AP English Language & composition exam


The Princeton Review AP English Language and Composition Practice Tests and Explanations


Practice Test 2: Answers
and Explanations


    1. C Remember that oftentimes AP questions will ask you to infer—to draw a conclusion based on what is said in the text.

The best course of action to take when approaching this question is POE. Answer (B) is the only one that posits a positive answer (to “laud” means to praise), and it can be eliminated easily because of the word “linear.” The final sentence of the first paragraph does laud Browne’s writing, but the author suggests that the reading process is like going through a series of mazes. This is anything but straightforward—or linear. Later in the text, there is an oblique allusion to William Shakespeare (“the time of Elizabeth”), but there is nothing resembling a comparison between Browne and Shakespeare; eliminate (D). There is even less reason to suspect that there is any suggestion of a comparison between the author of the passage (Samuel Johnson, by the way) and Browne; so you can eliminate answer (E). Now you’re down to two choices. The author criticizes the exuberance and lack of clarity that makes it difficult to understand his reasoning; he does not suggest that Browne reasons poorly (or not at all); thus, answer (A) is not correct. You’re left with (C), which fits: The author complains about Browne’s lack of clarity.

    2. B This question also requires you to use POE. The first answer should be suspect—it would be far too easy if they just expected you to equate “poesy” and “poetry.” Remember that the author applies the poesy to Browne’s style, which the author qualifies with a combination of positive and negative attributes. In essence, you must match the positive qualities (“excellencies”) and negative ones (“faults”) with one of the answers. None of the last three answers, which all are tied to “poetry” to keep you leaning toward a simplistic answer, is appropriate. Browne says that greatness is connected to certain extremes (both good and bad) in an individual’s character; the author of the passage suggests that the extremes of Browne’s character help explain the eccentricities of his style.

As is common on this test, there is no answer that is a perfect match. More often than not the correct answer will be similar, but not identical, to the answer that you come up with from reading the passage. Your goal is to identify the best answer, and (B) is the only plausible one.

    3. C The meaning is obvious because the author translates the expression for us, putting the translation just before the Latin phrase: “To have great excellencies and great faults.” By the way, more often than not, authors who insert foreign words or phrases will tip their hands and either suggest the meaning or simply state it.

    4. A Here’s another example where POE comes in handy. At first glance, answer (B) seems plausible, but the problem lies in the word “hints.” The author does not hint; rather, he says outright that the style is pedantic. The author describes, but does not justify or argue, so (C) and (D) are out. Choice (E) can’t be correct; Browne’s style is many things (including complex), but it is definitely not facile (easy). True, there are some positive elements in the author’s evaluation, but these are outweighed by the negative epithets: rugged, pedantic (overly bookish), obscure, harsh, and uncouth. This appears to be open criticism, so (A) is the best answer.

    5. A The key to answering this question correctly is to recognize that the author establishes a clear parallel pattern: a sequence of positive qualifiers contrasted with related negative ones (this, but that). At the end of the sentence, however, the author combines two pejorative statements (this and that). This parallelism tips the balance toward the negative, revealing the author’s point of view. Remember that the passage begins with Browne’s own comment that suggests that greatness originates in a sort of balance between the great qualities and great faults. By adding on only faults at the end of the sentence describing Browne’s style, the author of the passage shows that he sees more faults than “excellencies.” Some of the answers are deliberately misleading. Both (B) and (C) pertain to “balance,” although each has nothing to do with our answer. Choice (D) appears to function only as “filler.” If you chose this answer, you should review the meaning of parallelism before going any further. Choice (E) is the exact opposite of the correct answer; “obfuscate” means to intentionally mislead.

    6. A The first sentence of the third paragraph allows you to use POE to begin eliminating incorrect answer choices: “He fell into an age in which our language began to lose the stability.…” Right away, you can eliminate answers (B), (C), and (E). You should be suspicious of (D) because of the word “metaphorical.” Where does “metaphorical” come in? It doesn’t, which is why (D) is not the best answer. Browne lived in a time of linguistic experimentation, and the author of the passage takes the time to discuss this to put some of Browne’s excesses in context.

