AP English Language

STEP 1
Set Up Your Study Program

CHAPTER 2

How to Plan Your Time

IN THIS CHAPTER

Summary: Assess your own study patterns and preparation plans.

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Key Ideas

image Explore three approaches.

image Choose a calendar that works for you.


Three Approaches to Prepare for the AP English Language and Composition Exam

No one knows your study habits, likes, and dislikes better than you. You are the only one who can decide which approach you want and/or need to adopt to prepare for the AP English Language and Composition exam. Look at the brief profiles below. These may help you to place yourself in a particular prep mode.

You are a full-year prep student (Approach A) if:

1. You like to plan for a vacation or the prom a year in advance.

2. You never think of missing a practice session, whether it’s for your favorite sport, musical instrument, or activity.

3. You like detailed planning and everything in its place.

4. You feel you must be thoroughly prepared.

5. You hate surprises.

6. You are always early for appointments.

You are a one-semester prep student (Approach B) if:

1. You begin to plan for your vacation or the prom 4 to 5 months before the event.

2. You are willing to plan ahead to feel comfortable in stressful situations, but are okay with skipping some details.

3. You feel more comfortable when you know what to expect, but a surprise or two does not floor you.

4. You are always on time for appointments.

You are a 4- to 6-week prep student (Approach C) if:

1. You accept or find a date for the prom a week before the big day.

2. You work best under pressure and close deadlines.

3. You feel very confident with the skills and background you’ve learned in your AP English Language and Composition class.

4. You decided late in the year to take the exam.

5. You like surprises.

6. You feel okay if you arrive 10 to 15 minutes late for an appointment.

CALENDARS FOR PREPARING FOR THE AP ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND COMPOSITION EXAM

Calendar for Approach A:
Yearlong Preparation for the AP English Language and Composition Exam

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Although its primary purpose is to prepare you for the AP English Language and Composition exam you will take in May, this book can enrich your study of language and composition, your analytical skills, and your writing skills.

SEPTEMBER–OCTOBER (Check off the activities as you complete them.)

______ Determine into which student mode you would place yourself.

______ Carefully read the Introduction and Chapter 1.

______ Pay very close attention to the “Walk Through” the Diagnostic/Master exam.

______ Get on the Web and take a look at the AP website(s).

______ Skim the Comprehensive Review section. (These areas will be part of your yearlong preparation.)

______ Buy a highlighter.

______ Flip through the entire book. Break the book in. Write in it. Highlight it.

______ Get a clear picture of what your own school’s AP English Language curriculum is.

______ Review the Bibliography and establish a pattern of outside reading.

______ Begin to use this book as a resource.

NOVEMBER (The first 10 weeks have elapsed.)

______ Write the argumentative essay in the Diagnostic/Master exam.

______ Compare your essay with the sample student essays.

______ Refer to Chapters 6 and 9 on the argumentative essay.

______ Take five of our prompts and write solid opening paragraphs.

DECEMBER

______ Maintain notes on literary works studied in and out of class.

______ Refine analytical skills (see Chapters 5 and 8).

______ Write one of the two analytical essays in the Diagnostic/Master exam. (This will depend on the organization of your own curriculum.)

______ Compare your essay with the sample student essays.

JANUARY (20 weeks have now elapsed.)

______ Write the synthesis essay in the Diagnostic/Master exam. (This will depend on your previous choice.)

______ Compare your essay with the sample student essays.

______ Refer to Chapters 7 and 10 on the synthesis essay.

FEBRUARY

______ Take the multiple-choice section of the Diagnostic/Master exam.

______ Carefully go over the explanations of the answers to the questions.

______ Score yourself honestly.

______ Make a note of terms and concepts and types of questions that give you trouble.

______ Review troublesome terms by checking the Glossary.

MARCH (30 weeks have now elapsed.)

______ Form a study group.

______ Choose a selection you have studied in class and create an essay question to go with it, or you can use one of our suggested prompts.

______ Choose a passage from a current editorial and create an essay question to go with it, or you can choose one of our suggested prompts.

______ Write one of the analytical essays.

______ Write one of the synthesis essays.

______ Compare essays and rate them with your study group. (Use our rubrics.)

APRIL

______ Take Practice Exam 1 in the first week of April.

______ Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses.

______ Study appropriate chapters to correct weaknesses.

______ Practice creating multiple-choice questions of different types with your study group.

______ Develop and review worksheets for and with your study group.

MAY—First two weeks (THIS IS IT!)

