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Please post your questions about AP English Language and Composition here.
Be sure to read over the questions already posted so that we can avoid redundancy.
Begin the questions below the images, and please number the postings.
THE 2011 AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION EXAM IS WED., MAY 16

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Q1. What type of multiple choice questions are on the AP Lang Exam? Are they about grammar, reading comprehension, etc? - Kasey Le, Nat Murphy, Allison Vaughn
A1. Typically, the AP Language & Composition multiple choice exam consists of four non-fiction passages from different time periods, with questions calling for close reading skills. There are some grammatical issues addressed (i.e., what is the antecedent for the word it in line 24 of the passage?), but the majority of the questions deal with analysis of rhetorical tools employed by the writer. The expectation is that you know not only what is said, but how it is said and to what effect.

Q2. How many essay questions are on the AP Exam? And do we ever get two different prompts to chose from when writing them? Carly Schumacher, Maggie Irvin, Anna Vaughn
A2. There are three essays on the AP Exam. One is passage anlaysis, one is argument, and one is a synthesis essay. In that last essay, you will be provided a number of resources (4-6) on a given topic and fifteen minutes to read them, then asked to write an essay that references at least three of them. At least one of the resources will be atypical: a chart or graph, a political cartoon, a photograph, etc. Our composition work first semester will hone skills you need for the all three essays, but especially the first one. Second semester we do formal argument (Rogerian and Classical) and documented papers. In short, we are preparing you for the exam and your college writing expectations all year long.

Q3. Throughout the course, will we be focusing more on the mechanics of writing (grammar, MLA format, and punctuation) or content (Diction, symbolism, writing style)? - Katie Klotzbach
A3. The expectation is that you have mastered basic mechanics. Instruction from there is individualized. We take you through your paces in the modes and work on developing voice and style and analytical skills.

Q4. When taking the AP exam how much time are we given to write the essays and to answer the multiple choice questions?- Hana Ayele

A4.You get one hour for the multiple choice portion of the exam, and two hours fifteen minutes to write the three essays.

Q5. What percentage of the total score for the AP Exam are the multiple choice and essay sections each worth? - Christine Do,Kari Fowler
A5. The multiple choice is worth 45%; the written portion is worth 55% of your total grade.

Q6. What will we focus on in AP Lang and how is it different from what we did in AP Lit? ~Jessie Swiech, Ji-Eun Park
A6. The focus in AP Lang is WRITING, and our reading will be primarily nonfiction. The names of our texts are actually mantras for the class; we look to exand our awareness of language use/issues, and your work will be to read critically, write well.

Q7. What type of things are the AP scorers looking for when reading our essays? Is it similar to AP Literature? - Ila Sruti, Maggie Irvin
A7. Check out the links in the test prep unit in BlackBoard. We have links to sample rubrics there. In general, however, scorers work from a nine-point rubric, much like those used in AP Literature and Composition, The generic response is that graders look to see that you have solidly addressed the prompt and that your writing "...demonstrates an ability to control a wide range of elements of effective writing"; to score a nine, you must exhibit "particular stylistic command."

Q8. How does this class and test differ compared to AP Lit and how is this class and test similar compared to AP Lit? - Wen Yang
A8. See the response to Q6 above. Having said that, our reading materials are nonfiction rather than literary. We learn to read with a writer's eye. Our writing is expository and our approach is process-based. The exams are similar in length (3+ hours) and format (three essays, four passages with multiple choice questions), but the passage content is nonfiction.

Q9. Do all schools accept this AP class for college credit because I know that some colleges do no accept AP lit for college credit? - Luke Harbers
A9. No. It will be wise to investigate the position of each school you apply to before the May 13 exam. There is also a difference in credit awarded. Some schools give credit for a 3 (MIT), others require at least a 4.

Q10. I heard something about writing college applications in this class when or are we going to be completing those? - Luke Harbers
A10. The college application unit will come after the biomythography; it is second in the lineup of formal papers this semester. You will complete the counseling center rec form, develop a resume, write your own letter of recommendation, contribute to a wiki page with current year sample essay questions from at least three universities you are interested in [and may apply to], and complete one essay.

