AP English Language and Composition

AP English Language
and Composition
Multiple Choice Tips
Our Test Date:
 Wednesday, May 12, 2010 in the AM
 See www.collegeboard.com for Exam
dates for other courses.
What to notice when first
opening the test…
 Length of the selections
 Time periods or writing styles
 Number of questions asked
 A quick glance at the types of questions
 These notices will get your mind in gear
for the task at hand.
What to expect
 Follow sophisticated syntax
 Respond to diction
 Be comfortable with upper-level
 Be familiar with rhetorical terminology
 Make inferences
 Be sensitive to irony and tone
And more to expect…
 Recognize components of organization
and style
 Be familiar with modes of discourse
(narrative, description, argument,
 And rhetorical strategies
 Recognize how information contained in
citations contributes to the author’s
 Do NOT let the subject matter of a
passage throw you!
 Strong analytical skills will work on any
 Always maintain an awareness of time
 The test naturally breaks down into 15 minute
sections if there are only 4 passages.
 You can take more or less time on a passage,
but know when to move on
 The test DOES NOT get more difficult as it
progresses – so answer as much as you can
 One question per minute is a good pace.
 Don’t just read with your eyes-- read with your senses of
sight, sound and touch
 Read closely, paying attention to
Punctuation, syntax, diction pacing and organization
 Read as if you were reading the passage aloud to an
audience, emphasizing meaning and intent
 Hear those words in your head (as silly as it may be)
 Using your pencil as a pointer, underscore the line as you
are reading it aloud because it forces you to slow down
and really notice the text. This is helpful when you have
to refer to the text.
Also look for…
 Use all of the information given to you about the
passage, such as the author, date of publication
and footnotes.
 Be aware of organizational and rhetorical
devices and techniques
 Be aware of thematic lines and be sensitive to
details that will obviously be material for
multiple-choice questions.
 A good reading rate is ½ minutes per page of
normal text.
Types of questions
 Straightforward question – passage is an
example of… the pronoun it refers to…
 References to specific lines/paragraphs
– draw a conclusion or to interpret
 All… EXCEPT questions – take more
More types of questions
 Make an inference or to abstract a concept not
directed stated in the passage
The reader can infer that the speaker is….
 The Footnote question -for research citations
and so on…
 Roman Numeral questions --- wow! – take more
time and might be skipped, if they cause you
 ¼ a point is taken off for each incorrect
 0 points taken off if you skip it!
Kinds of questions
 Center on form and content
 Assessing your understanding of the
meaning of the passage
 As well as your ability to draw inferences
and perceive implications.
 Do you understand HOW an author
develops his or her ideas?
Four types
 Factual
 Technical
 Analytical
 Inferential
 See chart - but DON’T Memorize it, just
be aware of it these words/phrases.
Specific Testing techniques
 Process of Elimination
 Substitution/Fill in the blank – Rephrase the
question and fill in answer choices until
something clicks
 Using Context
 Anticipation – while reading passage, look for
key phrases/lines/words/ideas that could have
questions with them
 Intuition/Educated Guess – trust your gut!
If time is running out…
 Scan the remaining questions and look for
Shortest questions and/or
The questions that point you to a line/paragraph
 Look for specific detail/definition questions
 Look for self-contained questions
This example … is an example of…
Scoring the M.C.
 Number right – (number wrong X 0.25) =
raw score rounded up or down to nearest whole
 Example: 55 questions total
40 – (15 X 0.25) = 35 – 3.75 = 36.25 = 36
 M.C. = 45 % of your total combined with your
essay score.
 Then it’s all manipulated to fit an AP scale
Scoring the Essays
 Each essay is scored out of 9 – for a
total of 27 points
 Essay section is 55% of total score
 Each point is awarded a value of 3.055
 Formula:
(essay #1 points x 3.055) + (essay #2
points x 3.055) + (essay #3 points x
3.055) =
Essay raw score
Composite Score
 150 is the total composite score
 55% is essay = 82.5 points
 45% is M.C. questions = 67.5 points
 Divide # of total M.C. Questions by 67.5
If 55 questions, each point of the raw score
is multiplied by 1.227.
 Add together the raw scores of each of
the two sections
 What composite score is needed for these
score levels changes each year
 Determined by AP/CollegeBoard/ETS directors,
experts, statisticians, etc.
 Grading is based on
AP distribution over last 3 years
Comparability studies
Observations of Chief Faculty Consultant
Frequency distributions of scores on each section
and the essays
Average scores on each exam section and esasys
Trends over last three years…
 150-100 points = 5
 99-86 = 4
 85-67 = 3
 2 and 1 are not passing score levels.
Something to think about…
 Usually getting higher than 60% is pretty good/passing
for the Multiple Choice portion – just keep practicing to
get this percentage higher as you move through the year.
 Good essays can help “save” average multiple choice
 But. poor M.C. scores can really bring down good
 Train your brain for more sophisticated writing styles and
vocabulary by reading more non-fiction like newspaper
editorials, articles in NY Times, New Yorker, Washington
Post, Time, Newsweek, etc.