APs in Review


The failed submission label, visible on Bluebook.

Many University Prep students, especially those in classes like Calculus or Quantitative Physics, took Advanced Placement (AP) exams on Mon. May 8 and Tue. May 9, but very few took English or History APs. The math and physics exams are on paper, as is traditional, but the English, History and Computer Science Principles APs are in a new, digital format.

Britten Nelson is UPrep’s Associate Director of College Counseling and the standardized testing exam coordinator. 

“We only had between two and four test takers per digital test,” Nelson said.

Students taking the rarer digital exams had to self-study because of the nature of UPrep’s curriculum. APs like Calculus and Physics were easier to study for since UPrep’s curriculum is similar to the test and calculus teacher Ragini Narasimhan offered practice sessions. APs like English Language and US History don’t match up well with the English and US History courses, so students read textbooks and watched videos to study outside of class. 

Students taking digital APs downloaded a new program from the College Board called Bluebook and took their exams in the college counseling office. The new program had national issues affecting some UPrep students. 

“​​On Monday, the first day of standardized testing last week, there was chatter across the country that the Chinese exam wasn’t working,” Nelson said. “We actually had no issues with it.”

The Chinese exam used a software different than other digital exams.

“Across the country, there were issues with students taking the exams, not finishing the exams, but having the exams submitted,” Nelson said.

UPrep didn’t experience early submission but instead had issues with exams submitting late on Bluebook.

“The issues we had were much more minor so our students were able to finish the test. They were able to press submit, but then they said submission pending,” Nelson said. “It was just really nerve-racking.”

Nelson eventually got an email from the college board, after calling and emailing multiple times.

“Even though it said submission pending in two situations, the tests had submitted,” Nelson said.

Finally, all students taking the digital APs have been able to submit their exams, even though their Bluebook accounts still say the submission has failed. Students will receive their exams back in early July and will see if their self-studying has paid off.