AP Exam Day: My Experience

Christopher Moronta ‘22

Every year students enroll in different AP classes from a variety of selections based on their grade level. These Advanced courses are college-level classes in which students prepare during the year for an exam in which they are eligible to gain college credit. These AP courses are paid for and require hours of studying in order to pass the exam to get the credits desired. This year, however, was very different due to the new online distance learning system in which students had to take classes remotely because of COVID-19. 

As soon as this distance learning began, many questions arose about the AP exam, including its cancellation, its format, and many other questions. A few weeks later the College Board answered many questions, confirming that the exam would be taken online. The exam would be one or two questions in which students would be permitted 45 minutes to complete a response and 5 minutes to submit. AP teachers stepped forward and encouraged students to take advantage of this style of testing. However, over the weeks leading up to the exam, many difficulties arose and the exam playing field became more difficult to handle. The shortened studying and online experience truly changed the game with this new exam. 

When the online AP exam was announced many of my fellow peers were relieved and glad to know that we, in a way, lucked out. We were preparing to take the AP Modern World History exam being that it would be our first AP exam in our high school career. However, preparing for the exam was one of the most difficult parts of this test and course. Although the topics we needed to know were shortened, the information we needed to learn and review was tremendous. The exam was a one-question test meaning possibly anything could be on the exam. Any piece of information was vital in order to be the most prepared for this test. Luckily for me, my teacher thoroughly prepared my classmates and I for this experience.  I prepared for the AP exam by taking each day to read through my textbook on a certain topic and then watching corresponding videos on youtube. Every day was like this for me especially since I only had about a month before the exam. I also made a study outline with my friends which we used to review with each other and in some ways condense the information we already knew. The next step in my preparation was simulating a practice exam. Knowing the information for this test wasn’t enough to be ready. I needed to know how I felt writing a DBQ in 45 minutes. I put myself under test conditions and picked out a random DBQ to write. I finished within 45 minutes and by then I knew I was prepared. 

When it came to the test day, I was very nervous about the exam. Going through a full day of school and then waiting 2 hours to start really made many of us anxious. By that time, other students had taken AP exams for other courses and I heard from many how it went. Many people were upset because of the limited time and their inability to finish or submit. This was due to internet problems, distractions around the house, or a question on an unfamiliar topic. Although all of this was stunning to hear, I tried to block out these negative influences from my thoughts until the exam was finished. When it was about 30 minutes before the exam began, I remember being very nervous and anxious. I was in a quiet room all by myself and just in front of my laptop waiting to take this test. When the exam started I took about 7 minutes to read the documents and outline my essay. I spent about 36 minutes writing my essay with enough time to successfully submit. Now that the test is over I feel completely relieved and proud of myself in finishing it successfully. This test proved to be difficult only because of its limited time and the amount of information needed to prepare. This was a very different experience of testing than what I was used to but also a reminder of my capability to get through tough exams in times like these.