Q11. What kinds of writing will we be doing in this class? On the AP exam will we ever have a prompt for a personal experience essay or have an open prompt? - Amanda Lawler
A11. The first part of your post is answered below and elsewhere in this section. In answer to the second part of your essay, no. Two years ago, they took away the "open" essay and replaced it with the synthesis essay. (You may, of course, use personal anecdote in support of an argument.)

Q12. What is the main type of writing we are going to be doing? (essay, 5 paragraph form?) Delayne Durdle
A12. The focus of this class is to hone your personal writing style. We want you to develop a strong writing voice in whatever mode you choose. We write expressive and expository essays -- reflective, observational, analytical, argumentative, documented, informative, etc., for a range of audiences -- our class, this teacher, admissions committees, contest judges, etc. Check out the course shell for a specific look at the units we do and the assignments we complete.

Q13. How will taking this AP course help prepare us for a college composition class? What specific tasks will be similar to college level courses? Madeline Andre, Brittany Evans

A13. We operate from a Colleg Board approved syllabus. The course is designed to be equivalent to English 101. To answer your question specifically, go to the website from your college of choice and download their English 101 syllabus, then compare the outlined tasks to the ones in our course shell. For your benefit, I have linked the current ISU Language & Composition 101 syllabus to your question. Click on it to compare our class to the ISU equivalent.

Q14. How does the time commitment required by this course compare to an entry level college English course? Is the workload more, less, or similar? ~Liz Risius

A14. Short answer? MORE.

Q15. Do students tend to be stronger in either the essay or the multiple choice portions of the exam? Does it vary by individuals, or is there a trend that students need more work in a certain section? ~Liz Risius
A15. It varies by individual. You know best where your strengths lie and where you need to improve. Some people are excellent standardized test takers and ace the multiple choice. Others need to learn how to eliminate choices and narrow to the best response. Typically, UHS students shine in the argument essay area -- but we do not have data that suggests particular group trends.

Q16. Is the class solely devoted to writing, or will there be any media projects to do? - Robert Wan
A16. It is imperative that students be skilled creators and critical interpreters of non text (mediated) messages as well as text messages. To that end, we will complete a variety of media projects including audacity recordings, microsoft publisher layouts, microsoft movie maker short films, power point presentations, etc.

Q17. Last year the AP practice tests played a big role in our grades. How will the essays effect us in AP Lang? - Courtney Allen

A17. Practice tests will be scored and applied to your grade, but the weight of other assignments is much greater than these scores. AP practice tests will not play a big role in your grade.

Q18. How often will we be taking AP practice tests in this course? - Emily Allen, Paige Knippenberg
A18. Test practice will be minimal first semester, although we will be building your analysis skills and analytical lexicons -- both essential to test success. Second semester, usually beginning in March, we try to devote one day a week to intensive test prep. This may not always be in the form of completing practice tests, however. We will spend time anayzing questions, experimenting with prewriting strategies, composing lead ins, etc. The last few weeks of the course are focused primarily on test prep.

Q. 19. Is AP Language similar to AP Lit? What are the similarities and differences? Also, are we going to work on writing College admission essays? - Munan Singhal, Alex Scharf
See questions 6, 8 and 10

Q20. How much reading is required? Does this class focus more on reading or on writing?Andre Aung
A20. Expect reading homework each night. Our primary focus is composition, but our text readings ground us in theory and practice, provide samples of each genre/mode for analysis, and support our mission to hone skills as college-level readers and writers.

Q21.What is the format of the AP test?-Lillie Cicerchia
See questions 1 and 2.

Q22. How is the AP test different in writing style from AP Lit?-Lillie Cicerchia

See questions 6, 8, 11, and 12.

Q23. What new vocabulary do we need to know for this AP test?- Lillie Cicerchia, Ryan Woodall
A23. Vocabulary work will be ongoing in this course. You will need a highly developed vocabulary to comprehend varied readings on the AP exam. You will also need to be grounded in rhetorical terms for both the written and the reading sections of the exam. You must learn to "talk the talk" so that you can hold your own with schooled academics. Look through the glossaries of our texts and through the test prep unit for representative terms you will be adding to your growing lexicon.

