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AP English Literature and Composition

Exam Overview

❶Read Every Answer Choice:

Exam Format

Course Overview
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Why Do You Need to Read Books for the AP Literature Test?

Readers of the exam who get an essay on a work they have not read typically pass the essay to a reader who has. The scoring guides that readers use to rate the essays are developed by experienced readers on site just before the reading begins each June, using some of the actual exam essays. Since those scoring guides do not exist before the Reading, instructors cannot teach to them but focus instead on encouraging text-based analysis.

The College Board publishes a recommended reading list, while emphasizing that it "does not mandate any particular authors or reading list. In the administration, , students took the exam, with a mean score of 2. Independent research on the academic benefits of the Advanced Placement English Literature and Composition course indicates that not all students receive academic benefits from participating in the course.

In a study with a sample size of over 90,, the authors found that students who took the AP English Literature and Composition course did not receive any increase in academic achievement unless they also prepared for and took the AP test. The authors controlled for over 70 intervening variables and found that AP students who took and passed the English Composition and Literature exam had ACT scores that were 2.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. May Learn how and when to remove this template message. The Journal of Educational Research.

You just need to at least make an attempt to read every day. As you read, try to dissect the depth of the text. Understanding a concept you previously had trouble with is sure to be a huge weight off of your shoulders.

Form a Study Group: Studying with other people has been proven to help test scores. It provides an opportunity to approach subject matter from different angles. Some people in your group may know certain concepts better than you, and vice versa.

One of the best ways to make sure you know the material is to teach it to others. Everyone has different preferences when it comes to studying. Perhaps you like to listen to material to really understand it. The best way to find out what form of studying helps you best is to experiment.

Try different methods to see what works best for you. Plus, keeping a variety in your study routine helps keep boredom at bay.

First, Read the Passages: Yes, you read that correctly. One vital thing to remember is this: On a timed exam, it is important to work at a brisk pace, but do not move so quickly that you make simple mistakes.

Look Deep Within the Text: Was it to inform or persuade the audience? Perhaps the author used some literary devices like allusions or irony. Closely read the passages and you will have no problem identifying the answers to questions that are specific to the literature side of AP English.

Carefully Read the Questions: Take a deep breath and calmly read the questions, dissecting them completely. This will be easier to do for some questions than for others. Once you understand what it is exactly the question is asking, try to recall where in the passage the answer could be located.

Also be sure to read the question in its entirety. Sometimes, the writers of the test will throw in certain words or phrases that lead the question in a different direction. Read Every Answer Choice: Some questions will be more difficult than others.

Some questions are even designed to trip you up. Be sure to read every single word in every single answer choice; sometimes one word can make all the difference as to whether or not an answer is correct. Reread Parts of the Passage: If time permits, reread the parts of the text in which answers are located.

Be sure the information matches one of the answer choices. You may even want to put a star, dash, or some other marking beside portions of the text that contain answers. That way, if you have extra time at the end of the test, you can go back and check your answers more quickly.

Use Your Time Wisely: This is a timed exam. This allows for an average of a minute per question, with some leftover time to account for reading passages.

Luckily, there is no penalty for answers marked wrong—or answers not marked at all—on the AP English Literature exam. Then, if you have some time at the end of the test, you can go back and see if you can come up with the answer. If you are a fast worker, this tip may prove extremely helpful for you. A few of the multiple-choice questions may test your overall comprehension of the passages you read. In the margins of the page beside the passage, jot down a few bullet points outlining the plot progression.

This way you can refer back to your notes when answering questions rather than searching the entire text. Flashcards are a great way to study specific terms or brief concepts. Since you will be tested on your understanding of certain terms, it is important that you know them like the back of your hand.

Try making flashcards of different literary devices and review them periodically throughout the semester. This may seem a bit extreme, but it really helps. Keep them in your wallet, in your purse, or even in your car. Whenever you have a moment of free time, instead of scrolling through Twitter or Facebook on your phone, run through a review of your terms. The most helpful and effective way to prepare for the multiple-choice portion of the AP English Literature exam is by testing yourself.

Prepare early in the semester for the exam. There are several websites out there dedicated to helping you quiz yourself for the AP Literature exam. One of these is Albert. The AP English Literature exam is one big test. Sure, it affects the amount of college credit you receive coming out of high school.

Anxiety and stress can severely affect your ability to function correctly. Over time, it can even start to have negative effects on your mind and body. Some people even develop anxiety disorders. Just remember, your mental health is more important than your grades.