    7. D The author at first classifies Browne’s use of vocabulary as “useful” then goes on to describe some of it as “superfluous” and then “obscure.” You can use POE to eliminate all but the correct answer. The last word in the correct answer, “deleterious,” may have given you problems; this word means “harmful.” The idea that some of his vocabulary is, in fact, harmful to his writing is given in the lines that say that some words “conceal his meaning rather than explain it.”

    8. E For this question, all of the answers probably seemed plausible. Your first step should have been to find the appropriate part of the text. In the last paragraph, the author writes: “in defence of his uncommon words and expressions, we must consider that he had uncommon sentiments, and was not content to express, in many words, that idea for which any language could supply a single term.” Thus, the author attributes Browne’s unusual diction (word choice) to his desire to find the exact word that expresses his uncommon thoughts or feelings, instead of circuitously expressing them through the use of many words.

    9. A This question does not ask anything new; in essence, it addresses the same content as the preceding question, but in a slightly different way and while also indirectly testing your knowledge of a couple of words. If you understand that “heteroclite diction” signifies the use of words that are unusual or unusually varied, you can probably pick out the correct answer immediately. If not, use POE. You can eliminate (D) right away. Hopefully, you are familiar with the word “homogeneous” and can eliminate choice (B), too. Even if you aren’t sure about the meaning of “mundane” (ordinary, usual, worldly) or “trope” (similar in meaning to rhetorical figure, for example, metaphor), you will have narrowed your choices to three, and should guess and move on.

10. A This question is relatively straightforward; using POE would enable you to eliminate answers (B) and (D). You may have been tempted by (C), but you should have noticed that the author of the passage discusses Browne as though he were writing in the past; for example, the third paragraph begins, “He fell into an age in which our language began to lose the stability which it had obtained in the time of Elizabeth.” Finally, if you know that polemic means “debate” and that “virulent polemic” means something like a “heated debate,” then you can dismiss answer (E). If not, then you should have guessed and moved on.

11. B Remember that with this type of question, if you can determine that half of the answer is untrue, then you can eliminate the entire answer. Thus, the fact that “sarcastic” seems way off-base allows you to eliminate (A), the inappropriateness of “harsh” allows you to discard (C), and the use of “sentimental” (or “capricious”) disqualifies (E). It may not seem unreasonable to claim that the author of the passage is somewhat condescending, but it would be inaccurate to say that he is indulgent; the author appears to genuinely appreciate and admire certain aspects of Browne’s style. In fact, he analyzes the style in a scholarly manner, which is why (B) is the best answer.

12. E One of the most important questions that you can ask while reading is: Who is speaking? With more modern literary texts, the question is often difficult to answer. Clearly, in this case, the speaker is a talented writer who knows the works of George Eliot (a nineteenth-century female writer). We have no reason to suspect that the speaker is a family member, so choice (A) is incorrect. Answer (B) is a trap for those casual readers who note that in the initial part of the text there is a discussion of religion, but fail to see how this fits into a discussion of the heroines in a feminist construct. Answer (D) would be a legitimate answer were it not for the qualifier, “chauvinist.” If you had to attach a label to the speaker, it would probably be feminist, not chauvinist. After using POE, the only answer choice left is (E), and it seems appropriate enough.

13. B This question digs deeper into the relevance of the discussion of religion as it applies to the speaker’s view of Eliot as a feminist writer (or as a writer about the feminine condition). Don’t let the simile (“like a place of worship”) mislead you. The speaker claims that at the heart of Eliot’s novels the reader finds a young woman’s struggle “in aspiration and agony” for “something that is perhaps incompatible with the facts of human existence.” There is no statement about where the heroine might be physically, so answers (A), (C), and (D) should be eliminated right away. Answer (E) may have seemed plausible, but in fact, the heroine, as a woman in a world dominated by men, is shut off from “the real world” and forced into herself, not necessarily “lost in prayer.” She is more precisely “essentially alone.”

14. B If you understood the last explanation, there is little to add here. The great fact of human existence in the context of this passage is that it’s a man’s world (remember that Eliot wrote in nineteenth-century England). The entire passage is about women and their place in “the human condition.” Answer (C) may have tempted you, but “the facts of human existence” cannot be limited to these women protagonists. You may have felt that answer (A) was correct because human existence restricts both men and women in some way; however, the aspirations of the heroines are incompatible only with “the facts of human existence.” In this context, the incompatibility pertains only to women.

