Each Monday we will be practicing the multiple choice portion of the AP Language and Composition exam – this is much harder than multiple choice tests you have taken in the past, and to ensure that you feel comfortable and confident in May you need to practice practice practice!
There are a few things you can definitely expect of the multiple choice questions on the AP Exam:
- The passages you will have to read will be much harder than excerpts and passages you may have been exposed to in the past. Remember, AP Language is essentially a college level course and as such the level of difficultly in the passages will reflect this.
- The questions will be asked using complex syntax and diction, and you may have to reread the questions a few times to fully understand exactly what you’re being asked.
- There will often be more than one right answer, and your job will be to determine the ‘best right answer’.
- The test is written with the assumption that you are well read and versed in a variety of texts and topics, and will require you to make ‘text connections’. Go ahead and start broadening what you read and are exposed to each day in preparation… you don’t want to sit down and take the test, only to find that you don’t understand half the references needed.
That being said, there are a few things you can do to make this section easier:
- Scan the questions quickly first to determine what types of information you should be paying attention to… look at the key words and phrases in the questions to determine if you should focus on the purpose, rhetorical devices used, vocabulary, syntax, or a mix of these. Don’t spend a lot of time on this – just a quick run through to give your reading of the passage a little more direction.
- WRITE ON YOUR TEST. If the passages are not already broken up into smaller sections or paragraphs, do so and then write a few phrases in the margins summarizing the author’s point. If you see a particularly complex sentence while you’re reading, go ahead and take the time to quickly summarize it for later, as you won’t want to devote even more time to revisiting and rereading it.
- Use process of elimination. There will be answer choices that can be easily eliminated, answer choices that can be eliminated after careful consideration, and then you will be left with the final three or two. Determine which answer is the ‘best right answer’ – pay attention to the specific wording of the answer choice and question. Are one of the answer choices more detailed than the other? Paying close attention to the question, answers and text will be required to choose the ‘right’ answer.
- Make sure you revisit the text, especially if the question tells you which line numbers you should reference. If the question says ‘In lines 5-12’, then go back and reread lines 5-12!
We will continue to practice these questions throughout the semester, so don’t worry if you score poorly to begin with. Below you will find a packet containing more helpful hints and tips, as well as the scoring guide for the AP exam.
Click here for helpful tips and tricks for the multiple choice questions.