AP Test Overview

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AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE
AND COMPOSITION
An Overview of the Course
THE COLLEGE BOARD DEFINITION
An AP course in English Language and
Composition engages students in becoming
skilled readers of prose written in a variety
of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical
contexts, and in becoming skilled writers
who compose for a variety of purposes.
This class is basically a writing class. In
fact, it is structured to be (and in some
cases, take the place of) a college
Freshmen composition course.
So the emphasis is on writing and
understanding what makes good writing—
rather than on literature.
In a standard English Literature class, you
read to discover the meanings the writer
creates with his written work. (In other
words, “What does the writer say?”)
In this class, you will be reading to
discover how the writer uses his written
word to create the meaning. (In other
words, “How does the writer say it? What
techniques does he use? And what is the
effect?”)
Besides the reading, you will be writing. A
lot of writing.
This course is structured to give you a chance
to write analytical, expository, and
argumentative essays. You will be given the
opportunity to write both formal and
informal essays.
As you read and analyze other writers’
techniques and styles, my hidden goal is that
you discover your own writing VOICE.
SKILLS DEVELOPED IN AP LANG
Reading:
Analyzing non-fiction and fiction for the effect of
rhetorical strategies used to organize each text
devices of language incorporated within those
strategies
 to develop the argument (position of the writer) and
 to support the points made to prove the argument
Persuasive argumentation, text analysis, and text
synthesis are the three main components of the course.
SKILLS DEVELOPED IN AP LANG
Composition:
Using rhetorical strategies and devices of
language to develop pieces that
adequately support your position
regarding both prose and visual texts.
VALUES AND ADVANTAGES OF THE AP
LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION COURSE
‡Students “enter the conversation”
‡Examine and write about civic issues: use
the mind (analysis rather than
creativeness of literary writing)
‡How to read/write in all academic
disciplines (see similarities in all texts -Why did the writer craft this piece of
writing this way?) -- and write
intelligently about them.
VALUES AND ADVANTAGES OF THE AP
LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION COURSE
‡Practical for every student: a real-world
application of content
‡Teaches how to construct an argument: write
persuasively
‡Teaches the process of writing (with research
and close reading analysis)
‡Skill-focused rather than content focused
(apply your knowledge rather than being
tested over definitions or recall of text
content).
THE AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND
COMPOSITION EXAM
The Exam will be administered on May 13th.
The Exam is three hours in length
--60 minutes for the multiple choice section (to test
the students’ skills in analyzing the rhetoric of
prose passages
--120 minutes for three essay questions (plus 15
minutes to do the reading for the synthesis essay)
THE AP ENGLISH EXAM
Section I - Multiple Choice Questions
45% of grade
54 - 56 questions on 6 readings
60 minutes allotted
THE AP ENGLISH EXAM
55-ish questions
4-5 complicated passages
Prose
 Personal narratives / Autobiographies
 Speeches / Essays
Famous writers / obscure text
(you’ve probably never seen)
 Social Critics
 Essay Writers
 Journalists
 Politicians
THE AP ENGLISH EXAM
Advice on Multiple Choice Questions
 First look at and then scan all the readings
 Note the number of questions associated with each
reading - pick readings with the largest number of
questions
 Answer the easy questions first - there are easy and
hard questions on each reading
THE AP ENGLISH EXAM
Advice on Multiple Choice Questions
Of the five choices…4 are “distracters”
 1 is clearly wrong
 1 is partially wrong
 1 is the opposite of the right answer
 1 is nearly right
 1 is right (key)
Guess… if you can reduce the possible answers
to at least 3 - better 2
If the answer is obvious, it is usually right
THE AP ENGLISH EXAM
Advice on Multiple Choice Questions
New Question - At least one of the readings will
include footnotes and there will be 2 - 4
questions associated with that reading that refer
to the footnotes
THE AP ENGLISH EXAM
Section II - Free Response Questions
55% of grade
3 Questions
135 minutes allotted of which 15 minutes is
devoted to reading provided sources for the
“synthesis” question
THE AP ENGLISH EXAM
‡15 minutes at start of Part 2 for reading
prompts and material
‡Approx. 40 min to answer each question
(120 minutes total)
‡No limited time per essay
‡May go ahead and back to any essay
THE ESSAY PORTION
Each year, the AP English Language exam
includes three essay prompts. The types of
prompts vary from year to year. Typically, the
prompts consist of:
--prose analysis
-- “write an argument”
--the synthesis essay
(But there are no guarantees!!)