15. A Every once in a while, the exam will surprise you with a question as easy as this one. “Save for,” which you may have seen written before, is sometimes substituted for the phrase “except for.”

16. E “The difference of [point of] view” and “the difference of standard” are Eliot’s “inheritance.” Like men, Eliot sought and achieved a significant grasp of art and culture, but, according to the speaker, she did not renounce the feminine qualities—the results of her gender—that made her different.

17. B At the end of the passage, the speaker calls Eliot’s knowledge and freedom a “double burden” and suggests that the burden led directly to Eliot’s death, in the phrase “sank worn out.” Clearly, Eliot was not in good health, since she has died, and answer (A) can be eliminated. The other answer choices are very obviously incorrect; choice (C) is incorrect since Eliot was in fact famous. Choice (D) is also untrue according to the passage, and (E) is the opposite of what is stated in the passage. Choice (B) is the best answer.

18. D The best way to approach this type of question is to use POE. The apposition (“her, a memorable figure”) appears almost at the beginning of the sentence, so (A) is not the correct answer. The claim that Eliot reached out “for all that life could offer” may be intended literally, but the statement is hyperbolic (it is an overstatement). As for choice (C), there is a clear example of personification when Eliot shrinks “back into the arms of love.” One could also argue that there are multiple examples of not very noteworthy parallelism, but perhaps the most obvious one is the construction “reaching out with … confronting her feminine aspirations with.” You may expect to find a relative clause in such a long periodic sentence, however, there is none, and the correct answer is (D).

19. A The question boils down to this: Who is speaking? Let’s use POE. The speaker put the phrase in quotation marks to show that it is not hers; therefore, (B) is incorrect. If the speaker borrowed it from one of Eliot’s critics, she would need to identify the citation somehow; (C), therefore, does not seem plausible. From context, it is clear that the reader should, indeed, take the phrase seriously, and the phrase does represent the speaker’s point of view, which is why the phrase is there in the first place. So answers (D) and (E) can be eliminated. The entire text centers on Eliot’s relationship to her feminine protagonists, and so it seems very probable (in this case, certain) that the speaker would integrate a phrase from one of Eliot’s heroines. Choice (A) is the best answer.

20. C This type of question is very common on actual AP exams; fortunately, these types of questions usually contain two terms—as this one does.

It would be difficult to accept either qualifier in (A), but “disorganized” is far too pejorative and couldn’t possibly be appropriate for this passage. Answer (B) is far off the mark too, especially if you can discern between “scholarship” and “pedantry.” Pedantic means “characterized by a narrow, often ostentatious concern for book learning and formal rules.” You could probably dismiss both terms in answer (D), also; this passage cannot accurately be described as “metaphysical.” Answer (E) is half right; the style could be called “intellectual,” but there is no cynicism here. POE leaves us with “sympathetic and concrete.” This answer may not be ideal, but it’s the best choice available.

21. A Choice (A) is the only answer that lists two appropriate adjectives, but go through the other choices to make sure none of them is equally good: Both parts of (B) are untrue. Answer (C) starts out well; the point of view could be considered “altruistic.” The second term (“elitist”), however, does not seem appropriate at all. Remember that you need to eliminate only one element of the answer to discount the entire answer. “Quixotic” (overly idealistic) might fit, but the plan is presented in a rational manner, so you can eliminate (D). The point of view is “positivist” (having to do with faith in progress), but “unreasonable” is too strong. Although (E) is a possibility, (A) is a better answer.

22. D The key in this question is to recognize that the “Institution” the author of this passage describes is meant to serve only children. The other answer choices are institutions that serve both children and adults. The author, who did, in fact, establish a utopian community (Lanark, in Southern Scotland) never uses the word school, but it is clear what kind of institution he is proposing because of this sentence: “It has ever been my intention that as this Institution, when completed, will accommodate more than the children of parents resident at the village, any persons living at Lanark, or in the neighbourhood anywhere around, who cannot well afford to educate their children, shall be at liberty, on mentioning their wishes, to send them to this place, where they will experience the same care and attention as those who belong to the establishment.”

23. A The pronoun at the beginning of the sentence refers to “those who apply these terms to their fellow-men,” and we can infer that the “those” referred to are the wealthy and privileged middle class. Essentially, the sentence states that the “men of worth” (the wealthy) are the worthless. That is a paradox or apparent contradiction. The wealthy who believe that the poor are worthless creatures help perpetuate their poverty; this, states the author, is far worse than the condition of being poor. The entire sentence both states, and partly explains, the paradox.

