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AP Lit tips

Last-minute tips and strategies for the AP Lit exam

Michael Pearl

on 29 April 2015

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Transcript of AP Lit tips

Here are some last-minute tips and strategies!
So you're about to take the AP Lit exam...
The Morning of the exam:
Your goal:
Make sure you bring several BLACK pens.

Eat something substantial. Empty stomachs lead to

Bring your cheat sheet and word list with you to
review before the test begins.
Don't leave a question blank. There is no point deduction for a wrong answer.

Always look for wrong answers and eliminate them first. Your multiple choice section better have lots of crossed-out answer choices.

Keep an eye on the clock. Remember you have 60 minutes. If finishing is a problem for you, skip the questions that take a long time and come back to them if possible. If a passage is particularly tricky, skip it and come back to it.
Multiple Choice (40% of overall score)
Don't waste time restating the prompt in the introduction, especially for Q3.

Make sure you have a separate conclusion, even if it's a single sentence.

Don't start summarizing in panic. Always make sure you're dissecting the language with literary devices and connecting them to the overall meaning of the text.

Don't quote more than a couple words. If you're quoting entire sentences, you are doing it wrong.

Don't misspell any word or name that is given in the prompt. It looks lazy.

Don't call a play a novel. Don't call prose poetry. Keep your genres straight.

Write with big letters. Don't worry about conserving space. Worry about your reader getting mad that s/he can't read your freakin' essay!

Keep track of time. Before you even read a passage, write down 40-minute times for finishing each essay. Nothing is worse than running out of time to do an essay.
What AP readers want in your essays:
Ambiguous and confusing parts of a text are often the most important!

Don't forget to find literary devices and explain how their use contributes to the meaning. (SoD, details, imagery, diction, tone, characterization)

Don't ignore the ending, ever. And don't ignore titles of poems.

If a text seems really easy and obvious, you're missing something. Look for complexity (two simultaneous emotions or motivations).

Don't write that two poems are both similar and different.

Try to write about the whole passage. Show that you can dissect it

Don't say "the author uses tone/diction/syntax/imagery." Always describe what kind of tone/diction/syntax/imagery the author is using.
Remember that when analyzing a text...
If you can manage 52% on the multiple choice
and 5s on your three essays, you should pass.

Pass this exam, and you may never have to take another English class again in your entire life.

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