The Modes of Writing – Review

Now that you have presented your modes to the class, please review your classmate’s presentations below for help or guidance as your write your own essay in each mode style.

You may also access this text, which provides an overview of each type of mode of writing. 

You may also watch the video below on the different modes of writing.

Lesson provided by


AP Language and Composition Spring 2018

The Modes Project

Over the next few weeks you will be focusing on mastering the different modes of writing. These are:

  • Classification and Division
  • Cause and Effect
  • Compare and Contrast
  • Process Analysis
  • Narrative
  • Description
  • Exemplification

The purpose for learning these modes is two-fold:

  1. When conducting your readings for this course, you will be able to identify when an author uses one, or a combination of, the modes above. This will allow you to conduct a more thorough analysis of their rhetoric and how they use style and structure to effectively achieve their purpose.
  2. When writing your own essays, you will be able to use or adopt elements of these modes of writing to more effectively achieve your own purpose.

In part one of the activity, you will need to learn about your assigned mode of writing.

In your packet you have been provided a short definition and overview of your mode, as well as three example essays written in the style of your mode. One of these essays is a student sample, and the other two are from formal publications.  There are two assignments you must complete at this point:

  1. Write a rhetorical precis for the two formal essays in your packet. Remember, this should only be a paragraph long.
  2. Teach your classmates about your mode of writing, and walk them through how they would write an essay in that style.
    1. If needed, conduct research and gather examples in order to teach your classmate how to write in the style of your mode.
    2. Let me know which essay you would like to use as an example, or share a new example you find or create so I can print it for your classmates.
    3. Use any technology, samples, or presentations tools you need to teach your peers. Remember, they WILL have to write an essay using the information you provide them!
    4. You presentation cannot be shorter than 5 minutes, but can be as long as 30 if you need it.

In part two of the activity, you will practice writing in each of the modes of writing you learned in part one.

You will be assigned a topic, and for each topic you must write six essays, one in each of the styles. Your topic will be pop-culture, and your prompt is: How is pop-culture a reflection of our current society? Please see the image below for an example of how you should address this prompt in each of the modes essay your must write.

In part three you will collect all of your classmates’ essays written in your mode, review and rank them. The steps for part three of this assignment include:

  1. As a group, you will read and review each essay, providing feedback to your classmates and assigning them a grade based on the College Board AP Rubric.
  2. Rank the essay you have graded, selecting the highest, lowest and best example of ‘average’ from the group.
  3. Be able to explain and provide justification during whole group discussion with the rest of class as to why you ranked these examples in this order. Give specific feedback on why the essays did or did not meet the requirements and expectations for your mode of writing and the level of finesse needed for AP essays.

Click here to access the rubric you will use to assess your classmates’ writing.

In part four, you will choose two of your essays to revise and resubmit for grading.


AP Language and Composition Spring 2018

Practicing for the AP Multiple Choice

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. There will often be more than one right answer, and your job will be to determine the ‘best right answer’.
  4. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Click here for the first set of practice questions.

AP Language and Composition Spring 2016