24. B This question is merely a continuation of the previous one. The pronoun that they’re asking about in this question is the same one they asked about in question 23—“they.” Again, “they” refers to “those who apply these terms to their fellow-men.” We can infer that the author most nearly means “the wealthy.”

25. E At first glance, all of the answers seem to be correct. But what is the speaker most interested in? The passage is centered on the establishment of the (educational) “Institution” and its goals. Note that the author blames poor upbringing (education) for the “wicked” attitude of the privileged classes. Thus, the real focus of the passage is on education—“imparting knowledge and moral values.”

26. D This is a warm-up question. The incorrect answers are all related to the text, but only (D) explains the opening sentence of the passage (“And yet, being a problem is a strange experience”). The passage is written by an African American author (W. E. B. Du Bois) and deals with racism.

27. A An epiphany is a sudden realization; in this passage, there is a rhetorical statement that announces the moment of epiphany: “Then it dawned upon me with a certain suddenness.…” Even if you didn’t know the meaning of epiphany, you could use POE to arrive at the correct answer. The author is definitely not describing the incident as a moment of triumph (B). Answer (C) is partly true because the moment is a revelation, but the epiphany is for the boy, not for the reader. The remaining answers have no grounding in the passage.

28. D The more obvious of the metaphors is the sky, which is extended by “dazzling,” “sunny,” and “streak of blue.” The blue, dazzling, and sunny sky represents the world of opportunity that shines above the white children and, for a while, the author. As the child matures, he realizes the narrowness of his opportunities (the blue is reduced to a streak). The other metaphor is the house/prison with its straight, narrow, tall, and unscalable walls of stone; of course, this edifice is not a real prison, but the limiting restrictions of racism. You may have noticed that the walls of the prison are white.

You can eliminate the other answers with ease, unless you are not familiar with “euphemism,” which means “a word or words that replace a crass, crude, or simply inappropriate word or phrase.”

29. B This is a common AP exam phenomenon: Two questions so closely linked that you are more likely to get both right or both wrong. In light of the previous explanation, the “night” is used metonymically to suggest the color of the boys’ skin. (In metonymy, one term is substituted for another term with which it is closely associated.)

30. A Using POE is the best way to attack this question. You can eliminate (C), (D), and (E) with certainty. The author states that his comrades shrank into “sycophancy” (obsequiousness, or, in the vernacular, “brown-nosing”); he implies that he had moments of intellectual and physical triumph over his white peers; he also sets himself somewhat apart from his African American comrades (“other black boys”). Choosing between (A) and (B) is the tricky part. On the one hand, even though the author does finally include himself (“the shades of the prison-house closed around us all”), the author places himself above them by accusing the other black boys of being sycophants, and saying that only he wrested his share of opportunity. On the other hand, he suggests that he is superior to his white peers by saying that he could win his share of prizes and contests at school, he suggests that he could at least hold his own in professional life (law, medicine, literature), if given the opportunity.

31. A The previous explanation hints at the answer to this question. The author’s first reaction was to remain aloof and “above” the racism at school; however, he realizes that this attitude would do nothing to change one stark reality: that he would not be able to remain apart if he were to somehow “wrest from them” the opportunities open to white boys. He vows to succeed in a field restricted almost exclusively to white men: law, medicine, or literature.

32. E Laudatory means “praiseworthy or congratulatory,” and if you know this, the question is not too difficult. If you didn’t know this, then POE will enable you to eliminate all of the answers except (E). Watch out for questions that say “EXCEPT” or “NOT”—in these questions, you’re looking for the opposite of what you’d usually look for.

33. B This passage is from one of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates; here, Douglas argues in favor of states’ rights.

You should note that it is possible to eliminate several of the choices based on the verb used. The speaker presents an argument; he does not analyze (A), criticize (C), or describe (D). Douglas says directly that he is vehemently opposed to the idea of slavery in his home state of Illinois; he argues in favor of letting each state decide the issue for itself and goes on to claim that the greatness of the country rests on the sovereignty of the states to do so.

