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Getting ready for the AP Exam

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1 Getting ready for the AP Exam
Test layout, helpful hints, and test strategies

2 1. Brief Intro. To AP Exam: -2 sections: multiple choice and essay section -Need to know not just what will be tested, but how it will be tested. -tests knowledge and skills in expository writing and rhetoric

3 1. Brief Intro. To AP Exam: -can take language and lit. tests the same year -test is designed by high school and college professors -test duration is 3 hours (180 min) -Section 1: Multiple Choice (60 min)-Counts for 45% of grade; questions

4 1. Brief Intro. To AP Exam: -Section 2: Free response (120 min)- Counts for 55 % of your grade; composed of 3 essays -1) Analysis of passage/Presentation of analysis (40 min essay) -2) Argumentative Essay (40 min: supports, refutes, of qualifies a statement) -3) Synthesis essay (55 min: integrates info from a variety of sources)

5 1. Brief Intro. To AP Exam: -Final Score: 1- Not qualified
2- Possibly Qualified 3- Qualified 4- Well Qualified 5- Extremely Qualified

6 1. Brief Intro. To AP Exam: -Free Response Score (scored from 0-9)
-Criteria for a 9: “answers all facets of the question completely, making good use of specific examples to support its points, and is ‘well-written’ -Criteria for a 0: means you basically wrote gibberish

7 1. Brief Intro. To AP Exam: -Your final score is from 1-5 (Generated from a combination of your scores from the first 2 sections): Process is complicated. If you really want a detailed description of this process see me and I will show you a detailed explanation. -Getting AP Credit: - Need to check with colleges (counselor) to see if school accepts AP credit - 4-5 will get you credit - 3 usually will get you credit - 1-2 will get you no credit

8 1. Brief Intro. To AP Exam: - Test day: Bring comfortable clothes (dress in layers), a snack to eat during break, at least 2 #2 pencils, a few blue or black ink pens (they do care about the colors unlike me), and get sleep the night before.

9 2. Cracking the System: The Multiple Choice Section

10 Passages on the Exam Multiple choice section is made up of 5-7 passages They are followed by 5-12 multiple choice questions for each passage Most works are from 19th and 20th centuries You will probably see one passage that was written before 1800.

11 Passages on the Exam Variety of Passages:
fiction, essays, biography, autobiography, diary entries, speeches, letters, pieces of journalism, literary criticism, science and nature writing, writings about politics or history

12 Passages on the Exam Passages will be varied in types of: Diction
Syntax Imagery Tone Style Points of view

13 Passages on the Exam You MUST focus on: Rhetorical devices
Figures of speech Purpose of writings

14 Questions of Anonymity
Passages missing context clues historical context maybe title explanatory notes Possibly names of the authors

15 The Big Picture DO NOT read the questions before you read the passage.
Why? Because you may filter your reading and ignore important information. Imagine the first question will be, “What’s the gist of the passage?” Questions may try to trick you into identifying wrong answers because you focus too much on a sentence/question.

16 Two-Pass System 54 questions, 60 minutes to complete test, about 1 min. to answer each question Should spend 8-12 minutes on each passage. Make a first pass answering questions that are easy and circling those that are hard.

17 Two-Pass System Steps to take: 1. Answer all the easy questions first.
2. Circle the hard questions. 3. Look a watch to see how much time you have remaining out of the 8-12 allotted minutes. If you’re out of time, comeback after you’ve finished the rest of the passages in the section.

18 POE and Guessing Some people think that guessing can hurt you, but that isn’t true. Your chances of guessing correctly will go up if you can eliminate one or more choices. Imagine that. You should take your best guess as long as you can eliminate even one answer choice.

19 Recap Read the passage for the big picture.
Pace yourself (use the two-pass system) Use POE on every question.

20 Read Sample Passage #1: Henry David Thoreau’s Walden

21 The Analysis Dominant Rhetorical Strategy: analogy that compares the behavior of the ants with that of human being. Dwells on details about the insects to lead us to a revelation about human beings “He’s asking us to see that people are like ants and is commenting on the inappropriateness of associating warfare with grandiloquence and romance.” This is the big picture.

22 The Analysis Big picture questions will ask you to characterize the speaker’s tone, style, or attitude in a passage. Another type will ask you to describe how a particular detail fits into the big picture-what a particular word means in context or how a reader is meant to interpret a word based on tone, style, or attitude in a passage.

