Opinion: Off-Site AP Testing Better than Anticipated

Sylvie Call, A&E Editor

As a senior about to leave McIntosh, I have taken 7 AP classes and 7 AP exams. These tests are usually around three hours long with at least two sections, and a massive number of McIntosh students take a variety of AP classes each year. These international tests can determine if students are eligible for college credit, and so they are extremely secure. Due to the nature of these tests, it’s difficult to find a proper way to administer AP tests. For the first time, McIntosh chose to have AP tests taken off campus, as opposed to the former method of taking them in the auditorium. I say that this is a major upgrade.

A lot of students were nervous about taking tests off campus, complaining that having to go to another location would add extra stress and potential for complications. However, testing in the auditorium was always a mess. Even when the tests were at the school, people showed up late, it could be hard to hear the testing proctor, and the desks were a nightmare. The auditorium seats have those small, fold up desks, and that’s not enough room to take a test with. So the school would provide us with large, uncomfortable, awkward boards to lay across the armrests to take our test on.

This year, the administration chose to host AP exams at the Bridge Community Center. The large game room at the facility center had several long rows of tables set up with Assistant Principal Amy Hammock’s podium and a large clock at the front. Students were given considerable desk space to spread out and had plenty of room to write and read through the exam booklets. There were multiple bathrooms available during the breaks, so although there were lines, they weren’t nearly as bad as those of the single bathroom in the auditorium.

Everyone showed up on time to both of my exams this year, and so we were able to get started exactly on time. People could buy snacks from the Bridge if they forgot one. There was plenty of parking, and several classes hosted small breakfasts or handed out goody bags to students. Although the breakfasts and treats have been a tradition for many of those teachers, and as such had occurred in the auditorium lobby in past years, there was more room both inside the Bridge and in the parking lot. Additionally, the Bridge had windows. That may not seem like a big deal, but especially for students who have to take two exams back to back, sitting in the same room for about six hours, it was so refreshing to see the sun.

That being said, nothing is perfect.

“Honestly it was really stressful because I couldn’t see the board that said what time we started,” said senior Austyn Evans. “Since I didn’t know when we started, I didn’t know how close we were to the end, and so I felt really stressed and rushed.”

Making sure that everyone is able to see the clock and the start and stop times is definitely something that should be considered in the planning of next year, but overall, the off-campus testing was a success and absolutely an improvement from the auditorium.