Greetings Students and Families,
It’s been over three weeks since I wrote an initial note about how to address your Educational and College Admissions goals during the COVID pandemic. Your college admissions goals haven’t changed, but your college admissions plan will most certainly need adjustments. Please find updates and actionable items. I’m not new to online college counseling. In fact, I’ve been serving my clients throughout the US through virtual platforms for years. I’m ready to answer all your questions about College Admissions, College Applications and College Essays in these uncertain times
When I wrote my first note on the impact of COVID-19 on College Admissions, colleges and school districts around the country were just at the decision point of closing their doors to face-to-face learning. Since then, all universities are now operating online as are most school districts throughout our country. Do you need guidance– schedule an Online College Planning Session with virtual college advisor Bonnie Rabin, PhD
Today, I will begin the first of a four-part series providing concrete information with actionable items and provide an informed discussion about anticipated changes in the College Admissions arena.
Part 1- AP Exams -What are the IMPLICATIONS of the changed AP exam format for College Admissions and Undergraduate Study?
Part II- College Admissions – Undergraduate and Graduate School—GPA, Pass/Fail and Incomplete Policies—How to Adapt? Learning is key!
Part III – College Admissions- Extracurriculars Activities during a Pandemic
Part IV – College Essays and the Common App – Should you share your COVID experiences?
COLLEGE ADMISSIONS – THE IMPACT OF THE CORONAVIRUS AP REVISION — Questions about how the New AP FORMAT will impact your College Application
Indeed, as anyone registered for an AP exam has already been notified—the exam format has changed. You don’t need a college advisor to tell you what you already know – but as a former University professor with 30+ years of academic advising experience—I’m going to answer the questions on your minds.
What’s the Impact of the Updated AP Exam Format given the College Board’s response to COVID-19?
AP EXAM CHANGES– Quick Recap (In case you’ve missed this news somehow??)
- The exam will be given virtually
- Test time has been reduced from 3 hours to 45 minutes
- Exams will cover material through March 2020. for detailed cover topics for every exam offered
Here’s the full link:
- Adjusted exam schedules were expected to be announced April 3
- The College Board is providing free preparation resources and livestream classes
Will I learn everything and “pass” the Revised AP exam?
First and foremost, I want to again reiterate that in these uncertain times of the COVID pandemic, the emphasis is indeed upon learning. Regardless of how you perform on an abbreviated exam, you need to learn the material for the subsequent courses in your educational path.
Are you a pre-med student? Incomplete knowledge of Biology or Chemistry can impact your performance while an undergraduate in critically important and required classes for med-school admissions.
Are you a business or engineering student? Calculus and statistics are cumulative content, and knowledge acquired is essential to upper level coursework ahead.
As a former university professor, I spent many many many hours in academic advising – and planning a student’s course sequencing begins in July before the freshman year based on performance on an AP exam. Now more than every you’ll need to step up and assume responsibility for learning the material of these courses whether it’s on the exam or not. You would be woefully misguided to breathe a sigh of relief about abbreviated exam format – as missed content essential to subsequent coursework is what is really important.
What’s the format of the revised AP exams? How can I prepare?
Every year around the beginning of April I provide links to graded older AP exams- with helpful tips for practice. We’re in unfamiliar territory . Your review books aim to reinforce the concepts you’ve learned throughout the year and prepare you for a predictable format. Assume one out of two points here– we know what you need to learn -but the format of the coronavirus AP format will be new and the link above from the CollegeBoard provides some details.
How will my AP exam score be used during College Admissions and on my Common Application?
As I’ve written about elsewhere, AP/IB/AICE scores aren’t a required part of a college applications. In fact, on the Common Application you’ll observe that many colleges allow students to self-report those scores or elect not to do so. I guide each student on what’s best to report or not on their applications on a case-by-case basis.
For test-optional/flexible universities such as NYU or University of Chicago- -AP/IB/AICE exams in addition to SAT II subject tests serve an invaluable opportunity for those who prefer to report these content-based exams over other standardized tests including the SAT I or ACT.
In the revised AP exam model, I think it’s fair to assume that the SAT II subject tests will be an important part o the admissions process in the next cycle. Hold your knowledge until test dates that will be August and September. Nothing short of ideal and I’ll be following this closely.
Many universities are changing their testing policies. More are going to be test-optional next year. The UC system just announced it is changing its testing policies.
Will I earn college credit from an abbreviated AP exam?
Perhaps not and this remains to be seen as a matter of college policy. Every June/July I meet with my graduating seniors to review course selections for their first semester of college. We wait for AP scores to arrive and then discuss the advantages of repeating courses.
Awarding college credit for exams varies across universities and even within universities across departments. Your score is a measure of how much you’ve learned. Those scores are often tied to merit scholarships as well.
Pre-Med, Pre-law and STEM students should be cautious about advancing too fast into 200-level undergraduate courses they may not have acquired a solid foundation in their high school AP classes. We’re in unknown territory and again, I urge students to master the materials for the sake of their educational goals over any desire to earn college credit.
Many universities will offer placement exams – even available to students if their AP scores were sub-par. These take place upon arrival during freshman orientation and sometimes online. For example, Carnegie Mellon offers online mathematics placement for students earning a “4” where the standard for placement of credit is a “5”. Students at all campuses can request a placement exam for most courses in mathematics, science and foreign language to be allowed to advance to the next level. The college may not award credit, but your educational plans and curriculum placement will be clearer regardless of the revised AP exam format.
Universities will likely shift policies. I’ll be monitoring this situation very closely and have more to say in June when I release my annual “What You Should Know about Your Undergraduate Degree and Policies” newsletter.
Do you have questions about your AP exams, AICE exams or whether SAT vs ACT exams suit you? Wonder about SATII Subject tests? Please reach out to schedule an online college planning session.
Here’s several of my previous resources you will find valuable to understanding all things related to AP, IB and AICE exams.
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