AP Exam

(BookwormNerd13) #1

Hey y’all! I’m a freshman in high school and next week I’ll be taking my first CollegeBoard AP exam. (Yay!) I’m slightly concerned, however, about what to do in regards to my CGM; CollegeBoard rules are incredibly strict. I usually use my iPhone to get data (I have a Dexcom g5), but obviously that won’t be allowed, so I set up my Dexcom receiver in the hopes that this would solve the problem. However, my teacher says he doesn’t think this will be permitted because the rules say “no electronic devices” are allowed. He said this also applies to my “old-fashioned” blood glucose meter, leaving me with no options for checking my blood sugar during the 5-hour test. I also won’t be allowed to have any food with me during the exam, which could be very problematic if I feel my blood sugar dropping.
My teacher says he doesn’t think there’s any way to get accomodations for the test since I don’t have an IEP or a 504 plan. I’m really hoping that isn’t the case, since I’m anxious about having no way to check my blood sugar or treat a low for 5 hours. Has anyone here had similar problems with AP exams or other standardized tests? Does anyone have any advice about how to handle this? It probably sounds silly that I don’t want to go into the test without my CGM/glucometer, since I know there are plenty of people who don’t have access to things like that, but I’ve never taken a test of such importance before and I really don’t want a low blood sugar to affect my score.
Thanks so much!

(Dennis J. Dacey, PWD) #2

Abby @bookwormnerd13,
Contact the College Board NOW, or at least the local person in charge of administering the examinations. Tell him/her it is “medical necessity” and you will be permitted to have with you necessary device for checking [frequently], insulin and delivery device and food. Arrangements will be made - you may need to be in a different room.

Up until a few years ago [until his father retired from administering the exams] our son-in-law had a great Saturday extra job as proctor for students / test takers with special needs. You may even be permitted “extra time” if your condition that day is slowing you down.

Take action now because it may take time to arrange an extra proctor, if needed, and to formulate a plan.

(bridget2113) #3

I have taken two AP tests so far this year and have one next week. I would recommend contacting the college board as you can receive special accommodations for diabetes. For example, I can stop the clock to test and treat my blood sugar. It may be to late, but I would try anyways. Also, keep low supplies and meter under the table and if asked say it is a medical thing, and you need it for your safety. When taking your test you should have breaks in between sections where you should test to make sure your blood sugar is in an acceptable range for testing. Anyways, I hope this helped and you get a 5 on your test!

(allison) #4

i can relate so much because i took the PSAT and they were so strict about it. you need to contact the college board now and talk to your guidance counselor! that’s exaclty what i did and it worked!

(Bonnie) #5

Hi! Congratulations for all your hard work to get through your first AP class! And I can tell, your hard work also to keep your blood sugar management in check, and doing so without asking for any “handouts”. My T1D son is now a junior in college so my experience with this is pretty recent. I agree with the comments already made - you need to ask for accommodations. It’s not a crutch; it’s just the way it is. You will be assigned a different room for taking the test, because students with a variety of accommodations will be in there. You will be able to have your Dexcom and receiver, your glucometer, juice, tabs, etc. You can also ask to structure the accommodation so you have stoppage of time in case of a low.

It may be too late this year to get accommodations in place for this week. But you should still ask. You should talk to your guidance counselor, but ultimately you will have to contact College Board. I don’t know if there’s a makeup date - that might be an option as it might give you the time needed to get the accommodation in place.

And definitely, for next school year, get that 504 in place. Again, this is not because you are looking for a leg up - you are protecting your rights to your health and well-being. In another year or so, you will begin taking the ACT or SAT and you will NEED the accommodations in place for those exams. They will be more likely to give you accommodations IF they see that you have already been availing yourself of accommodations for your other standardized tests.

Best wishes with it all!!

(vdenerson) #6

Hi I have two type 1 kids who both took their tests with special accommodations. This was set up previously and there were absolutely no problems


(deborahlink) #7

An excellent resource for school accommodations and standarized testing is the JDRF School Advisory Toolkit (free from JDRF). Here is an excerpt about requesting accommodations for PSAT, SAT, AP and ACT exams: “In order to address T1D-related problems that can occur during
exams, the student with T1D needs to have “extra breaks”
(five minutes long), “extended breaks” (10 minutes long),
and most importantly, “breaks as needed” (which are granted
as requested by the student, even if in the middle of a test
section) for College Board exams, and “stop the clock breaks
within sections” for the ACT exam.” You do not need a formal 504 or IEP to get these accommodations, but the 504 coordinator at your school may be a good person to talk to about how to get the process started.

