2021 AP Exams: Expectations and Preparation

Abby Frank, Lead Reporter

As AP Testing for the 2020-2021 school year is wrapping up for some and still on the horizon for others, students have spent a lot of time learning what strategies are effective for them, particularly with this exam format.

With COVID-19 creating barriers regarding testing in school versus at home, the College Board had to adjust their testing schedule to reflect these circumstances. This resulted in three different administrations of AP tests, spanning from May 3rd to July 11th and including both in school and at home options.

When asked for her thoughts about this year’s format, Sarah Hazenfield, Sr., stated, “I think it’s great that they have so many options available and are being accommodating.”

With the school year we’ve had, students are clearly grateful for the flexibility provided by the College Board when it comes to administration styles and dates. The ability to take AP tests in a way that feels comfortable without added stress or concern is certainly an advantage for many.

However, many students have still opted to test during the first administration, which was only available in school. 

Nick Hok, Sr., explained, “I plan on going to school because it will allow me to challenge my skills as a student and how well I studied for the exams.”

The traditional testing method definitely has its own benefits, especially for upperclassmen, because this is the way most students are used to testing and helps provide them with an environment in which they feel more prepared and able to focus.

Additionally, this administration means students will be finished with testing sooner and not continuing to worry about their exams after the school year ends.

In terms of studying as well, students understand that AP exams aren’t something that you can prepare for at the last minute.

Senior Melanie Vlahov explains how spreading out her studying is important when it comes to keeping a positive attitude, stating, “For stress management, I prepare ahead of time to not have to cram at the last minute.”

Vlahov also discussed the methods she’s found to be helpful when it comes to actually understanding the material, saying, “For studying, I use a lot of colors in my notes and rewrite them a couple times to make sure it sticks in my head.”

When it comes to taking AP tests in 2021, students have certainly had to make some adjustments, but overall, the important thing is staying focused and ensuring you give yourself the best possible foundation to express what you’ve learned, regardless of how you choose to take your exams.