34. C You might not agree with what Douglas is saying in this passage, but he controls his tone carefully; remember, he is engaged in a debate at a time when people turned out in droves, expecting not colossal home runs, spectacular slam-dunks, hockey fights, or touchdown passes, but brilliantly conceived, expertly delivered rhetoric.

If you use POE, you can narrow it down to three choices by eliminating (A) and (E). Answer (D) may be alluring, but be careful not to apply a twenty-first-century point of view to nineteenth-century reality. It may be tempting to see Douglas’s defense of states’ rights as a mask for his true feelings on slavery or, at least, as a poor veil for a racist bias. However, none of that is appropriate to the task at hand. The tone is best described as the tone of a debate; in other words, the speaker attempts to step back and let the force of his words (the voice of reason, if you will) carry the day. Also, remember that polemic means “controversial argument.”

35. A The speaker uses inductive reasoning (which is defined as reasoning derived from detailed facts, to form general principles) that goes something like this: You all agree that it was right for Illinois to vote as it chose and abolish slavery; thus, every state should be able to make its own choice on this issue. Moreover, every state should be able to make its own choices on just about everything.

36. B The shift that begins with “Now, my friends …” is important because at this point in the passage, Douglas shifts from the issue of states’ rights and slavery to what the consequences will be if voters do not support his platform—the consequences are civil war. This is a scare tactic. Douglas is saying that voters should support states’ rights because that is the only way to maintain peace between North and South.

37. E The correct answer may not have been readily apparent, but using POE allows you to eliminate (A) through (D). Douglas uses no anecdotes, much less clever ones; likewise, there are no symbols, paradoxes, or metaphors. The authorities in this case are not only the other states (meaning the voters in the other states), but also the founding fathers: “Washington, Madison, or the framers of this government.”

38. D Douglas states his own opinion on slavery (his official opinion, at least) at the beginning of the passage (“there is no man in the State who would be more strenuous in his opposition to the introduction of slavery than I would”). Douglas also presents a clear position on voting: “I would never consent to confer the right of voting and of citizenship upon a negro.…” Finally, there is a clear position on property: “I would not make any distinction whatever between a negro who held property and one who did not.…” Of course, this implies that he would allow African Americans to have property, but he states that, propertied or not, they should not be able to vote. With this information, it is possible to answer the question with certainty; the correct answer is (D).

39. C In a way, this is simply a reprise of Question 36, but here Douglas pushes his scare tactic even further by saying that Lincoln and his party are deliberately infringing on states’ rights to incite a civil war. We hope you were not fooled by (B). While it is true that Douglas is blaming the war (that hadn’t yet begun) on Lincoln and his political party, he is not shifting any blame; nowhere does he imply that anyone was blaming or accusing Douglas and his party of trying to provoke a war, and to shift blame, Douglas would have to have had blame at some point.

40. E In this passage, the author builds his case by claiming that the role of the merchant is analogous to that of a physician or clergyman; this is a clear analogy. Note that the author is not referring to physicians and clergymen as authorities; so answer choice (A), “appeal to authorities,” is not correct.

41. A If you understood the previous question, you could probably have eliminated (B) and (C) immediately. At the beginning of the passage, the author tells us that he includes manufacturer in the category of merchant, so (D) is not correct, and you have already narrowed down the answer choices significantly. You may have expected (E) to be true, but in the context of this particular passage, the merchant is said to be motivated by the same altruistic motives that guide a doctor or clergyman.

42. A The author claims that “the stipend” (salary or profit) is a necessary adjunct to the work of a merchant, physician, or clergyman, but not the true motivational force. Only answer choice (A) comes close to being correct. Remember that in questions like this one, you should take the original sentence and insert each answer choice to see which one sounds the best. How does (A) sound? “This stipend is a due and necessary accompaniment, but not the object of his life, if he be a true clergyman, any more than his fee (or honorarium) is the object of life to a true physician.” The best answer is (A).

43. C In this context, agency means “direction” or “governance,” and the term is, therefore, tied to “master and governor of large masses of men.” The question asks you to tie together words by semantics; that is, to tie them together by meaning. The merchant must oversee or govern all his workers, and this leads logically to the role of governor. It is the semantic connection that allows the reader to understand the writer’s logic in this sentence. By using POE, you can narrow the answers to (C) and (E). If you’re not sure, guess and move on.

