AP Testing in spring 2021: Curriculum, advice, and resources

UPDATE (2/26/21) From an email from Dr. Sulaver, Assistant Principal of Instruction:

District 87 will administer Advanced Placement (AP) exams to all students following the primary test schedule from May 3 – May 17. Based on our number of AP students, we may need to bleed into the second/third administration session (May 18 – June 11) for some of our larger exams. All exams will be administered in a traditional paper and pencil format. The College Board has provided several different testing windows, as well as a digital testing option this year. District 87 has decided to offer the exams during this test window, using a traditional paper and pencil format for the following reasons:
  1. This testing window best fits our students’ school calendar. Seniors’ last day is May 14, and even with this test schedule some will need to return to school on Monday, May 17 to complete the AP Statistics and AP Computer Science Principles exam.
  2. A paper and pencil format was chosen for several different reasons:
  • The online version of the AP test is not compatible with student iPads.
  • Last year all AP exams were completed remotely at home. Many students had issues with uploading their tests, which led to considerable frustration on the part of both students and families.
  • Several of the AP Language Tests are only able to be administered at school sites and are not available in the electronic version.
If you have concerns about testing in person and would like to test remotely, please contact Dr. Rebecca Sulaver at [email protected] by Wednesday, March 10. Please note that AP exams are not iPad compatible and technology or technology support will not be provided at home.
Original article:

As March approaches, Glenbard West students begin to think about AP exams. Students who took AP tests last year had an experience that strongly differed from years prior. With the COVID-19 pandemic, the College Board was forced to drastically change the formats of AP exams. Students took their spring 2020 tests completely online, which were much shorter than usual. 

This leaves many students wondering: how will AP exams look this year?

Glenbard West’s Assistant Principal for Instruction, Dr. Sulaver, said that “the curriculum this year would be more similar to what kids have experienced in years past.” The College Board has outlined different testing dates and options for testing in school or at home, and students can view the exam schedule through the College Board website.

Testing will take place during the weeks of May and early June. While it is still unclear what Glenbard West’s administration will decide, as there are three possible testing schedules available through the College Board, Dr. Sulaver said “we feel like it’s best for our kids to be taking the test in-person” as it would reduce the factor of technology issues. Testing in-person would require a lot of planning in order to comply with CDC requirements. Students and teachers should keep an eye out for more information in the upcoming days from Glenbard West.

AP Exams have traditionally started in May, and this year is no different. Mr. Broccolo, who teaches AP European History and AP U.S. History, said students should begin studying “ideally about now.” AP Chemistry teacher, Mrs. Szarzak, emphasized that students should study consistently and “need to set aside time every day” to do so. 

According to Mrs. Szarzak, it is critical that students “start by making sure [they’re] organized.” She advises organizing notes by topics to make studying effective. Both teachers agreed that buying an AP review book is a great way to guide students through their studying process. Many students may not know where to begin, and a book might just be the place to start. Mr. Broccolo does not recommend any specific book to his students, as it is most important to “pick the one or two prep books that you think would help you the most.”

There are plenty of online resources that are available to students as well, such as AP Classroom. Through AP Classroom, students can access AP Daily Videos. These videos are led by AP teachers across the country who offer important insight on the topics covered in AP courses. Students can also benefit from AP Support and National Honors Society tutors through Glenbard West.

AP Exams are around the corner, but there is no need to panic. Use your resources and remember Mrs. Szarzak’s advice: “The exam is not nearly about how much you know, but it’s about how much you can do with what you know.”