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AP English Language and Composition: How Your Essays Are Scored

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❶Because the first essay involves reading sources, it is suggested that you use the entire minute reading period to read the sources and plan the first essay. AP Around the World.

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If you get stumped on a similar question, you may look back onto these incorrect responses. With this information, you can deduce which answers are incorrect and which are correct. Because the multiple-choice portion is timed, you may not have time to answer every single question if you are unsure of a few. The simplest way to clear your mind and focus on the easier question is to immediately skip the more difficult questions that require more critical thinking.

Then, once you have answered all of the questions you feel more confident about, go back to the more difficult questions, if time permits. Use Circles or Check Marks: Whenever you skip a question, be sure to circle its number. Alternatively, you can put a check mark beside every question you have answered, leaving unanswered questions with a blank space beside the numbers.

When in Doubt, Guess: On the AP Language and Composition exam, like every other Advanced Placement exam, your score on the multiple-choice portion is based on the number of questions you answer correctly. There is no penalty for incorrect answers. For terms or concepts that are crucial for you to memorize, make flashcards.

It may seem like an elementary study tip, but it truly works. The brain remembers the most information right before you go to sleep. If you review right before bedtime, your brain prioritizes this information and stores it for quick access.

Focus on Your Weaknesses: Run over it many times in your head and you can even research it for a better understanding. This is easier said than done, we understand. This makes it difficult to even read the question, let alone understand it. The best thing you can do when you get overwhelmed by the pressures of the exam is to take a deep breath. Have confidence that you know the material well enough to get through this portion with ease. This portion consists of three different essays you must write within a two-hour period after a mandatory fifteen-minute reading period.

Ultimately, these essays will assess your ability to quickly formulate arguments form inferences and analysis drawn from the sources provided to you. Make sure you read the essay prompt many times and identify the key question being asked.

Approach the question from each side of the possible argument that it poses. It is often helpful to choose an argument that has more evidence and references to support it, even if you do not necessarily agree with every tiny detail. Come up with a strong thesis statement that clearly and effectively approaches the topic and the argument you are presenting. Answer all of the questions asked by the prompt in your introductory paragraph and include the main point of your argument in your thesis.

Build a Strong Body: Once you have your thesis statement, construct body paragraphs around it. Be sure to mention how the supporting evidence you are citing within your essays relates back to your argument. Ambiguity and vague sentences have no place within an AP Language and Composition exam essay. The readers of your essay expect you to be exact and to the point. They want you to prove a point to them, not dance around it aimlessly. The more specific you are with your information, the better.

Use these to strengthen your argument and convince your audience of its legitimacy. Failing to use the resources provided to you will result in an incredibly low score. The tone of an essay is what sets the stage for your argument.

If there is no tone, it makes the essay seem sloppy and poorly structured. The argument itself may even seem scattered and all over the place. The tone of your essay should reflect your side of the argument. Learn How to Make Assumptions: A great deal of the scoring of this portion is based on the assumptions you make. The assumptions and inferences made from your sources are crucial. Use them to explain your viewpoints and strengthen your argument.

Logical assumptions give interesting perspectives to the scorers of the essays. The use of inferences and assumptions in your essays also demonstrates your ability to think critically as we discussed earlier.

As you work through planning your argument in the essays, make sure you take time to organize your thoughts. This will strengthen your argument and the overall structure of your essay. If your essay is neat and clean, the scorers can easily find what they are looking for in a well-written argument. Know the Fundamentals of Writing: If you are unfamiliar with the structure of an essay, you definitely need to learn it before the exam.

Think of an essay as a skeleton: This is what you add to it, including arguments and supporting evidence. If you write your essay with choppy, short sentences having a simple vocabulary, the reader is going to assume that you are not well-versed in the English language. This can severely hurt your score—especially considering you are taking an exam in AP Language and Composition. If anything, this course should make your writing shine and appeal to the scorer.

Although you want to keep all of these tips in mind, remember that this is still a timed portion of the exam. Develop Time Management Skills: Learning time management skills early on can help tremendously when it comes to timed exams. Practice taking timed exams frequently throughout the semester to build confidence and skill.

Knowing the rubric is an incredibly strategic move in acing the AP Language and Composition essay portion. When you know what exactly it is the scorers usually look for, you can be at ease. Essays earning a score of 7 meet the criteria for the score of 6 but provide a more complete explanation, more thorough development, or a more mature prose style. A 7 essay meets the criteria for a 6 essay but is either better-argued, better-supported, or more well-written.

