AP deadline, some exams changed

Students must decide by Oct. 4 to take exams, facing fees if they cancel.

Starting this school year, some of the Advanced Placement exams and course curriculums have been adjusted, along with a major change to the registration deadline.

Students must sign up for their AP exams online through their teachers’ AP Classrooms and pay for each exam by Oct. 4. Each test still costs $94, but if students decide to cancel the test, they must pay a $45 fee.

The payment schedule is currently up on the Diamond Bar High School website and will take effect Sept. 23.

“Signing up for the test is sort of like going in blind,” senior Emily Pavasars said via text. “I feel like the earlier AP test dates force students to take tests that they may or may not be ready for. With having the dates at the end of the year, students can more accurately make a decision that will allow them to pass the test or not take the test if they don’t feel ready.”

In addition, the AP exams for Environmental Science, Biology and Human Geography have been revamped.

For example, the APES exam has 20 fewer multiple choice questions in 90 minutes and one less free-response question in 70 minutes. Scientific and four-function calculators are now allowed on the exam as well.

Additionally, in the AP Biology exam, there are nine fewer multiple choice questions in 90 minutes. Students still have 90 minutes for the free-response section, but they must answer two long and four short-answer questions.

The human body systems unit, which was taught for most of AP Biology’s second semester, was removed from the course curriculum. Although teachers can still cover the human body systems, they will focus more on other topics like biodiversity and evolution.

“I think it’s good to have more time to have the kids learn all the other topics in depth because, at least personally, I always felt like in AP Bio, we were always cracked for time because there was so much to cover,” AP Biology teacher Diana Wai said. “On the other hand…I know that a lot of kids might be disappointed because…they want to learn about the human body.”

Meanwhile, AP Human Geography students taking the exam must answer 15 fewer multiple choice questions.

While there are still three free-response questions in 75 minutes, they are each worth seven points.

Another change made was to the AP Studio Art course, which is now called “AP Art and Design.”

Before the change, students submitted 24 total pieces of artwork based on a concentration (for example, portraits of friends and family).

Now, students submit 15 to 20 pieces that are based on sustained investigation, where they must investigate a theme, concept or idea in their artwork.

In addition, there is also a larger emphasis on writing: students must write an essay about their pieces instead of an artist’s statement.

“I’m excited to see what kids come up with and how the work develops,” AP art teacher Coleen Gee said.

In the new My AP website, students can view their scores, digital portfolios and AP Classroom from any device. In AP Classroom, they can also see their courses’ units and content.

Students can also complete 45-minute personal progress checks that can be taken on paper or online.

In addition, they can answer questions from the AP Question Bank, which consists of 15,000 old AP questions. Their teachers can provide feedback for the students and adjust their lectures based on the students’ results.

“The point of the College Board creating this website and having this opportunity for students to use these free materials is for equal access so it isn’t just the students who can afford to have a tutor…to have extra help,” AP math teacher Latitia Thomas said.

However, teachers are not required to use these resources.

“According to the [Course and Exam Description] CED [binder] AP sent us, if you are currently happy with what you’re doing and successful with what you’re doing in your AP classes, then you should continue doing those things,” AP Literature teacher Kelly Chacon said.