(bsteingard) #8

Hi! I’m impressed you’re taking an AP exam as a freshman. We weren’t even allowed to take AP courses until junior year at my school.

I don’t really remember how I got my special accommodations for AP & SAT exams since my parents negotiated all of that for me, but I’ve had to deal with requesting special accommodations for the GRE and for professional certification exams. I had the same issue - no electronic devices (no glucometer) and no food allowed. For the GRE I was at the test center by myself in a room with glass walls so that a) I wouldn’t disrupt the other test-takers with my snacking and b) the proctor could still keep an eye on me. For the the first certification exam I was allowed to take it at work while a coworker from another department proctored it. But for the 2nd one I had quit my job and needed to take it at the test center. That time my accommodations were flat out refused. They can do that if they deem them “unreasonable.” I checked my blood sugar right before the test so I could have a snack or take insulin as necessary, and then I hoped for the best. In that situation I was allowed to take bathroom breaks, so if necessary I could have left for a snack, but I wouldn’t have been allowed to make up that time afterwards.

I think the College Board will be more accommodating. I had mostly good experiences with test-taking accommodations as a highschooler. For my SAT exams my section of the last name alphabet was always proctored by the same teacher and she just sat me at the back of the room so I wouldn’t bother anyone if I needed a snack. And when I was a senior the rules were changed so that I could make up any time I lost treating my diabetes.

It might be too late for this test - the process usually takes several weeks and you need supporting documentation - but definitely look into it for future ones (https://www.collegeboard.org/students-with-disabilities). I don’t think they can legally keep you in the room for 5 hours without breaks, so my advice would be to check your blood sugar at your locker or something during each break and have a snack then if needed. As I recall, my AP exams were scheduled around the regular school day, so taking the exam wasn’t really so different from sitting through classes. If you know who your proctor is going to be, maybe ask if it would be ok to bring in a bag of unwrapped food (you know, so there’s no answers hidden in the wrappers) for them to keep at their desk for emergency use. And find out about the bathroom break schedule and rules regarding unscheduled breaks (if you can’t wait for the break, do you just lose the time you spend in the bathroom or do you forfeit the whole test?). And remember, you are allowed to retake the test (if you can afford the fee) next year. So trust yourself and your ability to manage your blood sugar, try to relax, and just focus on the test. Worrying won’t do you any favors.

Good luck!

(BookwormNerd13) #9

Thank you all so much for your helpful replies! I’m sorry I didn’t update sooner but it’s been a pretty crazy few days, as I’m sure you can guess.
I did talk to my counselor and he and I were able to get in contact with my exam proctor and work out a plan a few days ago. I was able to bring my Dexcom receiver and glucose tablets into the testing room today. Fortunately my blood sugar stayed steady during the test and I felt great about how I did!
Again, thank you so much for your guidance. :slight_smile:

(ginny) #10

Best of luck and congrats on your achievements!

You got a lot of great advice here, I would strongly suggest making sure that they allow you to do what you need to take care of your diabetes. Diabetes is now classified as a disability, and not allowing for reasonable accommodations is a violation of the ADA. You may have to be firm in what you need as a reasonable accommodation.

I took the GRE’s many years ago and ran into issues bringing my pump(!) in, etc… Needless to say I didn’t perform well the first time. The second time I filed for accommodations, which I did have to fight for. Long story short, the second time around with the accommodations I performed much better. Tests are already stressful, you don’t need the added stress of wondering what your blood sugar is doing, or not performing well because of unawareness of low or high blood sugar. You’re academic tests results should be based off your knowledge.

Diabetes was not considered a disability when I was younger, but now that it is I file as having a disability at work. It just ensures that I can do what I need to do to take care of myself without. I have worked as a biologist now for over 15 years, my jobs have taken me to remote locations, and can and have been physically demanding. My advice would be to make sure that diabetes doesn’t hold you back academically, get what you need to make sure you continue to achieve your goals! Congrats again and best wishes!

(ginny) #11

Oops just saw you already took the exam! Congrats!