STRUCTURE OF AP LANGUAGE FREE
RESPONSE QUESTIONS:
1 synthesis
 mini research paper using 6-7 texts (some visual)
 create argument using at least 3 sources, attribute sources
 e.g. What must museum curators consider when deciding what goes in a
museum?
1 analysis
 non-fiction: analyze how writer creates meaning in text (closest to a literary
analysis essay)
 What does it mean & how do I know?
1 argument
 DCQ: Defend, challenge or qualify a quote (or short passage)
 You are required to qualify (avoids mere summary w/o original thought which
would lower score to 2)
 uses your own knowledge
 must support w/evidence
THE AP ENGLISH EXAM
Section II - Free Response Questions
Advice on Free Response Questions
 Scan all the questions and pick the easiest for you - maybe start
with the “synthesis” question
 Plan before writing and identify examples you plan to use
 Timing - give yourself time for all three essays
 Relationship between short answer and essays
THE PROMPTS
Read the prompts carefully Recognize there is a pattern to the
prompts Read the selection
Write an essay in which you……
Pay close attention to the word following “you”
THE PROMPTS
The passage below is an excerpt from What
are People For? By Wendell Berry. Read the
passage carefully. Then write an essay in
which you support, refute, or qualify Berry’s
argument. Use appropriate evidence to
develop your position.
THE PROMPTS
“Below are excerpts from a crucial scene in
Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar…. Read the
excepts carefully. Then write an essay in which
you analyze the rhetoric of both arguments and
explain why you think the Caesar finds Decius’s
argument more persuasive than Calphurnia’s. You
may want to consider such elements as choice of
detail, use of appeals, and understanding of
audience.”
THE PROMPTS
“The following passage concludes an essay
by Edward Abbey about Aravaipa Canyon
in New Mexico. Read the passage carefully.
Then write an essay in which you
characterize Abbey’s attitudes toward
nature and analyze how Abbey conveys
these views.”
THE PROMPTS
“From talk radio to television shows, from popular
magazines to Web blogs, ordinary citizens,
political figures, and entertainers express their
opinions on a wide range of topics. Are these
opinions worthwhile? Does the expression of such
opinions foster dramatic values?
Write an essay in which you take a position on the
value of such public statements of opinion,
supporting your view with appropriate evidence.”
THE PROMPTS
“The passage below is an excerpt from “On
Want of Money,” an essay written by
nineteenth-century author William Hazlitt.
Read the passage carefully. Then write an
essay in which you analyze the rhetorical
strategies Hazlitt uses to develop his
position about money.”
THE PROMPTS
“The passage below is an excerpt from
Jennifer Price’s recent essay “The Plastic
Pink Flamingo: A Natural History.” The
essay examines the popularity of the plastic
pink flamingo in the 1950s. Read the
passage carefully. Then write an essay in
which you analyze how Price crafts the text
to reveal her view of United States culture.”
THE PROMPTS
“The following prompt is based on the accompanying six sources. The
question requires you to integrate a variety of sources into a coherent,
well-written essay. Refer to the sources to support your position: avoid mere
paraphrase or summary. Your argument should be central; the sources should
support this argument.
Remember to attribute both the direct and indirect citations.
Television has been influential in United States presidential elections since
the 1960’s. But just what is this influence and how has it affected who is
elected? Has it made elections fairer and more accessible, or has it moved
candidates from pursuing issues to pursuing image?
Read the following sources (including any introductory information)
carefully. Then, in an essay that synthesizes at least three of the sources
for support, take a position that defends, challenges, or qualifies the claim
that television has had a positive impact on presidential elections.”
SCORING
1-9 per essay
Combined w/MC, Translated to 1-5 overall score
A 3 is considered a “qualifying” score (passing)
Year
Attempted
Passed
# of 5s
# of 4s
# of 3s
2008
11
7
0
1
6
2009
10
7
0
3
4
2010
11
6
0
2
4
2011
10
8
0
1
7
2012
10
9
1
3
5
2013
8
3
0
0
3
2014
40
14
1
4
9

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