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AP English Literature - Multiple Choice Questions - Study Guide

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Paul Perez-Jimenez

on 19 January 2017

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Transcript of AP English Literature - Multiple Choice Questions - Study Guide

Prose Passage Questions
Poetry Quesions
Poems will be tricky, but their questions are not too difficult once you know what to look for. There are several types of questions you will be asked to answer. Some of them will require you to have an understanding of the whole poem, while others will ask for a clarification of a certain part.
The Dreadful AP English Literature Exam .. Multiple Choice Questions!
The multiple choice section of the exam contains 4-5 prose passages and poetry selections (typically two of each) with 50-60 questions. The prose passages will be fiction, non-fiction, or drama. You have a total of 1 hour to complete this section.
You will be expected to:

• Follow sophisticated syntax
• Respond to diction
• Be comfortable with upper-level vocabulary
• Be familiar with literary terminology
• Make inferences
• Be sensitive to irony and tone
• Recognize components of style
"Which of the following is used to develop the poem?"
This question is asking how a poem has developed from the beginning to the end.

- Cause and Effect: If the poem develops on the effect of a cause

- Argument: If the poem contains an argument that gave it a meaning

General to Specific Examples: Some poems will start off general and become more and more specific as it develops.
"The poem breaks after line __"
This one is usually pretty simple. It is asking when a poem encounters a change that makes it seem to be of a different from the previous stanzas. An example could be a flashback.
The "all... except" question.
Example: "The final stanzas serve ALL of the following purposes EXCEPT:"

This type of question is very common, and can be very annoying because you have to consider every choice to eliminate which one is NOT true. Therefore, this question is likely to take more time than others. To answer it, cross out the ones you know are correct, and then use your annotations to eliminate more.
"Line __ is an example of:"
This is a fairly simple question which usually asks for a figure of speech, such as metaphor, simile, hyperbole, idiom, allusion, alliteration, or personification. If you know these, you won't have much trouble.
"The line(s) or stanza(s) are written in [a certain rhyme scheme]."
This question asks which rhyme scheme the poem is using.

Iambic Pentameter - da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM

Iambic Tetrameter - da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM

Iambic Trimeter - da DUM da DUM da DUM

Dactylic Trimeter - DUM-de-de DUM-de-de DUM-de-de
"We can infer that the speaker is _____"
This question is asking you to see the poem in the speaker or author's perspective. You have to put your feet in their shoes to grasp the meaning. The answer choices to this question will typically describe the speaker's personality.
"The organization of the [1st, 2nd, 3rd, or etc] stanzas depends upon _______"
This question is asking how a specific stanza (or stanzas) is organized. For example, in a two-stanza poem, one stanza might be comparing, while the other might be contrasting.

Or, the stanzas might be organized in chronological order. Or, they could be going from specific to general.
The passages used in these exams are college level, so they are fairly difficult. The questions range from inference to definition questions. They will often ask what certain parts of the text infers or what they mean.
Author's Meaning & Purpose
Example: The attitude of the speaker in lines 26-29 can best be described as:

This type of question requires you to look at the passage's specific line numbers. It is asking for the speaker's attitude, so pay close attention to diction. If they were to use unpleasant words, it would mean the author is showing resignation, or desperation, but if they provide happier tones, they can be aspiring or content. Using this, you can eliminate answer choices and ultimately be able to choose the final answer.
Main Idea Questions
Main idea questions require you to get an understanding of the whole passage.

Example: The overall tone of the passage can best be described as:

Think about the passage you just read, did it contain happy information? Was it criticizing something or was it objective. Think about the possibilities before you look at the choices. When you read the passage over, you should have wrote little notes and using those, you can figure out the overall tone of the writing.
Structure Questions
There are structure questions where they as how the passage is set up.
Example: The organization of the passage moves from:

Look at the progression of the passage, was it from past to present, cause to effect or positive to negative? You can figure out the correct answer for this by looking at your annotations and seeing the difference from the first half of the passage to the second half.
Vocabulary Questions
There are factual questions that have to do with the vocabulary in the passage. They give you a word in the passage and ask for the meaning based on the information around the sentence.

Example: The "pully" of the title refers to:

For this type of question, you have to read the entire passage and see what the "pully" means. See the notes that you have previously taken and see what the pully can mean. Does it have something to do with a conflict? Or perhaps a balance? Find the best matching choice as your answer.
Annotating is VERY important. It helps you understand the passage better and helps you look for key details. Annotating will help important parts and comments stand out. It might take some time, but you will save time by doing less reading when referring back to the passage to answer a question.

Elements that should be annotated: theme, style, imagery, tone, symbolism, figurative language, diction, setting, mood, conflict, and character.

Underline phrases that support the topic of the passage. Write comments and questions to interpret the meaning of certain words and phrases. If there are line numbers mentioned in the questions, underline them in the passage/poem.

However, keep in mind not to overdo this, because that will make it difficult to find what you need the most.
Tips For Time Management
- Read the questions before the passage or poem to get an idea of what you should be reading for.
- Don't stay on one question for too long, because they are all worth the the same amount of points.
- Do not spend more than one minute on a question
- Do not just skim the text!!

- Make a lot of inferences and don't be afraid to use diction.

- If you are stuck on a question, leave it blank and come back to it later. Sometimes answering other questions can help you realize something you didn't know before.

- Double-check everything.
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