With AP testing just around the corner, do students feel prepared after a year of online/hybrid school?


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Yvonne Wang, Online Staff Writer

This year is an unusual year for students planning to take College Board’s Advanced Placement (AP) exams. In contrast to the shortened and online format of the AP exam last March, the College Board has adjusted its format once again to respond to the continuing pandemic. While the length of the exam has returned to three hours, students have felt differently about the upcoming exam in May. 

It is hard to focus and retain information without the school environment forcing you to.  Remote since the start of the school year, PDS Juniors Anshika Virani and Bolin Shen said that online learning has created more difficulty for them in terms of AP test preparation, especially with at-home distractions. With classes being held online and a diminishing attention span, it is hard to keep the same level of motivation through these months. Nevertheless, other students have expressed a somewhat different opinion. Junior Anny Shi mentioned that being home has not affected her learning. Despite feeling a little unprepared, she is relieved that there is now more time to review because the exams are now pushed to a later date, a consequence of COVID-19’s impact. Furthermore, the option of choosing between online or in-person testing also gives students greater freedom that prepares them for a better testing environment. 

Teachers responsible for the AP curriculum have also made changes to their own planning of pace and lessons in classes. Upper School history teacher Stefanie Santangelo, who teaches AP Comparative Government, expressed that there were some changes to the way of arranging lessons and activities, which serve to adjust to the online learning environment. Given that it is harder to focus through a screen, she has introduced more group projects and group presentations to mitigate this disadvantage. On the other hand, Foreign Language department chair Madame Farhat, who teaches AP French, said that thanks to the hybrid program, her AP class has seen no major interruption in teaching and learning this year. Covering the same content as pre-pandemic AP exam preparation, her class is progressing at a slower pace because the exam is pushed back to a later date this year. 

Despite the circumstances of COVID-19, students and teachers have been processing content effectively. Junior Meghan Zarish-Yasunas believes that she and her peers are feeling more confident and ready with the help of teachers, who have done a great job in keeping the classes engaging and have adapted to online learning to the best of their abilities. Having survived months of online or hybrid school, students will soon be approaching the intense review weeks. Best of luck to those taking the AP exam in May and June!