CollegeBoard shouldn't be keeping students up at 2am to take an AP test

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Collegeboard has argued that time zones prevent the AP exams from being adequately scheduled for students in different parts of the world. While we understand that the COVID-19 situation rules out traditional exam procedures, the new AP Schedule (as a result of the COVID-19 situation and Collegeboard’s less-than-elegant attempt at handling time zones) puts students in Asia and Oceania at a significant disadvantage, some tests being scheduled as early as 2AM or 4AM.
Through instating this new exam method, it is clear the fairness of the exams has been severely compromised.


Mr. Packer, the senior Vice President of CollegeBoard, responded to a student on Twitter stating, “[the CollegeBoard] understand[s] this could be inconvenient and hope[s] that families and schools will plan accordingly.” The adverse effects of a stressful exam at 2AM in the morning is not a choice, but Collegeboard refusing to plan with regards to different time zones definitely is.

Lest it be forgotten—a separate international packet, as they have done for years, has always been an option. Late-night testing is a hindrance to student performance, and to expect students to “accommodate” to these circumstances is absurd. Under the exam security policies listed on the CollegeBoard Website, we found the following declaration: “The policies and procedures listed in the Bulletin for AP Students and Parents are designed to make sure every AP student gets the same chance to demonstrate their knowledge on exam day without anyone gaining an unfair advantage.” We agree to this sentiment, and trust Collegeboard understands the irony of the current situation.

On top of the COVID-19 online schooling situation (to which the Collegeboard has admittedly approached with surprising professionalism), optimal performance hours is another real, scientifically proven factor to student performance. To expect students in Asia and Oceania to remain alert, work through the same questions, and perform at the same level as those operating during their optimal performance hours is irrational. Moving the OPH from mornings and early afternoons to 2AM would take days, if not weeks of adjusting to.

As preposterous as the idea of a “healthy sleep schedule” has become in the modern age, many studies unequivocally support the importance of the circadian rhythm and sleep cycle to the immune system. It is incautious to assume the days and weeks of adjusting and sleepless nights will not have an effect on students despite the widespread cultural miscalculation of its significance. As the global community nears the apex of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is irresponsible at best to expect students to compromise themselves.


The time zones listed below the AP Schedule has notably failed to capture any Asian time zone. It does, however, take Europe (the Greenwhich Mean Time) into consideration. This raises a few questions: if Collegeboard had failed to accommodate for the rest of the world because it is a U.S. based organization, why is Europe an exception, while Asia and Oceania remains unseen? Why is it that this nonprofit organization providing education “around the world” continues to be grossly americentric?

Official reports highlight cheating as the primary reason Collegeboard has decided to give the test at the same time worldwide. This seems counterintuitive, as Collegeboard has already labeled the exam-to-come as virtually un-cheatable. In addition, there is once again the aforementioned solution of creating multiple tests, as Collegeboard has done throughout the years with their international students/timezones in mind. Though it is possible that producing these exams is a feat in and of itself, the new exams are 45 minutes long—4 times shorter than their sister-tests—and many, like AP Literature or AP Language and Composition, are just shortened versions of the initial test. It seems reasonable to assume that the Collegeboard already has a database full of such tests, calling the explanation at hand into question.

It also seems entirely possible to schedule tests at a later date to give Collegeboard more time to come up with exams, as they have already demonstrated that this is a plausible solution (there are already two test dates, one in May and one in June). This refutes any argument on the issue of the complication of data, as Collegeboard has already been seen willing to schedule multiple tests, for any worthwhile reason.


As has been made painfully obvious: having separate examinations ensure the accuracy and equality of the exams. There is more. Splitting the hemispheres and assigning different exam dates would also work favorably towards resolving very-feasible technical issues. Collegeboard has been notorious over the years for server crashes in just score-checking. The implications of hundreds of thousands of students connected at the same time, not just checking but uploading material, could be catastrophic. This could easily be remedied with the division of the student load.


A different test—a different, better time. Equality in education. That is what we hope to achieve. Please lend us your signatures