ap english literature exam

ap english literature exam

Strategies for Success on the AP English Literature Exam

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1. Introduction to the AP English Literature Exam

The course also provides for the analysis and writing critiques of imaginative literature by conducting careful reading and discussion of literary works. The discussion places emphasis on the individual’s personal rapport with great literature and creates new meanings by responding to in-depth understanding of the authors’ rhetoric, form, and genre. Through the writing of critical essays, creative writing, and approaching literature from different theoretical perspectives, students during the course of the school year develop expertise in critical analyses, interpreting literature on a deeper level than before. For some students, this course will also offer an opportunity to earn college credit while still in high school.

AP English Literature and Composition examines a variety of genres: prose fiction, poetry, and drama. This is done through reading a variety of selections representing a variety of authors from differing time periods, written in several major and minor literary styles. The course is designed to increase students’ awareness of creative impulse, shaping forces of art, relationship of form and meaning, emotional and intellectual enjoyment, and problems involved in the interpretation of literature.

2. Key Skills and Knowledge Areas Tested

The complex skills of answering AP Exam questions will improve essay-writing skills and they will prepare for any AP Exam question that could be asked of them. The table above shows the areas that are tested in the exam and the type of questions targeted in these areas. In order to score high on the AP English Literature Exam, one must be able to read and write with expert understanding on nearly any piece of literature. The ideal AP student is a critical reader and writing is a second nature to them. When students understand that the purpose of the AP Exam is to measure their ability to think and write critically, they will prepare for the exam in an entirely different way. Instead of studying a list of facts or a formula, they need to practice writing an essay and they need to read and critique a different literature.

The AP English Literature Exam is rigorous but challenging. Many students who complete this course will take the exam at the end of the year. They may have completed the other requirements for AP English Literature at their particular school, but still need to prepare for the exam. Preparing for the AP English Literature Exam is much different from preparing for a typical English test.

3. Effective Study Techniques and Resources

As we said before, the AP English Literature exam is a comprehensive examination that will challenge you to read great literature closely and critically. The techniques that we teach you must be practiced regularly, and with great rigor. There are no shortcuts you can take—i.e., no “one hour” television shows, or dubious online cheats—that can substitute for regular, careful, critical reading of great literature. The specific study techniques that will lead to success on the AP English Literature exam are grounded in these two bedrock principles. Daily reading and class attendance are a must. You can’t get this information effectively by asking other students simple facts like “did we read Chapter 11 today?” or “what happened in the book last time?” Ask any AP English Literature teacher—we know that we are asking a lot from you with this course and this exam. That is why we are providing you this information ahead of time—so that you can prepare effectively. Worry not! If you do the work, you will get a fantastic education. And if you get a good education, great test scores are sure to follow. Good luck!

Strategies for success on the AP English Literature Exam discusses the various ways you can study for this challenging exam. We will describe some key study resources and reading lists that will serve as excellent starting points for you as you begin studying for this exam. You will also receive some helpful advice from students who have taken the exam before, and from teachers who have taught AP English Literature, including some foundational techniques that will help you do well on the exam.

4. Strategies for Analyzing and Interpreting Literary Texts

Step 1: Begin with the Title. Titles are important because they announce the work, set the tone, suggest possibilities, and provide preliminary focus to your expectations. How does information supplied by the sounds of a word, its cultural meaning, or its arrangement on a page influence the text’s meaning or our expectations of that meaning? How does that word, phrase, line, section, or chapter contribute to a work’s major thematic concerns, structural pattern, and intensification of meaning? In what way does the title call up the text?

Note: The approach given here is not the only way to interpret a literary text. Many critics and teachers use a number of other interpretational approaches, e.g., reader response, archetypal, psychological, and mythological. This approach is intended only to provide skills sufficient to help you interpret a literary text. The validity of a particular interpretation by you, or by another critic using this or some other approach, will depend not just on employing the method, but on offering a clear explanation, supporting your ideas with specific evidence from the text, and arguing persuasively for your opinions.

The following are basic strategies for interpreting and analyzing literary texts, developed from the close reading techniques required by the AP exam. Learn them, practice them, and they will become familiar to you as tools that you can use to literally “dig” literature.

5. Practice and Mock Exam Tips

Hopefully you have the opportunity to have at least one mock AP Literature and Composition exam before the end of the school year. Besides the way you respond to the distinctive types of questions in the exam, this actually gives you timed practice while planning successful test strategies that you will use later on. Find out from your teacher as soon as possible. With at least a general plan on how you want to spend your time and the time to review as much as possible, you will feel more relaxed and less stressed during the exam itself. Due to the somewhat subjective nature of the grading on the AP Literature Exam, confidence in your remembered material is your friend. Try to use one of the guides with the College Board questions. You will need all the additional practice and guidance you can get. If by chance your teacher doesn’t have two tests ready for all, please introduce the site’s search tool for AP Literature and Composition and share with everyone. Information is updated for the new exam format.

Yes, this is what you’ve heard many times before. But really, no excuses. Taking timed practice exams will give you a basic knowledge and the structure you need to learn how to quickly design a strong and complex response. Review of likely topics can also be done by reviewing our sampling of previous exams, remembering that your teacher will also have college texts with previous prime time exam questions. Contact your English Literature teacher or the department chair for recommendations from professional guides for specific colleges.

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