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5 things students need to know when they take this year's AP tests

The tests usually are given in person, but that has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It's AP test time for high school students. Young scholars across Tennessee began taking the online advance placement exams last week. Why is that important? A high score on the test indicates that students are college ready in a particular subject. Local 24 News Weekday Evening Anchor Katina Rankin introduces us to an organization that is giving students some pointers if they're about to take the test.

Many students are preparing to take the advanced placement, or AP, exam. AP tests are college level exams on specific subjects - a one-time test that could potentially earn students college credit and save them money in the long run. But with COVID-19, the tests have changed.

"The exam has been cut down so that the content covers, theoretically, only what kids learned up until the beginning of March. And there's only essays on the test. So, there is no multiple choice," said Fiveable Founder and CEO Amanda DoAmaral.

The exam is usually taken in person. Not so now because of the pandemic. So the CEO of Fiveable, an organization that helps students with AP course work, has five pointers for students getting ready to take the exam.

Number 1:

"Make sure that you are just prepared. Know what to expect," said DoAmaral.

Number 2:

Read the questions closely.

"Answer them all. Do your best to leave an answer for every single one. It's not worth it to leave anything blank," said DoAmaral.

Number 3:

Leave yourself plenty of time to upload.

"They want to ask you a lot of questions so that you don't have time to look at your notes or to google something — which you're not supposed to do. So, you need to make sure you have really, really good time management. Because if time is up and you didn't submit anything - you get zero points," said DoAmaral.

Number 4:

Type your response.

"It's a whole lot easier to copy and paste your response into their exam portal within, you know, ten seconds, rather than having to take a picture of your response, upload it, and then, you know, put it into the actual portal," said DoAmaral.

Number 5:

Stay calm.

"Trust yourself. Just do your best. Put everything you can into those responses. Don't leave anything blank and just be calm," said DoAmaral.

Last year, more than 60,000 students took the ap exam in Tennessee. More than fifty-six (56%) percent passed.

One other tip: Make sure you have everything you need: pen, paper, calculators and fully charged devices.

And, here is some other useful information according to the Compass Education Group.

  • For Spring of 2020 only, traditional AP Exams will not take place. AP Exams will be 45-minute, web-based, free response exams.
  • Students may test in one of two testing windows: May 11-22 (primary testing window) and June 1-5 (make-up testing window).
  • Exams are offered on the same day, at the same time, worldwide; here is the schedule.
  • Students may test with computer, tablet, smartphone, or paper/pencil.
  • Many colleges are conferring credit for the 2020 AP Exams; some are remaining silent; a few are evaluating: https://www.compassprep.com/2020-ap-exam-policies/.
  • The College Board has developed a number of security measures, including making the exams open note, plagiarism detection software, and teacher review of student responses.
  • They are also utilizing deterrents, such as black-marking students caught cheating by canceling AP scores and alerting any colleges that those students have sent AP or SAT scores too.
  • The College Board is attempting to address the digital divide by working with school districts and providing technological solutions for disadvantaged students. 
  • They have also released their testing guide, here, with more specifics regarding the testing platform and logistics for test day.
  • College Board has provided a detailed breakdown of what content will and will NOT be covered in the 45 minute exam. Content range has been adjusted for the new format and to allow for what students likely will have not covered in class due to school closures. College Board is offering additional online resources for self-study and additional supports for teachers and schools.
  • On March 25 the College Board began releasing 45-minute live AP classes on YouTube, taught by current high school AP instructors. These live AP classes are free and available to the public regardless of teacher support.
  • On May 4, the College Board released a demonstration of the testing platform.
  • Students seeking to request makeup exams may do so using the AP Makeup Testing Request Form.

The College Board also released the AP Guide to Testing. Find it HERE.

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