Essays earning a score of 6 adequately develop a position on the issue presented. The evidence and explanations used are appropriate and sufficient, and the argument is coherent and adequately developed. The writing may contain lapses in diction or syntax, but generally the prose is clear.

You reasonably address the prompt, using reasonable evidence to support your argument. Your writing is generally good but may have some mistakes. Essays earning a score of 5 develop a position on the issue presented. You do address the prompt, although the support for your argument may be sparse or not wholly convincing. Your writing is usually clear, but not always. Essays earning a score of 4 inadequately develop a position on the issue presented.

The argument may have lapses in coherence or be inadequately developed. You do not adequately address the prompt or form a strong argument. Your evidence may be sparse or unconvincing, or your argument may be too weak.

Essays earning a score of 3 meet the criteria for the score of 4 but demonstrate less success in developing a position on the issue. Essays earning a score of 2 demonstrate little success in developing a position on the issue.

These essays may misunderstand the prompt, or substitute a simpler task by responding to the prompt tangentially with unrelated, inaccurate, or inappropriate explanation. The prose often demonstrates consistent weaknesses in writing, such as grammatical problems, a lack of development or organization, or a lack of coherence and control. You barely addressed the assigned task. Your essay may misunderstand the prompt. Your evidence may be irrelevant or inaccurate. Your writing is weak on multiple levels.

Essays earning a score of 1 meet the criteria for the score of 2 but are undeveloped, especially simplistic in their explanation and argument, weak in their control of language, or especially lacking in coherence. As you can see, the synthesis rubric is focused on how you used sources, the analysis rubric is focused on how well you analyzed the text, and the argument rubric is focused on the strength of your argumentative writing without outside sources.

Achieving a high score on an AP Lang and Comp essay is no easy feat. The average scores on essays last year were all under 5, with the Synthesis essay at about a 4. So even getting a 7 out of 9 is very impressive! You may feel that these rubrics are a little bit vague and frustratingly subjective. And, indeed, what separates a 6 from a 7, a 7 from an 8, an 8 from a 9 may not be entirely clear in every case, no matter the pains taken by the College Board to standardize AP essay grading.

That said, the general principles behind the rubrics— respond to the prompt, build a strong argument, and write well —hold up. So some students used to more traditional English classes may be somewhat at a loss as to what to do to prepare. A major thing you can do to prepare for the AP Lang and Comp exam is to read nonfiction— particularly nonfiction that argues a position , whether explicitly like an op-ed or implicitly like many memoirs and personal essays.

Read a variety of non-fiction genres and topics, and pay attention to the following:. Thinking about these questions with all the reading you do will help you hone your rhetorical analysis skills. You also need to practice argumentative and persuasive writing. In particular, you should practice the writing styles that will be tested on the exam: You should be doing lots of writing assignments in your AP class to prepare, but thoughtful, additional writing will help.

When you are reading passages, both on the multiple-choice section and for the first two free-response questions, interact with the text! This will help you engage with the text and make it easier to answer questions or write an essay about the passage.

The single most important thing you can do for yourself on the free-response section of the AP English Language exam is to spend a few minutes planning and outlining your essays before you start to write them. Unlike on some other exams, where the content is the most important aspect of the essay, on the AP Language Exam, organization, a well-developed argument, and strong evidence are all critical to strong essay scores.

An outline will help you with all of these things. Another thing you can do to give your free responses an extra boost is to identify counterarguments to your position and address them within your essay.

Address counterarguments properly or they might get returned to sender! The exam has two sections. The first section is an hour-long, question multiple-choice test based on the rhetorical techniques and strategies deployed in nonfiction passages. The second section is a two-hour free-response section with a minute initial reading period with three essay questions: Your total raw score will be converted to a scaled score from Taking the AP Literature exam?

Taking other AP exams? Need more AP prep guidance? Check out how to study for AP exams and how to find AP practice tests. Ellen has extensive education mentorship experience and is deeply committed to helping students succeed in all areas of life. You should definitely follow us on social media. Follow us on all 3 of our social networks:.

How to Get a Perfect , by a Perfect Scorer. Score on SAT Math. Score on SAT Reading. Score on SAT Writing. What ACT target score should you be aiming for? Posted by Ellen McCammon May 4, 7: The AP English Language and Composition Multiple-Choice The multiple-choice section is primarily focused on how well you can read and understand nonfiction passages for their use of rhetorical devices and tools.

Reading Comprehension These questions are focused on verifying that you understood what a certain part of the passage was saying on a concrete, literal level. Implication These questions take reading comprehension one step further—they are primarily focused on what the author is implying without directly coming out and saying it.

