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Last Minute AP English Language Prep!

Posted on 26 May 2014 by Barbara Swovelin

Before the exam, be sure to review the basics of the AP Language Exam so that you won’t have any surprises. The following bulleted ideas will remind you of these fundamentals and offer some brief advice. I know you have worked hard all year and will want to do your best; good luck! Remember, test takers who are well-prepared will be more comfortable.

  1. MULTIPLE CHOICE SECTION (45% of your score)

    • 1 hour; usually 55 questions.

    • Receive 1 point for each correct response; no penalty for wrong answers.

    • Expect 5 passages with 9-12 questions each (perhaps 4 passages with 10-15 questions each); adjust your time accordingly; usually allow 10 minutes per passage.

    • Work systematically; do not skip around from passage to passage. Answer all the questions for a passage before continuing.

    • Read the questions CAREFULLY.

    • Eliminate answer choices intelligently; never reread a wrong answer.

    • Write on the test! Read actively! Visualize! PARAPHRASE as you read!

  2. ESSAY SECTION (55% OF YOUR SCORE)

    • 2 hours (plus 15 minute reading period); 3 essays; allow approximately 40 minutes for each.

    • Address ALL PARTS OF THE PROMPT.

    • DO PLAN your essays: know what your thesis is (and that it answers the entire prompt), what examples you will use, and your organizational scheme.

    • Save about 2-3 minutes to proofread. Do not make major editing changes. Remember, it’s just a draft.

    • Use a blue or black pen…no pencil or other colors.

    • Finally, never forget the basics:

      • WRITE ON TOPIC

      • USE CLEAR, LOGICAL ORGANIZATION

      • DEVELOP ALL IDEAS AND EXAMPLES THOROUGHLY

      • USE SOPHISTICATED LANGUAGE / STYLE

Good Luck!

Barbara Swovelin is the author of CliffsNotes AP English Language and Composition with CD-ROM, 4th Edition and CliffsNotes AP English Language and Composition 4th Edition. She currently teaches AP and Honors English at Torrey Pines High School in Del Mar, California.

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