AP Students React to 2021 AP Exams


Blue and white graphic of a student taking a digital AP exam.

By Len Beczko, Staff Writer

AP testing is one of the most important times of the year for many students, and with COVID-19 restrictions, it seemed next to impossible to figure out a way to safely and securely administer them. However, The College Board, the organization that administers the exams, was still was able to figure out a solution – a combination of in-person and online testing. Students at West expressed their thoughts on the benefits and disadvantages of this year’s online testing format.

“It’s a lot less formal. Everything’s online, and it’s much easier to take the exam that way. I think a lot of people appreciate that,” sophomore Anna FitzGerald said.

For many students, FitzGerald’s point holds true: taking a test online is much easier than taking it in person. The format eliminates the stress of being in a crowded room full of people, as well as a teacher or other exam proctor constantly staring over your shoulder. 

“I thought it was easier because you could do it at home,” junior David Mocianko said, bringing another perspective.

For many students, doing tests in general in the comfort of your own home is much easier, as it eliminates even more stress from the equation. It makes it easier to calm down for the test and take things at your own pace instead of rushing to complete it and making small mistakes. For the online AP Exams, any issues associated with cheating are taken care of before, during, and after the exam with the new rules and procedures put in place, so for some students, the prospect of taking AP Exams online seems like a good idea overall. 

However, there are some students who don’t believe that online AP exams or classes were very helpful towards their learning. One of these students is Natalia Gladysz, a sophomore taking AP Government and Politics.

“As much as I appreciate the less tense aspects of online learning, I think that it’s been a challenge for all students to comprehend new information,” Gladysz said. “My AP class has been doing their best to memorize new information, and regardless of the teachers’ hard work, I think we still struggle and feel unprepared because of how separated we were this year from an actual learning environment.”

The sentiment holds true for many students that comprehending material is more difficult due to online learning.

“In my personal experience and of friends I have talked with, the lacking connection between the teacher and student makes it somewhat seem as if we students are teaching ourselves; we students are practically tackling an entire AP curriculum with solely the guidance of the teacher,” says Adam Cudzich, a junior taking AP classes at West.

Still, students are quickly getting used to this new norm, and many believe that they will get the hang of it soon. All in all, AP tests have changed a lot to accommodate the current situation.

Sophomore Rudhva Patel puts it simply – “This year’s tests are going to look a lot different for sure.”