44. E This is a tricky question. If you understand the term “synecdoche,” you increase your odds of getting the question right. This rhetorical figure is a limited form of metonymy (which is defined as any time a characteristic represents something, or something stands for its characteristic). Synecdoche is when a part stands for the whole. In this case, the merchant doesn’t govern hands, he governs workers, but the workers are mostly manual laborers, so the hands represent the workers (by synecdoche) and reinforce the idea of manual labor. The author employs the wordmen twice in the paragraph, and the synecdoche also helps with diction. Answer (D) is less important, but surely “hands” is a concrete, rather than an abstract, image. Thus, all four answers are appropriate.

45. B The answer to this question is embedded in the final part of the paragraph discussed above. If you read and understood the passage, you should have been fine; the question should cause problems only for those who guess by using the context of the twenty-first century. He says that the merchant’s two obligations are to produce quality, affordable goods and take care of his workers. From the initial paragraph, we saw that according to this author, profits are only secondary to the merchants’ real functions, so you can eliminate every answer but (B) right off the bat.

46. C This passage is a kind of an ode to the merchant, and this is tantamount to an ode to capitalism.

If you decide to use POE, then you can eliminate (D) and (E) right away: The author posits merchants, clerics, and physicians in a decidedly positive light. By extolling the virtues of the merchant (and manufacturer), he cannot possibly be a supporter of socialism, so even (B) is an unreasonable choice.

47. C This is a scientifically precise description of the Galapagos Islands. Choice (A) is incorrect since nothing is being classified in this passage. Choice (B) is also wrong—no point of view is presented here—just facts. The passage is not dominated by analogies, so (D) can’t be right. Finally, you know that (E) is incorrect, since “lyrical” pertains to personal sentiment, and there are practically no personal feelings expressed at all; the closest we get to personal sentiment is the statement that some of the craters are “beautifully symmetrical.”

48. A Unless you recognized the passage (by Charles Darwin), you should have used POE to answer this question. Answer (D) is the easiest to eliminate; the passage is neither lyrical nor poetic—it was not written by a poet. The passage is about the islands themselves, not about volcanoes as (E) suggests. Answers (B) and (C) are somewhat plausible; however if this passage were emblematic of an entire novel, what boring reading that would be. Finally, a book for tourists about the Galapagos Islands would make the islands far more alluring than this passage does.

49. D In this case, the answer is made clear from the passage; the craters have a border of soft stone (tuff) that has worn away on the southern side. The specific line from the passage that allows you to answer this question is: “These consist either of lava or scoriae, or of finely-stratified, sandstone-like tuff.” Sandstone is a type of rock. The definition of “tuff” is actually “a rock composed of compacted volcanic ash varying in size from fine sand to coarse gravel.”

50. D The author doesn’t address (A) or (E), so you can eliminate those and look more closely at the middle three choices. While it is true that the speaker mentions the Pacific Ocean and the fragments of granite, he incorporates these elements in his overarching discussion of the symmetrical craters.

51. A In reality, the author is both a poet and a novelist, but you are asked to make a judgment based on the passage. To answer this question correctly, you would need to use POE and your best judgment to eliminate all of the least likely answer choices. The passage is an attack against the intrusion of prosaic life into the realm of art. The panegyric (high praise) of classical language is a key to understanding the author’s point of view: “a language different from that of actual use, a language full of resonant music and sweet rhythm, made stately by solemn cadence, or made delicate by fanciful rhyme, jeweled with wonderful words, and enriched with lofty diction.” In a word, this is poetry.

The writing is far too lyrical for the author of the passage to be a journalist (D) or an actor (E); the latter choice is thrown in for those superficial readers who assume that a passage that purports to deal with English drama should be somehow related to a theatrical term. The same may be said for (C). The author capitalizes “art” because he is not discussing painting specifically, but the general realm of artistic creation that encompasses all the arts.

52. E The example is stated rhetorically: “Take the case of the English drama,” and lasts for most of the passage. “Illustration by example” is definitely the defining rhetorical device of this passage.

53. A A maxim is a truism or pithy saying, a gnomic statement similar to a proverb, so (A) is the best answer.

POE can help you narrow down your choices. Clearly, the statement does not compare Art to something else, so you can eliminate (E). If anything, the statement is overstatement (hyperbole), and for that reason (D) can be discarded. For the statement to be an antithesis, the author would have needed to put two things or concepts in opposition, but we have only one element (Art); thus, you can eliminate answer (C). At this point, your chances are fifty-fifty, so you could guess and move on.