23 The Questions (Thoreau)
1) The author’s tone in this passage can best be described as one of A. suspicion and confusion B. horror and shock C. detachment and criticism D. condescension and bemusement E. admiration and empathy

24 The Questions (Thoreau)
Answer explanation: The answer is D. Need to consider the overall meaning or intent of the passage “observer is to the ants as some higher being would be to humans”-this is why condescension is a valid answer Both answers in the choice must be correct; if one is wrong then the whole choice is wrong.

25 The Questions (Thoreau)
2. In this passage, the author exaggerates the greatness of the ants’ struggle to A. exaggerate the greatness of nature B. show the true greatness of nature C. demonstrate the importance of war D. illustrate the fierceness of ants E. suggest the exaggerated greatness of humans

26 The Questions (Thoreau)
Answer Explanation: The answer is E. C and D may have looked good, but were meant to deliberately trap readers who didn’t pay attention to the big picture.

27 Details and the Big Picture
Big picture questions usually come at the beginning or the end of the question set. Detail questions are sandwiched in between.

28 The Questions (Thoreau)
3. In lines 1-2, Thoreau changes “wood-pile” to “pile of stumps” because he wants to A. enhance the scene of realism in the passage B. trivialize the setting of the action C. be thoroughly truthful in his depiction D. create a sense of drama E. make the setting more natural

29 The Questions (Thoreau)
Answer Explanation: Eliminate A, C, and E; from the big picture you know these answers aren’t valid If you got the first two questions correct, B would have been a choice that reinforced your confidence. Your answers should match each other.

30 The Questions (Thoreau)
4. All of the following humorously aggrandize the battle EXCEPT A. it was not a duellum, but a bellum (line 8) B. the hills and the vales of my wood-yard (lines 11-12) C. human soldiers never fought so resolutely (line 20) D. whose mother had charged him to return with his shield or upon it (lines 37-39) E. Or perchance he was some Achilles (line 40)

31 The Questions (Thoreau)
Answer Explanation: The answer is C. It is almost the only line in the passage that could be considered not tinged with humor.

32 The Questions (Thoreau)
The Details: Don’t read the passage over for details. As you come to detail questions (dealing with specific lines) go back and reread more closely. ALWAYS reread those lines. Questions that refer to words or lines in the same passage be sure to “read around the lines.”

33 The Questions (Thoreau)
The Details (con.) Most non-big picture questions focus on detailed info. from passage. Do NOT go back and read large portions of the text.

34 The Questions (Thoreau)
5. In context, “pertinacity” (line 31) most nearly means A. pertinence B. loyalty C. perspicacity D. obstinacy E. attentiveness

35 The Questions (Thoreau)
Answer Explanation “In context” guarantees that the answer won’t be the first meaning that pops into your head. If you go back and look at the context you should be able to eliminate all answers except for D.

36 The Questions (Thoreau)
6. The phrase “who had nourished his wrath apart” (lines 39-40) most nearly means A. who was hungry for battle B. who worked up great anger in private C. who was only partly angry D. who fought alone E. who feasted alone

37 The Questions (Thoreau)
7. The phrase “who had nourished his wrath apart” (lines 39-40) serves mainly to A. create the impression of an epic tone B. sustain the seriousness of the author’s point of view C. highlight the extent of the hatred between the enemies D. underscore the loneliness of the combatants E. emphasize the cannibalistic nature of the combatants

38 The Questions (Thoreau)
Answer Explanations: Question 6 is a translation question. The answer is B. Question 7 is more of a big picture question. Eliminate B because we have determined that there is playful humanization of the combat of the insects. The answer is A. Thoreau’s aim is to have us understand the futility and insignificance of events in the grand scheme of things.

39 3. Basic Principles of the Essay Section

40 Format and Content of the Essay Section
Essay Section made up of the following: 1 rhetorical analysis essay 1 argumentative essay 1synthesis essay

41 Format and Content of the Essay Section
Time: 2 hours to answer 3 essay questions Need to write in pen (blue or black ink) You are responsible for time management. (You will be given no cues) Plan on spending 40 min. on each essay

42 Remember You are not writing for your teacher. Your reader does not know you. You’ll be graded at least as much on form and writing as on the content.

43 AP Essay Scoring Given a score between 0-9
About 65% of the essays receive a score in the middle range: 4,5,6 Your goal is to have your essays stand out from the rest. Your goal should be to at least get a 6 or 7.

44 AP Essay Scoring Essays are scored holistically.
The readers are individuals who will make subjective judgments. Avoid : Being monotonous Providing a generic essay Doesn’t address the prompt

45 Analysis of the scoring guide
High scoring essays are: Clear and well organized. Use clear examples. Are not mechanical.

