“It was important that I take this test because it shows academic rigor in my transcripts and it gives me a solid representation of my skills in the U.S. History curriculum,” he said by email.
Some other admissions tests are still offered digitally in China, including the ACT. Administrators said students' ability to take that test have not been affected by lockdowns.
Parents have accused the College Board of being indifferent to the affected students. Students worldwide were able to test via computer in 2020 and 2021, though with universal start times. In China, that meant middle-of-the night AP testing sessions.
“As a parent it is difficult to see your child work so hard for a full year and then not be allowed to sit for the exam,” said Angelique Schultz, who has two students in Shanghai American School.
College Board said it would not be able to offer makeup sessions beyond May. It said it would urge university admissions officers to be flexible.
“The lack of certainty about when large gatherings will be permitted, when testing locations and staff will be available, when schools may re-open for in-person learning, and when exam materials could be delivered without service disruptions and hold times make it impossible to plan a makeup exam administration,” it said.
Junghyok Park, 16, said he prepared all year for his AP U.S. History exam, even as it appeared increasingly unlikely that he and his classmates, many of whom are not allowed to leave their houses, would take the exams.
“Many have been studying half-heartedly in the prolonged wait for a definitive answer," he said.
Although missing AP scores won't directly prevent students from applying for U.S. colleges and universities, many schools in Europe and Asia demand scores for admission, said Marcel Gauthier, the head of Shanghai American School. Some students have flown to other countries to take the exams.
His students, he said, "have been working all year, driving towards one single exam .. and it's a culminating event that they will not get to have.”