AP English Study Tips


May 9th, 2014

Total: 3 hours and 15 minutes

2 parts

  • Multiple Choice is 45% - 55 questions - 1 hour
  • Free Response is 55% - 3 essays - 2 hours and 15 min


Do not skim through the readings!
You may try to scan paragraphs and pages as fast as you can while hunting for main ideas. In a word: Don't. First, main ideas usually aren't quickly accessible from "speed-reading" complex texts.
  • Read slowly
  • Reread complex and important sentences
  • Ask yourself often, "What does this sentence, paragraph, speech, stanza, or chapter mean?"

Reread difficult material to help you understand it.

  • Complex issues and elegant expression are not always easily understood or appreciated on a first reading.

Form the habit of consulting your dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia, or atlas.

  • Although you won't be able to use these on the exam, you'll discover the precise meanings of words as well as knowledge about the content of what you are reading.


Here are some key guidelines to remember in learning to write a critical essay:

  • Take time to organize your ideas.
  • Make pertinent use of the text given to you to analyze.
  • Quote judiciously from the text to support your observations.
  • Be logical in your exposition of ideas.

Reading Directly Influences Writing Skills & Habits

  • The more you read, the more that the rhythm of the English language will be available to influence your writing. Reading is not a substitute for writing, but it does help lay the foundation that makes good writing possible.

Writing is Fun

  • When you have penned what you think is a great sentence or a clean, logical paragraph, read it over to yourself out loud. Enjoy it. Delight in the ideas, savor the diction, and let the phrases and clauses roll around in your mind. Claim it as part of your self. You may discover you have a voice worthy of respect.

Think, speak, write, analyze your writing, then give it final shape.

Write Purposefully with Rhetorical Awareness

Fashion your writing with key rhetorical elements.

  • What is the message of your text?
  • How do you intend to convey your message to your particular audience?
  • Give shape to your thinking with language that enlightens your readers and lets you achieve your aims.


  • Learn new words!
  • Look at the prefix and suffix of words to determine the meaning
  • Root words can really help to understand the definition of a word ((ACROPHOBIA))
  • Use context clues to infer what the author means by using a certain word
  • While you practice look up words you don't know
  • Read! This will expand your vocabulary

Multiple Choice // Rhetoric

Review all of the multiple choice quizzes on Blackboard.
  • Understand why you got some wrong
  • Learn all vocab from the questions, that you did not understand

1 hour to answer between 45 and 60 objective questions on four to five prose passages. The selections may come from works of fiction or nonfiction and be from different time periods, of different styles, and of different purposes.

  • At least one of the readings will contain some type of citation, attribution, footnote, and so on. You will be expected to be able to determine HOW this citation, etc., is employed by the author to further his purpose. You will NOT be asked about specific formats such as MLA.

You will be expected to:

  • follow sophisticated syntax;
  • respond to diction;
  • be comfortable with upper-level vocabulary;
  • be familiar with rhetorical terminology;
  • make inferences;
  • be sensitive to irony and tone;
  • recognize components of organization and style;
  • be familiar with modes of discourse and rhetorical strategies; and
  • recognize how information contained in citations contributes to the author’s purpose.

Good Habits

  • Do not put studying off until right before the test, START STUDYING NOW!
  • Do not stress yourself out the night before.
  • Make sure you get PLENTY of sleep, if you don't you will be irritable and will not be able to handle writing and reading for 3 hours.
  • Eat a super yummy and good breakfast to get your brain going. No one likes being hungry, and no one likes having to listen to the growling stomachs of others.
  • Get to school early.
  • WATCH YOUR TIME! Make sure you bring a watch and allow yourself enough time to finish everything you need to.