AP Classes in COVID

From virtual to hybrid back to in-person learning, the effects of a changing schedule on AP classes, on AP teachers and senior AP students


Gabrielle Trieloff, Distribution Manager & Staff Writer

Starting Monday, May 3, AP exams will begin. The timers will be set, pencils ready, and nerves ticking. This year, the AP test schedule is divided into three sections starting early May and ending mid-June. The most notable change is the option for schools to offer exams online or in-person. Depending on the exam, students can choose if they take it online or in-person.SHS’s shift from full virtual learning to hybrid and back to a full five day in-person learning environment changed the pace and material taught in AP classes. Rob Last, AP Calculus AB teacher describes his experience teaching an AP course in a virtual/in-person classroom:
“I really try to give my attention to all students and not try to prioritize one group over the other, but I can see my bias for chitchatting coming through and giving more attention to the students I have in class,” he says.
He later adds, “As students came back, there is a lot more honesty in questions and concepts that students are willing to talk about […] So that is a positive in the willingness to ask questions, though I am simultaneously concerned at the existence of those questions. Mixed bag indeed.”

Rebecca Rousseau, AP Literature and Composition teacher, describes teaching at a different pace in preparation for AP testing:
“The first semester especially was difficult, as we only had class every other day. I have cut out many activities […] One good thing is [that] I have more time to prepare students, as our exam will now be the first week of June, whereas in the past, it has been early to mid May.”
While the new schedule has brought more time to study and prepare for the AP exams, for seniors there’s a mixed sense of disappointment, relief, and worry from the test schedule that extends after graduation. For Amy Schlicht, SHS senior and AP Calc (BC), AP Chem, AP German, and AP Lit & Comp student, time management is a concern she has when it comes to the online exams: “I’m worried about the multiple choice question format this year on the digital exams. You aren’t able to go back and forth between questions and must go chronologically,” Schlict says.
She later adds, “The best thing you can do is to make sure to do the work throughout the year so that it’s less stressful at the end […] Watching YouTube review videos and practice questions help quite a bit, as the questions on the AP tests might be different from what you’re used to […] Getting used to the format can make it easier when taking the exam.” Lizzie Moe, SHS senior and AP Calc (AB) and AP German student, describes the added value of taking multiple AP courses in high school:
“I’m glad I took AP courses this year. I would definitely recommend taking multiple in high school. Colleges don’t just look at your grades, but also your course selections–it reflects your dedication to your education. It also may save you some money in the future,” Moe says.
This shift in teaching and learning environments has created a sense of resilience in teachers and students alike.