For the first time in seven years, College Board changed the 2019-20 AP curriculum and registration date.
The new deadline to register for 2019-20 AP exams is Nov. 1, 2019, although after that date students can still register for the exams through Nov. 15 by paying an additional $40 late fee on top of the normal fee of $94. The previous deadline for registration was Feb. 28, with late fee registration going through March 14.
The four-month change in registration deadline requires students to decide whether they’re going to take the AP exam after less than three months of being in the class.
According to College Board, they made this change because when the earlier date registration was tested in the 2017-18 year, they found an increase in the scores of three out of five on the exam or higher, particularly in groups previously underrepresented in higher scores like minority students, low income students and female STEM students.
AP Psychology teacher, Brett Kramer, believes the earlier registration makes it harder to determine if students will be ready to take the test so early in the course.
“You’re not even half-way through the year yet and you’re supposed to decide whether or not you’re going to be prepared in May for a pretty expansive test,” Kramer said. “I don’t think it makes sense.”
Junior Lily Utt, who is enrolled in six AP classes, believes students will be less likely to sign up at such an early point in the class as it’s already an expensive exam and having to decide so early will be difficult.
“That’s not fair because if you’re only in a class a couple of months, how are you supposed to gauge whether or not you’ll be ready for the AP test,” Utt said. “For families that it’s difficult for them to pay $600 or $100, making them choose to pay that upfront when the student might not actually be prepared to take it when it comes isn’t fair.”
College Board also made changes in AP curriculum that vary from class to class, according to Jennifer Davis, East’s AP Biology teacher.
“I would say it’s more organized,” Davis said. “With this new change, not only did they make it a lot more streamlined with ‘here’s what you need to know’ and ‘here’s what the kids need to know,’ but they’ve also provided a lot more resources that they haven’t in the past.”
With the registration deadline changes also came an updated curriculum, including removing and adding new units while also changing some of their formatting for the AP test. They’ve made the changes based on advances and updates in the fields studied through the courses.
Certain AP tests have varied changes based on the course and curriculum changes.
“They’ve lessened the number of things on the exam for biology,” Davis said. “But just from talking with other AP teachers, well one we don’t know exactly what it looks like, but we think it’s going to be that because they didn’t lessen the time per question it’s going to be a little bit more intense than before.”
Along with the change in curriculum and registration date, College Board has added a new resource to the courses — AP classroom. AP classroom provides practice tests, instructional support and progress checks to prepare throughout the year for the exam.
“I think that AP classroom can be helpful because it gives you tests and questions that are similar to what we’ll see on the AP test,” Utt said. “Hopefully they’ll help because it’s giving us more exposure to AP material at an earlier state whereas last year we didn’t have those test questions until the end of the year.”
The other aspects of AP exams such as the time period the exams are administered, the exam fee and the deadline to pay the exam fee will remain the same.