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09/04/2019

I’m taking AP Lang and Comp this upcoming school year–any advice on how to prepare for it?

QUESTION
I’m taking AP Lang and Comp this upcoming school year–any advice on how to prepare for it?

ANSWER
AP Language is a lot of reading and a lot of writing. If you know what books you’re going to be covering in your class, and you have the time, I would suggest reading them once before you get to them in the class, so that when you have to read and analyze them for class, you have a head start. 1984 is a common book for Literature and Language classes (and one of my favorites) as well as being a good novel to draw from on the AP tests. Crime and Punishment is another one.
Get used to reading non-fiction and essays. Things like Walden and “Resistance to Civil Government” by Thoreau. Common Sense and The Crisis by Thomas Paine. If you get a review book of some sort, there’ll be a suggested reading list. Once you know what books you’re going to be reading in class, find out if those authors wrote any essays, and read them along with the books. George Orwell’s essays, for example, are on the recommended reading list that I have for the AP Language test. The better an understanding you have of the authors, their times, and the movements they’re part of (existentialism, for example, is something we covered for part of the year), the more you’ll be able to use what you gain from reading the books. A new feature on the AP Lang test is the “synthesis” essay, which is like a DBQ that you might write for an AP history class.
The last essay on the AP test asks you to form an opinion on an issue (this last year’s was about the ethics of offering incentives for charity) and “support your position with evidence from your reading, observation, and/or experience.” It looks good if you can pull out something from reading, so you might look into reading some philosophy and ethics. Again, find a “suggested reading list” somewhere for ideas. I recommend Nietzsche and Sartre, but that’s just me. On that essay on the test when I took it, I used Ayn Rand and her view of ethics, which is generally speaking frowned upon by the powers that be, but offers an interesting and different perspective on ethics in general. I do recommend her books and essays.
Read College Board’s description of the test/course, just so you have an idea what it’s all about: http://www.collegeboard.com/student/test…
Here are a few lists of vocabulary words that often appear on the multiple choice section of both the Lit and Lang exams:
http://www.flashcardexchange.com/flashca…
http://www.flashcardexchange.com/flashca…
You’ll probably have to do similar vocabulary in class, and most of them are easy, but it never hurts to get familiar with the words ahead of time.
Good luck!