M-A Community Split on Digital AP Exams

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In May 2025, nine AP exams are expected to become fully digital which brings up different perspectives around campus. College Board announced on their website that, “Paper exams cannot be ordered for these subjects unless students have approved accommodations requiring paper testing.”

This includes: 

  • AP African American Studies 
  • AP Computer Science Principles 
  • AP English Language and Composition 
  • AP English Literature and Composition 
  • AP European History 
  • AP Psychology 
  • AP Seminar 
  • AP United States History 
  • AP World History: Modern 

The Advantages of Going Digital

When writing during AP exams, students’ handwriting often gets messier and harder to read due to the fast time pace. Additionally, many students take numerous writing-heavy AP exams, which can tire students’ hands, and cause more stress. Senior Julianna Maldonado said, “It is more convenient to type. The limited time is part of what makes AP exams stressful, and I feel like this transition online would get rid of some of the stress.” 

With digital exams, students would have access to spell-check and grammar corrections, which is also helpful for students.

AP U.S. History teacher Katie Lavoie added, “It is significantly longer and more tedious to read student handwriting and give my students detailed feedback by hand compared to the process of providing it digitally.” 

“The transition is beneficial because students don’t have to worry about writing legibly or hurting themselves from writing too quickly. The teachers wouldn’t have any issues reading their test,” junior Brandon Mattel explained.

The Disadvantages of Going Digital

An immediate concern for many students is technology problems that could disrupt and cause problems during their tests.

 “My main concern is what happens if something goes wrong with the device. For example, if some student’s computer runs out of battery or the app crashes, those are issues that wouldn’t occur on paper,” Mattal said. 

Cheating is a common concern for teachers. “I have very strong feelings about the idea around test fidelity,” AP Language and Composition teacher David Rosenberg said. He continued, “I’ve already changed how I teach the material in this class based on Chat GPT and the idea that I can’t police outside of the classroom.” 

In most classes, writing is done by hand to practice efficiency and time management to prepare for the AP exams. “In my AP Lang class, most of the things we do are on paper. If we were to go digital, teachers would have to switch everything digitally,” junior Roxanna Meija said.  “I feel like it’s actually harder because, with paper, I could brainstorm and write down what I’m thinking. It feels more real.”

Rosenberg said, “I’ve been teaching AP English for over ten years, and in my experience, having that written portion of the essay is tremendously important for student growth.”

 “There is such a strong connection between memory and the physical movement of writing,”

AP Literature and Composition teacher Lisa Otsuka said. “There is also a personality that comes with somebody’s penmanship.”

For students with learning disabilities, the transition can either be beneficial or detrimental.“I have a learning disability, and I can’t read texts unless I’m underlining and annotating it while I’m reading,” junior Juni Mitra said, “Even though computers have tools to help with it, it’s just not as simple as going in with a pencil.” 

Otsuka added, “It’ll be helpful for students with dysgraphia or trouble with penmanship.”

Due to COVID-19, and the rise of ZOOM and other online platforms, this transition to digital exams feels inevitable. Meija said, “So many things are going online, so it feels natural. But then again, I feel like some things should stay the same”

Rosenberg concluded, “It feels like this class will be the last generation to take tests that are written by hand”

If you want to learn more, check out College Board’s Digital AP Exam FAQ:



Jenna is a sophomore and this is her first year of journalism. She is excited to write about activities and news surrounding M-A and the local community. In her free time, Jenna likes to create art and hang out with friends and family.

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