______ Highlight only those things in the Glossary about which you are still unsure. Ask your teacher for clarification. Study!

______ Write at least three times a week under timed conditions.

______ Take Practice Exam 2.

______ Score yourself.

______ Give yourself a pat on the back for how much you have learned and improved over the past nine months.

______ Go to the movies. Call a friend.

______ Get a good night’s sleep. Fall asleep knowing you are well prepared.

GOOD LUCK ON THE TEST!

Calendar for Approach B:
Semester-Long Preparation for the AP English Language and Composition Exam

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The following calendar assumes that you have completed one semester of language and composition and will use those skills you have been practicing to prepare you for the May exam. You still have plenty of time to supplement your course work by taking our study recommendations, maintaining literary notations, doing outside readings, and so forth. We divide the next 16 weeks into a workable program of preparation for you.

JANUARY–FEBRUARY (Check off the activities as you complete them.)

______ Carefully read the Introduction and Chapter 1.

______ Write the three essays on the Diagnostic/Master exam.

______ Compare your essays with the sample student essays.

______ Complete the multiple-choice section of the Diagnostic/Master exam.

______ Carefully go over the answers and explanations of the answers.

______ Take a close look at the Bibliography for suggestions regarding possible outside readings.

MARCH (10 weeks to go)

______ Form a study group.

______ Choose a favorite essay or excerpt from a book and create an essay question to go with it, or you can use one of our suggested prompts.

______ Choose a prose passage or essay and create an essay question to go with it, or you can choose one of our suggested prompts.

______ Write one of the analytical essays.

______ Write one of the synthesis essays.

______ Compare essays and rate them with your study group. (Use our rubrics.)

APRIL

______ Take Practice Exam 1 in the first week of April.

______ Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses.

______ Study appropriate chapters to correct weaknesses.

______ Practice creating multiple-choice questions of different types with your study group.

______ Develop and review worksheets for and with your study group.

MAY—First two weeks (THIS IS IT!)

______ Highlight only those things in the Glossary about which you are still unsure. Ask your teacher for clarification. Study!

______ Write at least three times a week under timed conditions.

______ Take Practice Exam 2.

______ Score yourself.

______ Give yourself a pat on the back for how much you have learned and improved over the past nine months.

______ Go to the movies. Call a friend.

______ Get a good night’s sleep. Fall asleep knowing you are well prepared.

GOOD LUCK ON THE TEST!

Calendar for Approach C:
4- to 6-Week Preparation for the AP English Language and Composition Exam

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At this point, we assume that you have been developing your argumentative, analytical, and writing skills in your English class for more than six months. You will, therefore, use this book primarily as a specific guide to the AP English Language and Composition exam. Remember, there is a solid review section in this book, to which you should refer.

Given the time constraints, now is not the time to try to expand your AP curriculum. Rather, it is the time to limit and refine what you already do know.

APRIL

______ Skim the Introduction and Chapter 1.

______ Carefully go over the “Rapid Review” sections of Chapters 5 through 10.

______ Strengthen, clarify, and correct your weak areas after taking the Diagnostic/Master exam.

______ Write a minimum of three sample opening paragraphs for each of the three types of essays.

______ Write a minimum of two timed essays for each type of essay on the exam.

______ Complete Practice Exam 1.

______ Score yourself and analyze your errors.

______ Refer to the appropriate chapters to correct weaknesses.

______ Refer to the Bibliography.

______ If you feel unfamiliar with specific forms of discourse, refer to the list of suggested appropriate works.

______ Develop a weekly study group to hear each other’s essays and discuss writing.

______ Skim and highlight the Glossary.

MAY—First two weeks (THIS IS IT!)

______ Complete Practice Exam 2.

______ Score yourself and analyze your errors.

______ Refer to the appropriate chapters to correct weaknesses.

______ Go to the movies. Call a friend.

______ Get a good night’s sleep. Fall asleep knowing you are well prepared.

GOOD LUCK ON THE TEST!

“One of the first steps to success on the AP exam is knowing your own study habits.”

—Margaret R., AP Language teacher