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College Board has been working with educators at the high school and college level for a number of years to revise their Advanced Placement exams. One goal of the revisions has been to reduce the amount of memorization required for the test. Instead, the new APs will emphasize deeper thinking skills within a narrower scope of content.
Seven new AP exams will be implemented over the next 3 years. The exams will still have multiple choice and free response questions, though the types of essays will change for certain subject areas. The length of the exams will remain the same.
Curriculum Frameworks are available for each of the affected AP exams. These documents outline the Big Ideas, the Essential Understandings, and the Essential Knowledge points students will need to know for the new tests. These documents also identify specific Exclusion Statements - or information that students will no longer be required to know.
2013 - 2014
More information about the changes to the following exams will be available in February 2013. Students will take these new AP exams for the first time in May 2014.
- AP Chemistry
The course supports student achievement through multiple opportunities to test, evaluate, and refine explanations and predictions of natural phenomena by generating representations and models; developing strategies for collecting data; and
making connections across scales, concepts, and domains.
- AP Spanish Language and Culture
Revisions to AP Spanish Language and Culture stress the various modes of communication and encourage students to explore culture in engaging thematic contexts.
2012 - 2013
In February 2012, you will be able to download a Course and Exam Description document from College Board for the following 3 three exams. This document will include sample test questions. The new versions of these AP exams will be administered for the first time in May 2013.
- AP Biology
Students will now focus on conceptual understanding rather than traditional content and factual recall of material. The purpose of this change is to help students develop higher order reasoning skills better suited to scientific learning and practice. AP Biology instruction should become more inquiry-based, rather than lecture-based.
- AP Latin
One change you will see in the AP Latin exam is the reduced length of Vergil readings, as well as the required prose readings from Caesar's Gallic War. A required Latin reading list is available from College Board.
- AP Spanish Literature and Culture
AP Spanish Literature and Culture revisions promote the formal study of a representative body of literature, written in Spanish, from Peninsular Spain, Latin America, and the United States. The course offers students ongoing and varied opportunities to develop proficiency in Spanish across a range of skills, with emphasis on critical reading and analytical writing. It also encourages students to reflect on many voices and cultures as they read a rich and diverse body of literature in Spanish.
2011 - 2012
New course material, pacing guides, and practice exams can now be downloaded from College Board for the following 3 three exams. The new versions of these AP exams will be administered for the first time in May 2012.
- AP French Language and Culture
This exam will feature a greater variety of diverse linguistic and cultural materials, both print and audio. It will assess student proficiency in the three modes of communication: Interpersonal, Interpretive and Presentational. Sample test questions that align with the new AP French course description and exam are available from College Board.
- AP German Language and Culture
This exam will feature a greater variety of diverse linguistic and cultural materials, both print and audio. It will assess student proficiency in the three modes of communication: Interpersonal, Interpretive and Presentational. Sample test questions that align with the new AP German course description and exam are available from College Board.
- AP World History
The new AP World History exam will assess four historical thinking skills, which should be developed throughout the year during the course. These skills include crafting historical arguments from historical evidence; chronological reasoning; comparison and contextualization; and historical interpretation and synthesis. The multiple choice portion of this exam will offer four answer options, rather than five. A Modified Essay Questions for Exam Practice document is available for download and explains the changes in essay questions between the old and new AP World History exams.
UPDATE: Changes to AP U.S. History were originally scheduled for 2012-13, but College Board postponed implementation. Last year, it was announced U.S. History changes would be effective in 2014, however all mention of updates to this exam are no longer on College Board's website.
European history, art history and physics courses will be forthcoming in the near future.
Students are not required to enroll in an officially designated AP class in a brick and mortar school before taking an AP exam. Online AP course providers, such as APEX, also offer College Board approved courses for high school students.
Homeschool students may take a parent constructed AP-style class or use resources such as those provided by Hippocampus, and still be prepared for the exam. Teacher resources for creating AP course material that align with the new exams are available from College Board.
To sign up for Advanced Placement tests, homeschool families must contact their local public or private school by March and register through the school's AP Coordinator.
January 21, 2020