Tom Nardini is a senior at the Engineering Science University Magnet High School in New Haven who has been studying all year for three Advanced Placement tests that he now may not take.

“I’m really debating the merits,” Nardini said. “I’m worried about the new format, not because it seems harder, but because I find it hard to believe that any college will treat it the same way other exams have been treated. “

With COVID-19 making distance learners out of everyone, The College Board has moved the administration of its May AP tests online.

Final details of the new format, were announced Friday.

The online test will focus on skills and concepts from the first three-quarters of the AP course.

This year’s tests will be shorter — 45 minutes each, rather than hours long — and all free-response or essay questions. No multiple choice.

And instead of being taken with pen and pencil at school, they will be taken on home computers or other electronic devices at home.

“We surveyed thousands of students from all over the country, and they overwhelmingly want to test,” said Trevor Packer, senior vice president of AP. “We want to give every student the chance to earn the college credit they’ve worked toward throughout the year.”

Last year, more than 1.24 million students in the class of 2019 took 4.26 million AP exams at public high schools nationwide, according to the College Board, which administers the test.

In Connecticut last year, 56,670 AP tests were taken by Connecticut public school students. Of those, 38,388 received a passing score of 3 or higher. The Class of 2019 in Connecticut logged the second highest passing rate in the nation behind Massachusetts.

State Department of Education officials are not sure how many have signed up to take the test this spring but they say they are pleased that the College Board made modifications for at-home tests and have posted free online classes and review sessions.

“Most importantly, we’re pleased that the College Board is offering assistance to students who may need help with device access and/or internet connectivity,” said Peter Yazbak, a department spokesman.

Yazbak said the department’s primary focus is on student safety, keeping them engaged and providing equitable access to opportunities for continuity of education during in-school class cancellations.

It definitely will be different, concedes, Kristen Record, a physics teacher at Bunnell High School in Stratford. She is teaching three AP physics classes remotely from home. Altogether there are 50 students.

Although the course material is condensed for AP exams, the same courses can earn Record’s students University of Connecticut course credits. After the April break, Record said she will have students practicing free response questions so they can get used to it for the AP test. After the AP test she will complete the full-year coursework for purposes of UConn credit.

It is hard for her to imagine reducing a whole year’s worth of physics into one or two questions, Record said.

Others, she added, find it even harder to imagine boiling down hundreds of years of U.S. history into one document analysis.

Students are worried, she said. Will the question asked be something they have down solid?

“At least kids have the opportunity to try,” Record said.

Erik Martire, the AP test coordinator at Shelton High School, agreed.

At Shelton High, there are 365 AP students registered for over 600 AP exams this year.

Martire would much rather see an an adapted exam to no exam at all given the amount of work invested in the process.

“The opportunity for college credit and to validate their work is still very important to our AP students.,” Martire said. “Teachers and students are already well-informed about the changes ... and they are making use of new additional online resources.”

In Trumbull, Cathy Hilser, chairperson of school counseling, called the new test format uncharted territory for everyone.

Trumbull was planning to administer more that 1,200 exams to 664 students.

“I think in the midst of this global crisis all parties are working to the benefit of students,” Hilser said. “Nobody asked for this and it is refreshing to see that everyone is doing their part to ensure that students are not short changed as a result of what is going on.”

Students seem divided.

Adam Fox, 17, a senior from Danbury High School, is taking two AP classes. One in Calculus and the other in Psychology.

He described himself as worried, but also kind of curious, about the prospects of a two-question calculus exam.

Studying at home, Fox added, is not all that easy, even with Google classroom and teacher assistance.

“But then we get a score of 1 to 5 based on two questions,” he said.

Valerie Fox, Adam’s twin, is taking three AP courses, Human Geography, Language and Composition, and Psychology.

Having already taken four AP tests the traditional way, she is convinced online, at home, and open book will be easier.

As such, her money is on grading being harsher.

“I don’t think it’s fair,” she said. But she also said it’s better than not getting the chance to earn college credit.

Gabriella Mendoza, 16, a junior at Greenwich High School who already has two AP classes under her belt, took four AP classes this year. She can’t imagine how she can demonstrate the knowledge she has accumulated over the past year in a 45-minute test.

“I think the possibility of getting a 4 or 5 is greater,” she said. As such, she wonders if colleges will value this year’s “5’s” as much.

She is planning to take the tests but said she has friends considering refunds. College Board officials said on Friday refunds will be allowed.

Nardini of New Haven, meanwhile, took AP Psychology, AP Calculus BC and AP Language and Composition courses this year. He’s already taken seven AP exams and considers himself a veteran of the AP system.

“It seems foolhardy to even pretend that a 45-minute exam should somehow take the place of a 3-hour sitting,” Nardini said. “I understand that there’s no easy solution to replacing the exams, and that the College Board is doing its best to rectify the situation, but I don’t believe this solution will achieve the desired result.”

lclambeck@ctpost.com; twitter/lclambeck