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NEWS FLASH: You Can Take Your AP Exams in Your Pajamas

Emily Toffelmire

Written by Emily Toffelmireon March 20th, 2020

I came to College Coach after working for many years in college admissions and high school counseling. As a school counselor, I assisted students in the college application process and wrote hundreds of letters of recommendation, while also helping them and their families cope with any emotional, social, and academic concerns throughout the year. I transitioned from the high school setting to the admissions office when I joined the University of Southern California as an assistant director, reading freshmen and transfer applications and collaborating on admission decisions for over 150 majors, including the liberal arts, engineering, business, cinema, and the fine and performing arts. I subsequently took on the role of senior assistant director in the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, where I coordinated the division's Mork, Stamps, Trustee, Presidential and Dean's merit scholarship selection process, as well as recruitment publications and outreach, and traveled everywhere from Honolulu to Miami presenting to and interviewing hundreds of applicants each year.
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Some students will see this as good news, while others may be less thrilled: CollegeBoard announced Friday that it will allow students to take AP exams at home. Originally scheduled for May, each exam will now be offered twice; those dates will be announced on April 3. In-home exams will be taken via computer, tablet, or smartphone, with an option to submit photos of completed work for those students who may have more limited tech access. The exams will be shorter than usual—just 45 minutes each—and will focus on content that most schools were able to cover by early March. Details regarding the logistics and security of this new model are currently limited, but CollegeBoard is expected to release more information in the coming weeks. They’re also striving to ensure that students without regular internet or device access can complete the exams. To help students prepare, CollegeBoard is offering free remote learning resources, including streaming and on-demand lessons from AP teachers around the country, and examples of free-response question types students can expect on each exam. CollegeBoard also already provides samples of previous AP exams as well as other resources. Of course, students should continue with the syllabus and assignments provided by their own AP teachers. If your school is struggling with adapting to remote learning or taking an extended spring break, we encourage you to keep studying and reading, and to reach out to your teachers to see if they have additional work they can offer you. Questions regarding just how colleges will view these exams, given that scores will be based on abridged curricula, are unanswerable for the moment. CollegeBoard assures students they are working with universities to ensure they will accept exam scores for credit (if that practice was already part of a campus’s policy)—but it remains to be seen how this will play out. We’ll continue to keep you informed as this story develops. In the meantime, students, assume you will be taking the AP exams: study, prepare, and figure out which spot in your home is the most distraction-free for testing. You’ve already put so much hard work into your AP classes, so don’t lose steam now. College-App-Prep-101-CTA_small


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