Relationships Between Parts of the Text Some questions will ask you to describe the relationship between two parts of the text, whether they are paragraphs or specific lines. Rhetorical Strategy These questions will ask you to identify a rhetorical strategy used by the author. Style and Effect Some questions will ask you about stylistic moments in the text and the effect created by the those stylistic choices. Some very important stylish effects going on here. Synthesis For this essay, you will be briefly oriented on an issue and then given anywhere from six-eight sources that provide various perspectives and information on the issue.

Argument In the third essay, you will be presented with an issue and asked to write a persuasive essay taking a position on the issue. Synthesis Essay Rubric Score What the Rubric Says What This Means 9 Essays earning a score of 9 meet the criteria for the score of 8 and, in addition, are especially sophisticated in their argument, thorough in development, or impressive in their control of language. You made no attempt to respond to the prompt.

Time to synthesize this dough into some cookies. Rhetorical Analysis Essay Rubric Score What the Rubric Says What This Means 9 Essays earning a score of 9 meet the criteria for the score of 8 and, in addition, are especially sophisticated in their argument, thorough in their development, or impressive in their control of language.

Examine your texts closely! Argumentative Essay Rubric Score What the Rubric Says What This Means 9 Essays earning a score of 9 meet the criteria for the score of 8 and, in addition, are especially sophisticated in their argument, thorough in their development, or particularly impressive in their control of language. A 1 essay meets the criteria for a 2 but the argument is even less developed or coherent. So what can you do to prepare yourself for the frenzy of AP English Lit activity?

The best kind of frenzy is a puppy frenzy! Luckily for you, I have a whole slate of preparation tips for you! Read Nonfiction - In a Smart Way A major thing you can do to prepare for the AP Lang and Comp exam is to read nonfiction— particularly nonfiction that argues a position , whether explicitly like an op-ed or implicitly like many memoirs and personal essays.

The argument prompt typically gives a position in the form of an assertion from a documented source. Students are asked to consider the assertion, and then form an argument that defends, challenges, or qualifies the assertion using supporting evidence from their own knowledge or reading. The multiple-choice section is scored by computer. No points were taken away for blank answers. The free-response section is scored individually by hundreds of educators each June.

Each essay is assigned a score from , 9 being high. Scoring is holistic, meaning that specific elements of the essay are not assessed, but each essay is scored in its entirety. The scores from the three essays are added and integrated with the adjusted multiple-choice score using appropriate weights of each section to generate a composite score.

Students generally receive their scores by mail in mid-July of the year they took the test. Alternately, they can receive their scores by phone as early as July 1 for a fee. AP instructors receive a score sheet showing the individual score for each of their students, as well as some score information and national averages.

The College Board has released information on the composite score range out of required to obtain each grade: With the addition of the synthesis essay in , the scoring tables were revised to account for the new essay type in Section II of the test. In , there was a change in the multiple choice portion of the exam.

Questions began to be included about documentation and citation. These questions are based on at least one passage which is a published work, including footnotes or a bibliography. Independent research on the academic benefits of the Advanced Placement English Language and Composition course indicates that not all students receive academic benefits from participating in the course.

In a study with a sample size of over 90,, the authors found that students who took the AP English Language and Composition course did not receive any increase in academic achievement unless they also prepared for and took the AP test.

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AP English Language and Composition Course Description— This is the core document for this course. It clearly lays out the course content and describes the exam and AP Program in general.

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The AP English Language and Composition Free Response The free response section has a minute reading period. After that time, you will have minutes to write three essays .

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AP English Language and Composition is a course in the study of rhetoric ap language and composition essay help taken in high school. Cracking the AP English Language & Composition Exam, Edition: Explore timing and format for the AP English Language and Composition Exam, and review sample questions, scoring guidelines, and sample student responses This ap language and composition essay. AP English Language and Composition Course Description (PDF) (Opens in new window) Writing is central to the AP English courses and exams. Both courses have two goals: to provide you with opportunities to become skilled, mature, critical readers, and to help you to develop into practiced, logical, clear, and honest writers.

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The Ultimate List of AP English Language Tips March 15, , pm The AP Language and Composition exam tests your ability to not only read content, but also to analyze what you have read and draw conclusions to present in an argument. AP English Language and Composition: The Exam | AP Central – The College Board In other words, and to address the essay's greater importance in your conclusion. Of course, you should also keep in mind that and conclusion is not absolutely necessary in order to receive a high score.