Take a deep breath periodically throughout the test. In this portion, you have two hours to complete three essays. This section tests your ability to analyze passages and dissect them to form logical interpretations to be illustrated in your essays. Here are some tips for nailing the free response portion of the AP English Literature and Composition exam: The first step towards writing an awesome essay on the AP Literature exam is reading and understanding the question.

What are the authors of the test asking for specifically? The answer to this question is the key to writing a well-rounded essay. The scorers of the free response portion want essays that are clear and straight to the point.

Simply restating the prompt will result in a huge deduction of points. Regurgitating the question will show the reader that you may not be confident in your ability to dissect passages. This is an extremely bad impression to give, since the interpretation of text is the basis of the entire course. Come Up with a Thesis: A well-written thesis is the basis of all successful essays. As mentioned previously, do NOT restate the question. Come up with your own unique topic sentence to answer the question.

Make it brief and to the point. You have the rest of the essay to elaborate on your thesis; that will be your body. Organization is key to writing a great essay. Prepare an outline within the first few minutes of writing your essay. A clear and precise outline can help prevent rambling when answering the question in your essay. Use a High-Level Vocabulary: Since this is an exam for an Advanced Placement English course, it is imperative that you use a vocabulary that reflects a higher level of education.

However, be sure that you use your impressive vocabulary in context. Nothing looks worse than using a word incorrectly in your essay.

On the first two essays, you will be asked to read a passage and analyze it according to the instructions given in the question. Use the passage to your advantage. Frequently refer back to specific parts of the text. This will show the readers that you paid very close attention to detail when reading the passage.

The specific references display the ability to close read, which is a skill covered frequently in an AP English Literature course. The third free response question on the AP Literature exam is more open ended than the first two. You will be asked a question and you will be given the opportunity to answer it pertaining to a work of literature that you have read in class. If a particular work of literature stands out to you, prepare early to choose this as the piece to write about in your third essay.

As they say, practice really does make perfect. A good option for practicing free response questions involves searching the Internet for old exam rubrics.

These show you exactly what the scorers are looking for in an essay. The AP Literature section of AP Central , a website created by the College Board to help with studying for exams, has several practice exams for your use.

Take advantage of this and practice writing essays using different prompts from previous exams. Use a Good Writing Utensil: Nothing is worse than getting halfway through an essay and having your pen run out of ink, or your pencil getting smudged. Often, readers prefer the look and clarity of black ink to colored ink or the graphite of pencil.

Take that into mind when going into the free response portion of the exam. Before the free response portion begins, work out how much time you need to spend on each question. It may even be helpful to bring a watch to time yourself on each essay. You need to give yourself ample time to complete each question. However, you also need to be sure that you are not rushing through the questions and leaving vital information out of your essays.

The clarity of your writing is necessary for a good score on your essay. If the reader cannot decipher your chicken scratch, how can they possibly score it? Although this may be acceptable for the multiple-choice portion of the exam, it is absolutely inexcusable for your essays.

You only get three chances to prove your competency in the free response portion. Understand What the Readers are Looking For: As we said earlier, rubrics are a great resource to use when preparing for the AP Literature exam.

They reflect exactly how your essay will be scored. Whether or not you understand what is happening in the passages given to you to read. Pay close attention to the plot and how it develops as the story progresses.

Whether or not you understand the theme of the passage. The theme is the dominating central idea in a work. The more references to the plot that you have in your essay, the better. However, this does not mean restate the entire storyline.

This will bore the reader and make it seem like you are dancing around the question.

AP Literature Course Study Tips

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The AP English Literature and Composition Exam uses multiple-choice questions and free-response prompts to test students' skills in literary analysis of prose and verse texts. The multiple choice section tests critical reading skills. Students read several passages and answer questions about the content, form, and style of each.

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AP’s high school English Literature and Composition course is a rigorous, college-level class that provides an opportunity to gain skills colleges recognize.

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The AP Literature exam is a three-hour exam: It includes one question, hour-long multiple-choice section based on four-five prose and poetry passages, and a two hour free-response section with three essays—one analyzing a poetry passage, one analyzing a prose passage, and one analyzing a work chosen by the student. The essay clearly establishes a metaphorical link between music and memory in the poem and then develops this idea — summoning Harper’s opening lines as .

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Explore essential course resources for AP English Literature and Composition, and review teaching strategies, lesson plans, and other helpful course content. AP English Literature and Composition Course Description (PDF) Writing is central to the AP English courses and exams. Both courses have two goals: to provide you with opportunities to become skilled, mature, critical readers, and to help you to develop into practiced, logical, clear, and honest writers.