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AP Exam- Tips and Tricks

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1 AP Exam- Tips and Tricks
This PowerPoint contains some basic information about the Multiple Choice section of the AP test. Hopefully, it will prove helpful. BIG TIP: You are not penalized for incorrect answers- so answer everything! Try to narrow it down to one or two options, but guessing will not hurt you if you run out of time.

2 AP Exam- M/C Terminology
Stem: the initial part of the item in which the task is delineated—it may be a question, directions, or an incomplete statement. Options: all the choices in an item. Key: the correct answer Distractors: the incorrect options Item set: two or more items based on a common passage, problem, graph, or other stimulus material

3 AP Exam- M/C Terminology
Which of the following best states the subject of the passage? The senselessness of ornamentation. The development of modern machinery. A popular revolt against methods of industrial production. A change in the aesthetics of machine design. The historical development of aesthetics. Question Stem: the task you are being asked to complete Distracters: incorrect options Options: your choices for completing the task Key: correct option Distracter: incorrect option

4 Stem Categories Multiple Choice stems generally fall into one of seven categories: Main Idea Cause and Effect Inferred (contextual) meaning Grammar (and what type, ex.: antecedent, syntax) Rhetorical Devices: either function or definition (and what type, ex.: tone, irony, allusion) Footnotes Writer’s Craft

5 Stem Categories: Main Idea
These questions seek to examine your ability to understand the passage, or a piece of it as a whole. Look for words like: “the author’s purpose” “the passage seeks to” “the main idea” “the purpose of paragraph 3” “the central focus” #44, #49, #50

6 Stem Categories: Cause and Effect
These questions check for your understanding of the causal relationships between elements of or events in a passage. Look for words like: “the reference to” “because” “the effect” “the contrast” “after” #51

7 Stem Categories: Inference (Definition)
These questions ask you to recognize the meaning of a word in context. It is not enough to know what a word means according to Webster. You must understand its definition and how the author used it. Look for words like: “refers to” “means” “the phrase…implies” “the word most nearly related to”

8 Stem Categories: Grammar (type or definition)
These questions ask you to recognize and be familiar with the use of grammatical structures. Look for words like: “refers to the antecedent” “parallel structure” “would improve lines (xx-yy)” Names of grammatical structures (noun, verb, transitive verb, adjective, gerund, etc.)

9 Stem Categories: Rhetorical Devices
These questions test your understanding of various rhetorical strategies and devices. They may ask you to identify the device, or to understand its function. Look for words like: “the tone of (zzz) can best be described” “which of the following rhetorical devices” Names of rhetorical devices in options.

10 Stem Categories: Footnotes
New to the AP Test. Ask you to accurately interpret the information and use of footnotes. Look for words like: “the purpose of footnote 4” “the footnotes suggest that” “which source is responsible for the author’s conclusion that”

11 Stem Categories: Writer’s Craft
These questions ask you to demonstrate your understanding of the writing process. Look for words like: “the development of the passage” “the structure of the passage (or lines) serves to” “the presentation of”

12 A Final Word Remember: They are not trying to “trick” you. If you think the answer is tricky, come back to the question later. Neither are they trying to “help” you. Key/Distracter ordering is random so you are just as likely to have a ABCDE answer sequence as a CCCCD sequence. They are not trying to give you clues or ulcers over the order the answers are in on your scantron. All questions must require the examinee to read the passage before answering. Don’t skip the reading, or you might as well be guessing randomly.

13 AP Exam- M/C Item Stems Looking at the Questions:
Open an Excel File, number in Column A. Column B: Write down the keywords for each question. Column C: For each question, decide whether they are asking about: Main Idea Cause and Effect Inferred (contextual) meaning Grammar (and what type, ex.: antecedent, syntax) Rhetorical Devices: either function or definition (and what type, ex.: tone, irony, allusion) Footnotes Writer’s Craft Homework, Day 1

14 AP Exam- M/C Items Read Selection #2- about the jazz musicians
Look at questions 11-22, and decide which answers are: Definitely incorrect, and why Distracters, and why Correct, and why Done with class Day 2

15 AP Exam- M/C Items On your own: Re-read Passage #1
With a partner: Label answer choices as either Incorrect Distracter Key (correct answer) Indicate why you felt each fell into the category you chose. Done solo Day 2 if time allows

16 AP Exam- Writing M/C Items: HOMEWORK
Read passage #3, about China, and passage #4, taken from a work of fiction. Make notes (handwritten) on your passage: New vocabulary Key words and phrases Important sentences and passages Note points of confusion Summarize important parts of the piece Day 2 Homework

17 AP Exam- MC Stems: levels of question review
Warmup: what questions have you seen on the exam that fit each of the levels of questions? (come up with two or three for each if you can) Level 1 – Literal Questions (“finger facts”) Who, what, when, where, why, how Can be found, explicitly, in the text Level 2 – Interpretive Questions Define, compare, explain, discuss, etc. Textually implicit, requiring interpretation and analysis Level 3 – Experience-Based Questions Justify, evaluate, prove, interpret, etc. Open-ended, going beyond the text Day 3 Warmup: Give me some examples of questions you have seen on the Exam that fit these categories.

18 AP Exam- About Writing M/C Items
Material to be tested is significant, not trivia- based. The vocabulary level is appropriate for the population being tested. (freshman-level college vocabulary) Wording is clear and concise. Trickiness (using subtle but unimportant distinctions) is never productive in questions.

19 AP Exam- Writing M/C Items
Write six multiple choice stems for passage number 3, and six for passage number 4. Select the best five in your group for each passage. Indicate which category each question qualifies as: Main Idea, Cause and Effect, Inferred (contextual) meaning, Grammar (and what type, ex.: antecedent, syntax), Rhetorical Devices: either function or definition (and what type, ex.: tone, irony, allusion), Footnotes, Writer’s Craft Create four distracters and a key for each question. Tell me WHY each distracter is incorrect. Check the reasons given for your distracters against the AP Exam’s distracters if you want to be sure you are “on the right track” Stems are provided on Blackboard to give you a place to start.

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