46 How to make the reader give you a high score
Half the points you are given come from the content of an essay. Make your essays readable. (legible) If your thoughts are a mess your essay will be a mess. The occasional scratch-out is fine. Too many and then you create a mess.

47 How to make the reader give you a high score
Indent: Indent twice as far as you normally would. Paragraphs should be approximately the same length. Write perfectly…for the first two sentences. Write with pizzazz. Use more precise, colorful wording.

48 How to make the reader give you a high score
Address the prompt.

49 Budget Your Time Spend 40 min. on each essay.
Spend 3-5 min. planning before you begin writing. Save a few minutes at the end for proofreading. You may write your essays in any order. (But why would you?)

50 Quick pointers Write a BRIEF outline.
You should plan to fill 2-3 lined pages in the essay booklet. Write around 3 sentences in your intro. 1st: Thesis 2nd-3rd: contain enumeration of the main points that will support your thesis

51 Quick pointers Do not use identical wording. (intro-rest of essay)
End each paragraph with either a clincher or a transitional sentence. Keep the conclusion short. (DO NOT REPEAT YOURSELF!!!) Invite the reader to reflect upon what you have written.

52 4. The Rhetorical Analysis Essay

53 The First Time You Read the Prompt
The first time you read the prompt identify the type of essay they’re asking you to write and what you’re supposed to do. Underline any directions that the essay gives you. Prompts do not always have a marker to show that you are required to present your analysis in an expository essay, but it will be obvious that you are required to explain

54 The First Time You Read the Prompt
If the prompt doesn’t instruct you to argue, then you will be expected to explain something. Sometimes you need to infer the author’s position, sometimes the prompt gives it to you. First time you read the essay, figure out the author’s point of view and identify rhetorical strategies used.

55 The Second Time You Read the Prompt
You should circle clues or key elements that you know or need to know. Think PAPA. (Persona, audience, purpose, and argument)

56 5. The Argumentative Essay

57 First, a word… For this essay you will be asked to take a stand.
Not only do you get to use “I,” but you have to use it. All that matters is how effectively you argue and back up your position. The first time you read the prompt identify the type of essay they’re asking you to write and what you’re supposed to do.

58 First, a word… Most argumentative essays in recent history have used one of the following phrases: “refute, support, or qualify.” You can easily distinguish between a rhetorical essay and an argumentative one.

59 The first time you read the prompt
The passages for this essay type are usually short. Underline the directions present within the prompt. When you read, begin to formulate a response and the evidence you find should determine the stance you take.

60 The first time you read the prompt
Take the stance that is easiest for you to defend. Your second reading can be fairly superficial. The analysis: This is not a rhetorical analysis, so you do not need take apart the entire passage. At first, your goal is to identify the author’s claim.

61 The Analysis (con.) Next you need to refute, support, or qualify the claim. Clearly decide how you feel about the issue and have examples to back up your claim. Don’t forget to write in the present tense. Use the present tense when addressing the author, text, and claim.

62 Tenses and Misc. Use the past tense only when presenting historical facts. One of the most common errors is using improper verb-tense shifts. Don’t get into the habit of using superfluous words in the introduction. I.e. “in the novel Pride and Prejudice,” “in the play A Doll’s House,” “in the novella Heart of Darkness”

63 Misc. Highlight the use of rhetorical fallacies.
Ad hominem, non sequitur, etc.

64 6. The Synthesis Essay

65 Purpose Purpose behind this essay:
Test students’ abilities to read and evaluate multiple sources and integrate appropriate ones into a coherent, cogent essay. Test to see if students know the rudiments of research paper-style writing Suggested times Reading 15 minutes Writing 40 minutes

66 Purpose behind this essay
Use sources in one of two ways: either to explain something or argue a point Basically you are either writing another rhetorical analysis or another argumentative essay. Tip: Get a clear grasp of the prompt. If you know what to look for, then you can skim the parts that do not pertain to your thesis-and underline the good stuff.

67 The First Time You Read the Prompt
Underline key instructions and other terms. Look for guidelines that discuss sources. Make sure to outline your thoughts

68 The Second Time You Read the Prompt
Probably not as useful with this type of prompt. Time to read-sort of How closely you read the passages should depend on how well you know the context of the topic. Underline anything that supports or refutes the thesis. Once you know what you want to write about underline only what substantiates your points.

69 Time to read-sort of Examine all sources
Put a mark through the one that you do not intend to use. Don't assume that all sources are relevant. It is unlikely you will use them all, but use as many as you can. Be aware of the requirement.

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