Revving up for AP Exams
Students in Mr. Van Loon’s AP English Literature and Composition class have been gearing up for the May 6th AP exam by simulating the test in class. Twice each week, students encounter timed excerpts from the Section 1 multiple choice and Section 2 free response essays.
In Section 1, students have 60 minutes to answer 55 questions related to five sections of unfamiliar text. That works out to just over a minute per question, and that’s without considering the reading. This week, seniors read Emily Dickinson’s “I dreaded that first Robin, so,” and had 13 minutes to read the poem and answer 12 text-dependent multiple choice questions.
Later in the week, students read a passage from D. H. Lawrence’s The Rainbow to practice Section 2, the free response essay. This week’s AP free response prompt asked students to write an essay analyzing how Lawrence employs literary devices to characterize the woman and capture her situation. During the actual AP exam in May, students will have two hours to write three similar free response essays. That equates to 40 minutes per essay.
At the end of the six-week unit, students will use a website called AP Pass (http://appass.com/home) to calculate their simulated AP scores. Seniors will input their data from the 55 Section 1 multiple choice questions and their 3 Section 2 essays to see how they compare with students who took the AP exam in 2009 and 2004. The maximum score on the AP exam is 5, but students are typically able to secure college credit with a score of 3 or higher. The College Board curves the AP scores differently each year to regulate pass rates, and AP Pass compares the students’ results to two sets of sample data.
“I like them,” said senior Maria Gonzalez in reference to the simulated AP exams in Mr. Van Loon’s class. “I feel they better prepare me for the actual exam. They also help me get more of a feel of how the questions are going to be and help me get a better understanding of what kind of text I’m going to be working with.”