College Board Updates AP Programs

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“For the most part teachers are really excited because of the resources that will be available to the students,” said guidance counselor and AP coordinator Liz Osicki.

The College Board is changing the curriculum of some AP courses and making new resources available to students and teachers beginning this year.

One major change is an earlier exam registration date in the fall, which will be done online, instead of the spring. Another is AP Classroom, or My AP, which provides new online resources to students and teachers.

Most aspects of the AP program will stay the same: exams are held in the first two weeks of May, the $94 exam fee and $37 fee reduction for low-income students are unchanged, and scores will be released according to the usual timeline in July.

“[The College Board] has just made more resources available to teachers and students… and they’re having students order their exams much earlier than they used to,” guidance counselor and AP coordinator Liz Osicki said.

While there are some AP curriculum changes, they are minimal. For example, some courses have been reordered.

“For both AP Macroeconomics and Microeconomics, it wasn’t so much an overhaul of the content; it was just reordering it in a way that makes more sense,” economics teacher Pam Ogilvy said.

All updates to AP courses and exams are listed at

AP exam fees must be paid in Infinite Campus by October 30. Osicki will then order the exams on October 31. A late order or an unused or canceled exam will result in a $40 fee, which will be charged to students and parents.

According to the College Board, a fall registration date improves student success.

“We’ve heard words like ‘engaged,’ ‘confident’ and ‘less likely to give up’ when students register in the fall—and that commitment translates into more students taking the exam and earning college credit,” the College Board reports on their website.

[The College Board] has just made more resources available to teachers and students… and they’re having students order their exams much earlier than they used to.

— Guidance Counselor and AP Coordinator Liz Osicki

Osicki recognizes the benefit of making a commitment early in the year.

“Students tend to [drop AP classes at second semester or decide not to take the exam], but knowing that you have to pay a $40 fee might hinder that,” she said.

Senior Lexi Glova, who has been taking AP classes since her freshman year, disagrees.

“I don’t think the early registration is fair because students and their families need more time to prepare for these types of costs,” Glova said. “Mid-October is still very early in the school year… the AP exams are so much later in the year that it doesn’t make sense to pay so early for them.”

Glova believes that the cancelation fee on AP exams will not impact student commitment.

“A student’s dedication to a class is determined by their own work ethic, not the money they pay for the test. A student is likely to put in the same amount of work regardless,” Glova said.

Ogilvy thinks that there are pros and cons to moving up the registration date.

“For kids, it’s like they’re locked in now,” she said. “Hopefully, students will commit knowing that they have to take the test. However, you don’t ever want to see a kid feel stuck—like they have to do this. They’re not going to put their best foot forward because they don’t feel successful in the content area, so [the new timeline] can be a blessing and a curse.”

Because of the socioeconomic status of most Beachwood students, Ogilvy doesn’t expect fall registration to have much of an impact on BHS.

“Here, I don’t think it’s going to have the intended impact that the College Board wants. Elsewhere, it might,” she said.

As AP coordinator, Osicki will use My AP to organize student rosters and exam registrations. When class rosters are finalized, Osicki will submit the information to the College Board as the school’s exam order before the November 15 deadline.

“We’re reducing paperwork and busywork and making coordinating AP classes and testing easier than ever, from registration through exam day,” the College Board states on its website.

Osicki believes the changes will be beneficial to students and staff.

“For me personally, I think it’s going to help with streamlining the ordering process,” she said. “Teachers can verify their rosters for me so that I don’t order an exam [that isn’t needed]. It will make the data for the tests that I’ll be ordering more accurate.”

In the spring, schools will receive AP exams and ID labels for each student. The ID labels will connect a student’s exam with their registration information, eliminating the need for them to bubble in all their information before the exam.

AP preadministration sessions, which were previously held in the spring, are no longer needed.

“It’s always quite a difficulty to get everyone to attend [the preadministration sessions]… I think not having to hold them will be better for all of us,” Osicki said.

A student’s dedication to a class is determined by their own work ethic, not the money they pay for the test. A student is likely to put in the same amount of work regardless.

— Senior Lexi Glova

Through the My AP website, resources such as personal progress checks, a progress dashboard and an AP question bank is available for students and staff.

Progress checks measure student improvement in each unit and throughout the year, while the progress dashboard helps teachers pinpoint student achievement and areas in which they may need additional support. 

The AP question bank is a database of over 15,000 real AP questions that can be assigned to students.

After completing all 225 AP Calculus AB sample questions, math teacher Jeff Luce can confirm that they are authentic and true to the test.

“I got them done just because I wanted to make sure they were fair and that what I taught in the past was matching what they had, and it was spot on,” Luce said. “I think it’s really well done.”

Ogilvy is also excited to use the practice questions.

“Historically for AP economics, the multiple choice is the area that the students struggle with more,” she said. “It’s hard to find questions that are comparable with what the exam is like, so [the College Board] offering us so many free questions can only help.” 

Glova thinks that the new AP resources will better prepare students for the challenges of AP exams.

“The AP questions can be confusing and manipulating in ways in which the content isn’t being fairly tested,” Glova said. “With this said, students can get used to the AP style questions with more practice available to them.”

The online resources will be utilized differently for each class depending on the teacher.

“You might have one teacher that uses every available resource through College Board, and you might have another teacher that chooses only some of the resources that are available,” Osicki said.

Both Luce and Ogilvy are planning to assign progress checks and sample questions.

“There are a lot of books and other resources, but this is coming right from the official, authentic source,” Osicki said. “This could really help students in their studying and what they are focusing on.” 

To access all these resources, students are given a join code for each AP class they are taking.

“First and foremost, students need to make sure that they have a College Board account and login ready,” she said. “When teachers give out the join codes, the students need to login to their account to get that going.” 

Luce encourages students to familiarize themselves with My AP by logging in and locating their classes and resources.

“As long as you know how to get in there, just going there every once in a while and looking around to get some idea of what the problems are like can be helpful,” he said.

Overall, the AP staff is optimistic about the updates.

“It’s something new to learn, so I think there’s a little bit of that nervousness… but for the most part teachers are really excited because of the resources that will be available to the students,” Osicki said.

“Other than their teachers and what they do in the classroom, there are an infinite number of possibilities for extra help and resources to help students succeed in their classes,” Ogilvy added.

Luce is looking forward to incorporating the new resources into his classes.

“Since I already have a lot of my other resources, I don’t want to just pitch those out of the window because they worked really well in the past,” he said. “But at the same time, I want to use the new resources, too.”