AP exams start Monday, what students, parents need to know

Millions of students are going to hunker down in front of their computers for the next two weeks taking what could be one of the most important tests they’ve taken.

The AP Exam testing period will run from May 11 through May 22 with about 2.4 million students taking the exams at home, according to The Washington Post.

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The tests, which are normally administered in a room full of students and proctored, will be taken at home due to school closures across the country amid the coronavirus pandemic, The Washington Post reported.

Students may have added challenges this year. Not only the stress that comes with taking the tests, but they may also have distractions like family members or slow WiFi if an entire family is trying to log onto the network at the same time, according to the Post.

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Since the exams, which can count for college credit if the student scores high enough, start Monday, there are things students and their parents need to take care of this weekend to prepare.

The College Board, the group that oversees the testing, says you will need a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone that is running Google Chrome, CNBC reported. The College Board said Firefox, Safari and Edge will work, but no other browsers will launch the tests.

The timing of the test will be different than the standard exam sessions. Instead of being 3 hours each, each exam will be only 45 minutes, concentrating on content that was covered until early March, when schools closed because of the pandemic. Each exam will happen at the same time, no matter the time zone, to deter cheating. That means the exams start at noon Eastern Time and at 9 a.m. Pacific Time.

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Click here to see the schedule.

Students will be allowed to use their books, notes and the internet. But it may not help because of the new questions on the tests, the College Board warned.

Also, don’t think of copying and pasting. The College Board will be using plagiarism detection software, will share the tests with the students’ teachers to determine whether the test results are in line with the test takers’ normal work. This is the first time teachers will be able to see their students’ tests, the Post reported.

The College Board also will watch social media to make sure answers are not shared, according to CNBC.

The group may also “post content designed to confuse and deter those who attempt to cheat,” CNBC reported.

Students, who confirmed and updated their emails by the deadline, should get an E-Ticket with a personalized login and links to exams two days before the test.

They can take practice exams before Monday to get a feel for how to take the exam and submit answers. Also, they can practice submitting the work through photo or text attachments, or by copying and pasting their work to the test. The practice tests will allow the students to figure out what methods work best for them.

They also need to have a checklist to follow for each test. An example can be found here.

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Students and their families may also make a schedule to make sure there’s no drain on the network, the Post reported.

Finally, if students run into technical issues, there will be makeup exams in June, CNBC reported.

Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for that schedule.