But let’s look at (B). A “chiasmus” is a syntactic figure wherein the elements in one clause are reversed in another. The most famous example is President Kennedy’s statement: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

54. A The author does not revere life above everything else—for example, he clearly states that he doesn’t like life as an intrusion on Art, at the very least or as it appears in certain parts of William Shakespeare’s work. He includes these examples of Caesar and English drama for rhetorical reasons, and while he admires English drama, he does not appear to revere it. (By the way, to “revere” something is “to regard it with awe, deference, and devotion.) Beauty is held up as an ideal, and this is clear when the author says, “the object of Art is not simple truth but complex beauty.”



Synthesis Essay

This sample essay is above average, but winds up being unnecessarily repetitive. The author does a good job of bringing in outside knowledge to round out information in the sources. However, he does not fully engage with the sources—he treats the David painting, in particular, as though its meaning was obvious and required no further explanation. The author lays out a very clear framework for his views on leadership, which also guides the structure of the essay. However, he does not attempt to engage two of the more difficult sources, the quotations from Plato and Confucius, which might not fit well into that framework. At the level of writing, this essay is solid; however, some of its sentences get away from the author and become unwieldy. Further, the essay becomes repetitive in the final paragraph, where the author relies more on repeating his thesis, rather than demonstrating it by use of the sources. Finally, the conclusion, while clear, is a little too pat. The author fails to acknowledge that leaders of all kinds have been successful in history, and that his examples do not necessarily fall into his desired categories as clearly as he might like. Overall, this essay likely merits a 7.

There are perhaps as many approaches to leadership and governing as there are leaders and rulers. However, in general, these styles can be separated into two categories: collaborative leadership and authoritative leadership. Collaborative leaders view their subjects as allies with useful skills and viewpoints, who may have worthwhile insights and who can be trusted, even if they need direction. Authoritative leadership, however, considers followers to be untrustworthy unless closely supervised, and claims that one cannot befriend the common people; one can only overawe them. Of these two ways of ruling, the collaborative style produces better results, even though strong believers in authority are not able to trust that a collaborative process can work.

In The Prince, Niccolo Machiavelli laid out a handbook for an authoritative leadership style. He claimed that a ruler cannot put his faith in the common people, because they will always betray the leader when times are difficult. A prince who relies “entirely on … promises” will fail, because only “the dread of punishment” can ensure compliance. Thomas Hobbes, in Leviathan, makes a similar point: security for the people is so important that they themselves must embrace a tyrannical ruler. People cannot trust each other unless they set up some absolute authority, which, once it exists, is unquestionable, and can ensure safety by intimidation.

History gives the lie to the assertions of these political thinkers. Machiavelli wanted a prince to unify the Italian city-states through force of arms; no such person would come about until the 19th Century, and then it was a king whose main appeal was that he was a limited, constitutional monarch, rather than a dictator. Hobbes claimed that security could only be assured by government that overwhelmed the will of the people; but the most secure states today are the ones which are run by democracies that respond to people’s complaints.

Instead, the most successful leaders in history have been collaborative ones: those who inspire greatness, rather than fear, in their followers, and who help their followers to achieve greatness without micromanaging them. For example, General George Patton’s view on leadership was that the leader should trust his subordinates. By making sure not to restrain his subordinates’ creativity, Patton became one of the most successful generals in World War II. Napoleon Bonaparte was another kind of collaborative leader. He definitely gave his subordinates clear orders and goals, but he “led from the trenches.” He was directly involved in their struggles. His personal boldness and character inspired greatness in his followers. Without needing to intimidate his people, Napoleon succeeded where even the great general Hannibal failed, becoming one of the greatest rulers in history. This collaborative leadership style—trusting people to do the right thing—is characteristic of highly successful leaders in history, as well as the most important form of government in the modern world: democracy.


Rhetorical Analysis Essay

The following sample is a slightly better than adequate response; the strong writing would probably carry it to a 7 or 8, despite the tenuous grasp of rhetorical strategies. It would be possible to question the student’s assertion that Mark Twain’s comment that “the scow episode is really a sublime burst of invention” proves that “he is a reasonable critic and not bent on purely insulting the popular author.” Most likely, this represents more of Twain’s sarcasm.

