Students feel unprepared for AP exams this year because of online learning

February 5, 2021


Photo Courtesy: Madison Bonadurer

AP textbooks are stacked on top of each other with a students college board account open.

As AP students are further into the second semester their AP tests creep around the corner and since school is online students are wondering if the AP tests will be too. Despite AP exams being online and greatly modified last minute the prior year, it still seems to be a topic of conversation on it being an advantage or disadvantage if they are online.

The environment of learning this year has been entirely different than any other school year for students since learning has had to be modified and changed. This new learning environment has been a blessing or a curse for a lot of AP students. It can be worrying since the AP tests are coming up soon. The students have decided to share if they feel this is an advantage they have been given or if it is the complete opposite.

There are a lot of differences in learning AP material in the classroom and online, according to the students. In the classroom it was a lot more motivating because “the class became a community, we all were supportive and we motivated each other to study and learn all the material.” and now it seems like, “we’ve all become independent and attempt to motivate ourselves now,” says Luna Manriquez-Moran.

Nelson Oliveros also says, “Before COVID, being in class involved collaborating with both the teacher and peers which was truly beneficial.” This seems to be the opposite for students while online, “While most teachers put in an effort for us to collaborate during all this, it feels different and still doesn’t flow well.” This causes a big difference and how students are learning and if they don’t feel like they are getting a great education as before this can hinder their AP scores which can become worrisome.

The worries that are being expressed by the students about taking the AP tests online are there being too many distractions in their household and potential technical difficulties. For example, Jaylene Gutierrez, says, “We are more likely to get distracted… I have three other siblings in school and that makes learning harder. If you get distracted, you begin to lose focus and you may not get the grade you could have if you were in school.” Focus is very important in order to excel on exams and this can be hard for students with a rambunctious household. Regarding technical difficulties, “It is a little nerve-racking because doing an exam online allows for technical difficulties and could potentially affect the outcome of my AP exams,” says Yesenia Cazares.

This entire school year has been completely different and all we could do is give it our all. We have made it this far despite the tough challenges we have been met with, don’t get discouraged. Make sure to take care of your well-being and take lots of breaks, we got this!”

— Jazmine Coto

There were a mix of answers when it came to asking if the students were ready for their AP exams. Some of the students said they are and even raved about their AP teacher, for example, “I love Mr. Belleso! He is such a good teacher.”  but others have the opposite feelings. Which has been due to lack of motivation, burnout, and the different learning format which has been a struggle to some. “I feel like my motivation has lacked a lot recently the second semester and it’s just the fact of feeling burnt out and overwhelmed,” says Xiomara Aguilar. The learning format before was “better explained,” “spaced out,” and “help was more accessible,” according to Melia Capoccia.

Despite the student’s feeling like they are not prepared, their appreciation for their teachers is beyond words that can be expressed.  They know the teachers are trying to give them the best education possible due to the circumstances with the resources they have and that has not gone unnoticed. “I’ve seen my teachers do anything and everything they can to adjust their in-person teaching style to better fit the current circumstances and that is something truly admirable. It’s watching them work hard for us that motivates me as well because it helps me understand that students are not the only ones struggling,” says Adilene Cisneros Lopez. This is one of the many similar remarks students have made about their AP teacher’s efforts.

When you are living a life you are not used to because it changes so abruptly it can be very difficult. All of these high school students have been going to school for their whole life up to this point but with everything that has been thrown in their path, they have pushed through. The online AP exams are just one more barrier that will be conquered which is possible because students have done it time and time again. If you are worried, stressed out, or have anxiety about passing the exam, Xiomara Aguilar wants to remind you, “All you can do at this point in time is try your best and do whatever you can to reach the score you want…If you pass, that’s great. And if you fail, that’s okay. Everyone has a purpose in life and a score can’t define who you are as a person. So just keep on pushing through and you’ll be able to accomplish whatever you put your mind to.”

Click here for updates on AP Exams

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Students feel unprepared for AP exams this year because of online learning