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Because the first essay involves reading sources, it is suggested that you use the entire 15-minute reading period to read the sources and plan the first essay.However, you may want to glance at the other questions during the reading period so that ideas can percolate in the back of your mind as you work on the first essay.
“This passage is excerpted from a collection of essays on boating” or “This passage is excerpted from an essay written in 19th-century Haiti.” You will be asked somewhere from 10-15 questions per passage.
There are, in general, eight question types you can expect to encounter on the multiple-choice section of the exam.
You can identify these questions from phrases like “according to” “refers,” etc.
The best way to succeed on these questions is to go back and re-read the part of the passage referred to very carefully.
Example: Some questions will ask you about stylistic moments in the text and the effect created by the those stylistic choices.
What is the author evoking through their stylistic choices?Which interpretation offered in the answers does the passage most support?You can identify questions like these from words like “best supported,” ‘“implies,” “suggests,” “inferred,” and so on.The AP Language and Composition exam tests your rhetorical skills.Essentially, how do authors construct effective arguments in their writing? How can you use those tools to craft effective writing yourself? The exam has two parts: the first section is an hour-long, 52-55 question multiple-choice section that asks you questions on the rhetorical construction and techniques of a series of nonfiction passages. It starts with a 15-minute reading period, and then you’ll have 120 minutes to write three analytical essays: one synthesizing several provided texts to create an argument, one analyzing a nonfiction passage for its rhetorical construction, and one creating an original argument in response to a prompt.For these questions, you’ll need to think of the passage from a “bird’s-eye view” and consider what all of the small details together are combining to say.Example: Some questions will ask you to describe the relationship between two parts of the text, whether they are paragraphs or specific lines.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.You will then need to write an argumentative essay with support from the documents.You will have about 40 minutes to write each essay, but no one will prompt you to move from essay to essay—you can structure the 120 minutes as you wish.In the next sections I’ll go over each section of the exam more closely—first multiple choice, and then free response.