AP Tests going online


Abbey Hardin, A&E Editor

Online AP tests will be available again to high school students across the country starting May of 2023. Online tests were offered because of COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021 because of the split of students being in and out of school, but for the 2022 tests, they went back to paper only. AP World History teacher Jesse Reynolds says that Online tests during COVID-19 led to the question of “‘why can’t we have an electronic version available every year?’” 

Although there is not an online version for every AP class, the online version of the tests will be available for people taking AP Consumer Science Principles, AP English Language and Composition, AP English Literature and Composition, AP European History, AP Seminar, AP U.S. History, and AP World History: Modern.

Both versions of the test (online and paper) will be available. If pencil and paper is preferred, the option will still be available, but according to information about the test provided by the College Board, there are many advantages to taking the online exam. Being able to go back to a skipped question easily and accommodations like extended time are some of the listed pros of taking the exam digitally. 

Reynolds, though, is more in favor of the paper test.

 “I am a believer in the paper format, but that’s probably because that is what I knew growing up,” he said. “I think that there is benefit in writing out a plan before formulating a response, but that can also be done digitally.”

At LSE, the amount of students taking each test is split about 50/50. 

“For AP World History, I did not see anyone indicate that they wanted to take the digital version of the test,” Reynolds said, “I spoke with the AP US History teachers and they said that it was exactly the opposite for them. They didn’t have any students that indicated that they wanted to take the paper version, so they will be taking the digital test in May.” 

In 2022, 550 schools tried out the new test, and some shared their experiences to the College Board website. Coordinators of the test said that typing essays was easier and faster for students, and the people grading the exams had an easier time grading essays online rather than on paper. 

One of the AP students that took the pilot test said, “It was smooth, the tools were easy to use/intuitive, and I loved that you could go back and forth between questions.” 

When writing by hand, some people can get very uncomfortable, which can be distracting. “I know that I’ve seen students rubbing their hand when they’ve written for an extended amount of time,” Reynolds said. “This can not only slow down their response, but the discomfort can distract them from what they should be working on. In the end, a test taker’s words are the same no matter if they are hand written or typed, so why not offer both options?”