Thousands of Students Could Be Required to Retake AP Tests

Helene Onaga &nbsp&nbsp Max Onaga runs into an error while trying to submit his AP test

Thousands of Students Could Be Required to Retake AP Tests

At-home Advanced Placement testing not without issues

Taking an Advanced Placement (AP) test can be challenging. Experiencing technical difficulties while trying to submit a test is another issue. Last week, more than 10,000 high-school students nationwide ran into technical problems while taking their exams. Students were unable to submit their responses due to the inability to upload images.

“I finished the AP chemistry test with five minutes to spare but I had to upload all my answers via photo upload,” said Encinal High senior Max Onaga. “Unfortunately, I was unable to figure out how to upload the photos so I submitted nothing. Zilch.”

The College Board, distributors of AP tests, claim the error was a result of students using outdated Internet browsers. However, the testing portal only accepted JPEG or PNG files, while many iPhones now use HEIC as the default photo format.

Uploading photos for submission wasn’t the only problem students faced. With students testing at home, time management made the process even more stressful. 

“I don’t think it was enough time for people who aren’t tech savvy to upload their photos or documents,” said Onaga. “You had to keep track of your time to consider uploading. So even if you had five minutes left with only two questions, you’d have to decide whether to upload what you had done or risk working on those last two questions and maybe not upload them in time.”

Not all students experienced technical difficulties. The majority of students who took their AP tests submitted them with no issues. Some students even preferred the online format.

“(My experience) went perfectly,” said EHS senior Jaden Taylor. “I submitted it with about one minute left and it was received with no issues. I type better than I write with a pen, so (online) was easier for me. However, I think being in a testing room with no distractions is a nice environment for taking these exams.”

When College Board first announced that tests would be taken at home, not having a distraction-free test environment was a concern for numerous students. 

Some students decided to not take their AP tests at all. Saving money, colleges not accepting AP test scores, and test anxiety were a few of the reasons cited.

“I’d rather save for college than pay for exams that don’t help my credits for next year,” said Encinal senior Audrey Wismar. Wismar will be attending Trinity College in Texas this fall, which will not accept scores from online AP tests.

“I thought it was kind of stupid and I didn’t know how they would format it,” said Senior Kendall Gottleib. “When I found out (it was online) I didn’t like it, so I decided not to take it.”​

Students who had issues uploading their tests can take a makeup test in June or request a refund.


Giavanna Ledesma is a journalism student at Encinal High School.