Mark Twain’s well-known essay “Fenimore Cooper’s Literary Offenses” seeks to mock both the work itself and its devoted readers. Though Twain’s piece has a decidedly ironic tone and is not meant to be serious literary criticism, he employs a variety of rhetorical tactics to argue his point and persuade the audience that not only is Cooper’s work flawed and ridiculous, but also that they are mislead in having enjoyed Cooper’s writing. Twain uses rhetorical devices rooted in both language and content to convince the reader of the validity of his scathing conclusion about Cooper.

By subtle choices of persuasive writing, Twain conveys his meaning through his language. He uses the first person plural as his point of view to connect with the reader and to give an impression of a sympathetic guide alerting the reader to literary inadequacy. Instead of always presenting his evidence outright, Twain uses rhetorical questions to intensify his essay and to catch the reader’s attention. By demanding “Did the Indians notice […]?” he highlights the unrealistic nature of Cooper’s work. In the final paragraph, he employs an anaphora, beginning several successive sentences with “Then No.…” This repetitive wording emphasizes his message of Cooper’s inadequacy. His phrasing plays a key role in convincing the reader of his point.

In addition, Twain’s choice of evidence is clearly intended to strengthen his argument. He uses a simile, “He saw nearly all things as through a glass eye, darkly” to help the audience visualize and better comprehend his meaning. To dramatize his critique, Twain writes “It would take you thirty years to guess,” an obvious hyperbole that vividly depicts the ridiculousness of Cooper’s work. Throughout the essay, Twain relies on mathematical computations and logic to undermine Cooper’s credibility, hoping that objective reasoning will sway his readers. Finally, in a concession to Cooper’s competency, Twain admits that “the scow episode is really a sublime burst of invention” to illustrate that he is a reasonable critic and not bent on purely insulting the popular author.

Twain’s wide range of rhetorical techniques serve to convince his audience in as many different ways as possible that he is a logical, credible critic and that his argument is valid.


Argumentative Essay

The sample essay below serves as a great model, for it exudes an ease that can come only with great practice with the art of writing. There is a clear thesis and organizational structure. Quality replaces quantity, and the clarity is pristine. Remember that above all else, the AP reader craves clarity. The work might not earn a 9, but it would definitely receive an 8.

For as long as authority has existed, there have been those who have challenged it, rebelled against it, and even refused to acknowledge it. Institutions that hold great power—the government, the church, public opinion—have dictated what is right and wrong to those under their control. However, when an individual’s personal convictions come into conflict with authority’s established morality, persecution, isolation, and other such punishments often follow. Voltaire was correct in his assertion that “it is dangerous to be right” in opposition to the status quo, as demonstrated in history and literature.

As science developed during the Renaissance and humans began to have a more objective understanding of the world, the church held vehemently to its tenets and persecuted those who contradicted its teachings. Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei, whose observations played a pivotal role in our model for the solar system, was one such man who suffered greatly for his non-Christian hypotheses. Though Galileo’s theories were indeed correct, the Church nonetheless suppressed his work and placed him under house arrest. Similarly, during the 1950s, McCarthyism swept America, as the government tried to root out “Communists.” For the few who condemned the inherent immorality of McCarthy’s campaign and tactics, the result was that they too would be blacklisted and effectively ruined. In contradicting the Church and the government, independent thinkers have suffered greatly for “being right” throughout history.

The dangers of questioning authority have not been neglected in world literature. In Milan Kundera’s The Joke, the protagonist Ludvik is expelled from the university and the Communist Party for making comments derogatory to the Party. Though his criticisms would certainly be deemed valid by later generations, his correct thinking is rewarded with isolation and prison-like punishment in the military. Fighting against both the establishment and the majority, Arthur Miller’s character John Proctor is indeed “right” that the Salem witch trials depicted in The Crucible are madness, and ruining the lives of innocent people. However, his unpopular beliefs only cause him danger as he, too, is soon labeled as a witch. These two protagonists, whose lone voices of reason decry the authorities’ “wrong” stance, suffer great dangers as a result of their challenges to the establishment. Voltaire’s claim has been continually confirmed by history and