Ask A Nerd!
Q: How do I Master AP English Language?
Brief: Like any AP class, AP language is a college level class and requires hard work, fantastic time management, and the help from a teacher or a private Irvine AP tutor.
Now that you are a couple of months into your AP language class, you have probably noticed that the homework is piling up and you may have realized that the in-class quizzes are only a small look into what awaits you in May. Don’t worry too much, but do spend time working out your time management.
- Create a timeline of the basic terms and concepts that you should know so that you are not stressing out in the spring. Use a good quality test prep book to help you with your timeline (READ: “Last Minute AP Study Guide“).
- Create an electronic sheet with all of your assignments and due dates. Once you have completed each assignment, cross it off.
- Look at your grade sheet often. Most AP language teachers use Blackboard or School Loop to share grades electronically. Make sure that you are keeping track of your grades at least once a week.
- Join a study group. Find two or three students in your class who you get along well with and arrange a time to study together each week. Meet at a coffee shop or the library or try using Google Hangouts if you can’t get together in person.
- Talk to your teacher. The more thoughtful questions that you ask, the more likely the teacher will know who you are and know that you are truly interested in his or her subject. Take the time to get to know your teacher and his or her teaching/grading style (READ: “Taking the AP Exam“).
Once you have your general organization down it’s time to learn about everything English.
- Learn to love your literary devices. Do you know the difference between anthropomorphism and allegory? If not, it’s time to look them up. There are dozens of literary devices and you should learn them all by heart well before May. Take the time to look them up, learn the definition and know a few good examples.
- Know your famous authors. To be successful in AP language, you should know about dozens of famous authors. Hemingway, Twain, Faulkner, Wilde, and Fitzgerald are just a few. Make sure that you learn about the author of the books you are reading about in class. The author’s biography and perspective can tell you a lot about the novel that s/he wrote (READ: “5 Tips for your college entrance essays“).
- Think critically. In order to be able to write all of those in class essays as well as score a 3, 4 or 5 on the AP exam in May, you will need to be able to think critically. For example, you should be able to ask and answer questions such as: What exactly did the author mean when s/he was discussing that topic? Why did the author choose specific rhetorical devices? What is the tone of the story and why was this tone used? What does the setting tell you about the author’s state of mind? Who was the author’s original target audience?
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