the school. “You can’t take a digital AP Exam unless your AP coordinator has assigned you to that exam. Your school decides whether digital exams will be offered,” the College Board website states. Miramonte designated eight AP exams to take place online, all occurring at the end of May. Some students prefer to finish their exams quickly so they can enjoy the rest of the school year without worrying about testing. 

Whether you end up in the Miramonte small gym or library taking your AP test, or sitting in your room, do your best to prepare and perform well! Soon enough, school will be out, and the stress of test-taking will be an issue of the past.