Most AP, IB Testing Back to Pencil and Paper

Last spring, AP and IB testing was severely scaled back to accommodate schools closing or switching to online learning. The AP test changed to a 45-minute online test based only on material students had covered until March, and the six IB tests students normally take were cancelled altogether (students only had to complete coursework in each class to earn a diploma).

This year, AP testing is back to normal. The AP tests are regular, full-length written tests again; however, digital versions of the exam are being offered. 

For IB, students have to take all six exams again, but the exams have been modified. For example, in history students have to write fewer essays on the three tests they take.

“It’s still the same depth [of knowledge being tested], but on fewer topics,” IB History Teacher Mr. Christopher Boyle said. 

Mr. Danny Wilson said some parts of the test that had been paper and pencil are now digital, and the IB program extended the amount of time students have to take the exams. Exams in each subject are traditionally given in three parts in the spring. Now, teachers have until June 1 to give the third part, which is longer than usual.

“They did that for schools like ours, who had late start dates,” Mr. Wilson said. “They could have two more days… two more weeks of instruction.”

AP U.S. History Teacher Mr. Kevin Alexander said he is happy testing for his course has returned to normal.

“My students will take their AP US History exams this year, and I’m thankful they’ll be back to taking a normal paper and pencil regular exam.” 

But testing pressure back, but school still not on a normal schedule, some students feel even more stress than usual in high-level classes.

“The virus has made things much more difficult,” Pre-IB student Breanna Smith said.

Junior IB student Vanessa Palisin said she too has had trouble studying on her own because of the rigorous coursework within the IB program. She has had to find online video tutorials and other materials to help her.

“YouTube is now one of my best friends,” she said. “It has made my workload a little easier.”