Q24. What will be the basis for our in class work? Will it mostly be group discussion? Kathleen Knight
A24. In-class work will be varied. Discussion is important and you will, at times, engage in graded discussions. (In fact, Mrs. Clesson's sections will be participating in a research study using backchanneling for discussion this fall.) You will also spend time in class working in pairs and groups as peer editors and on collaborative assignments. Most importantly, as this is a Language and COMPOSITION Class, we honor your need to effectively prewrite/draft/revise/rewrite/polish writing assignments: this is a writing workshop class.
See note on the syllabus regarding "lab" nature of this course.


Q25. From your experience, what is usually the area that we as students most need to improve upon when preparing for the AP test? - Chris Hoerdemann
A25.It is hard to generalize here. Most students are able to read and identify the significant themes, concepts, purposes (SOAPS) of a text. Also, most students are able to identify rhetorical devices in a text. However, the area that most AP students need to improve upon is their ability to analyze the relationship between the rhetorical devices utilized in a text and their effect on the READER and on the themes, concepts, purpose, etc.

Q26. Where will most of our points in the class be coming from? Will they be from practice tests like Courtney said, or elsewhere? - Chris Hoerdemann

A26. The majority of points in this class will come from the major papers or projects assigned for each unit. In the Blackboard shell, you can look through these units and note the total point value of the assessment from the cover sheet attachment. These point values vary from semester to semester, but the weight with respect to the overall course will be the same

Q27. Will we read some fiction pieces, or is non fiction mostly what we'll focus on? - Chris Hoerdemann
A27. The only NON-nonfiction piece we read is 1984. We use this novel as a springboard into our language unit. The focus of our study with 1984 will not be literary analysis. Instead, we will focus on Orwell's concepts of doublethink, doublespeak and the connection between language and thought.

Q28. Will there be graded pop-essay questions in this class? - Bridget Lam, Jennifer Janssen
A28. Timed In-Class writings are a regular part of our class. You did your first one this Friday. On a more formal basis, you may be asked to write an essay response in class without prior announcement. However, as noted above, these practice essays, while scored, do not constitute major points toward your grade.

Q29. Are reading assessment worksheets (RO's) going to be given to check reading progress? - Bridget Lam
A29. We use some close reading guides with the 1984 and Malcolm X texts. These are similar to the RO's, but we will not consistently use reading objectives as a tool to teach reading skills.

Q30. What type of speeches will we be giving in class? Rob Hanson
A30. Oral reading of your biomythography, oral reading of passages, an Audacity recording of your VOD speech, formal research presentations (solo and with a partner) -- these are a few representative examples of the speaking experiences you will have in AP Lang.


Q31. What will our vocabulary quizzes usually consist of? Blake Walker

A31. Formats will vary. Be prepared to spell, define, apply, and use in a sentence with a clear context clue. If you can do all that, you will be ready for anything.

Q32. Will we have a final exam, or final project at the end of the first semester? Blake Walker, Jennifer Janssen
A32. Stay tuned. The answer for now is both -- we host a screening party of projects during the final exam hour, but have a semester exam earlier in the week.

Q33. How are our grades weighted, do projects, tests, or class discussion effect our grades most? Jennifer Janssen
A33. Grades are determined by total points. We look at the total points possible, then determine the 90% mark for the bottom A, etc. Without formal weighting, it still happens organically: the major papers and process work will have significantly more points than daily homework.

Q34. Will practice tests be for a grade and will they be relevent to what we are studying and help us expand on our learning of a specific piece of non-fiction or will they be more for practice on random topics? Also, will there be pop practice tests that we are not told about in advance? Jennifer Janssen
A34. Yes, practice tests will be for a grade (though those grades will be curved). Sometimes they will be relevant to our class readings, but more often they may strike you as "random." You will not be able to predict what passages the exam developers may include in May, so practice with random readings will, in fact, be relevant
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