Following the College Board’s announcement that 2020 Advanced Placement exams will be taking place online, students may be left with a number of questions regarding the format, content, and how to successfully prepare for this unique testing situation. Breaking down available updates and information, this blog post will provide your student with everything they need to know about the new AP examinations, and our insightful tips on how to study effectively, and achieve desired learning and performance outcomes.
The 2020 AP exams will take on an at-home 45-minute, open-note online format. Each exam will consist of individually timed free-response questions, and be accessible from any device (computer, tablet, smartphone). Exams may be completed via typed responses or through submitting an image of students’ hand-written responses. The College Board’s website includes all exam-specific test dates, times, content, and formats. Importantly, colleges and universities have been supportive of these exam alterations and will continue to award credit for eligible exam scores.
Studying & Test-Taking Tips:
- Content Review – With this new at-home, open-note exam format in mind, students may be quick to assume that formal studying and content review are no longer necessary. While this sentiment of reprioritization in the wake of a new exam format is leaning in the right direction, devoting adequate time to formal studying and content review practices remains essential for peak performance on online AP exams. Considering the restricted time frame for each test and question, ensuring thorough understanding of content that may be covered within each test subject is critical (click here for the full breakdown of specific units covered by each 2020 exam). Continuing to incorporate a solid review of potential topics and information will ensure students feel confident in testable knowledge, and able to develop their thoughts and ideas into more complex free-response answers come exam time. Students can take advantage of resources such as Quizlet, Khan Academy, as well as the College Board’s set of topic and exam-specific review videos to support and enhance their study experience
- Creating a Digital Reference Sheet – While reviewing content, students should simultaneously begin to cultivate a digital reference document. Creating this resource will not only provide an additional opportunity for students to study content, but will additionally provide an organized, key-word searchable compilation of all essential information. Again, this does not imply that content review is not essential. Rather, this resource will help your student leverage the advantages of an at-home exam environment, providing them with quick, clear access to names, dates, and key terms that can be incorporated into writing to make their exam responses more detailed and complete. Students should follow an outline format, sorting essential facts, links to useful external websites, and information in a way that prioritizes functionality rather than including every piece of content.
- Practice Makes Perfect – With the option of completing examinations via typed online responses or submitting photographs of hand-written work, it is important students determine which method works best for them and practice in a way that is consistent with how they will take the official exam. Students should complete a timed practice free-response question from a previous AP exam using each method, and assess their completed responses to decide which method produced more complete, thorough answers and allowed for optimal performance. Once established, students should continue to study and practice within the same preferred format. Gaining this extra familiarity with their preferred response style and the additional timing restrictions will ensure students feel comfortable and prepared on exam day.
Through this unprecedented time, we are here to support your student and ensure optimal learning and success. Please refer to our Online Learning page for the most up-to-date information on the AP and other standardized exams, as well as all relevant educational updates and online learning resource tools.