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Monday, April 28, 2014

The most wonderful time of the year {part 2}

So, last week, we started off with the first post on AP Exams.

For a refresher on how AP Exams work, here's the summary:
AP Exams are comprehensive final exams that can be taken by students who do or do not participate in Advanced Placement courses (yes, you can take the AP exam if you did not take the AP course). These courses are made to give high school students a chance to challenge themselves with college-level curriculum in high school. Should a student score high enough on an AP Exam (the scale is 1 to 5), they may or may not receive college credit and be exempt from college classes depending on the school.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I'm currently taking AP Literature.

The AP English Literature exam will take place on Thursday, May 8th, at 8:00 AM.

The exam is pretty much the same as the AP Language exam, and is composed of a 60-minute multiple choice section followed by a 2 hour writing period.

In my opinion, AP Lit is harder than AP Lang. AP Lang was about recognizing different writing strategies and being able to employ them yourself. AP Lit is being able to comprehend, explain, and theorize on difficult literature.

The multiple choice will have excerpts from short stories, novels, and poems. Yes, poems. They're pretty daunting, but hopefully you covered them in class and know how to tackle dissecting a poem. If not, check out On Writing Well by William Zinsser. It has a poetry chapter in it, and is extremely helpful. The AP Lit exam features even higher register vocabulary than the AP Lang one, and a helpful Quizlet & another helpful Quizlet chock-full of terms will help you out.

As if your hands aren't cramping already, it's time to switch pencil for pen and head into the essays. For AP Lit, there are a couple different types of essays to be familiar with:

The Open Write - here, you will be given a question and you will get to choose what book you use to write with it. For example, if the question asks for you to elaborate on the use of a symbol in the novel of your choice, an appropriate response would be the coffin in As I Lay Dying. The key here is to pick a book that you are familiar with, understand, and feel comfortable writing about.

The Poetry Write - In this essay, you will be given a poem, and will analyze and explicate it. Practice this. Just do it. You will be so glad you did. My teacher sends us home with an AP write to do almost every weekend, and my first poetry write improved greatly by the time I wrote the last one. Try and do a couple of these. For some sample prompts, see here.

The Prose Write - You will be given a passage here, and asked to write an essay explaining the literary devices used. Often, you'll have a satire one, and will need to answer the three questions of satire (who/what is being satirized, what is the tone of the satire, and what devices are used to accomplish the satire). To help yourself on these writes, the best thing you can do is understand the prompt fully. Check out this Quizlet that I made that has a lot of the terms that will be used.

Oh, I forgot to mention this in my last post. You need both pen & pencil for the AP exams. You will do multiple choice in pencil, but write all essays in pen. Essays not written in blue or black ink will not be accepted, so make sure you have all of those supplies for test day!

PS - to see the breakdown for every AP exam, especially ones that I don't have enough experience to discuss, see here.

xx, Victoria
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Thoughts? I want to read them!
xx, Victoria