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AP Language Multiple Choice Test Strategies

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AP Language Multiple Choice Test Strategies. Annotate the Passage. Find the clear statement of argument or thesis Identify the kind of argument being made Vivid language or vivid metaphors Mark shifts in point of view or tone Parallel syntax Underline unknown words with context clues

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annotate the passage
Annotate the Passage
  • Find the clear statement of argument or thesis
  • Identify the kind of argument being made
  • Vivid language or vivid metaphors
  • Mark shifts in point of view or tone
  • Parallel syntax
  • Underline unknown words with context clues
  • Bold claims or false statements
in general
In General
  • Answer every question in which you can eliminate at least one or two answers
  • Leave blank answers you don’t have time to finish
  • Context clue
    • Often times the unknown word will be placed with a passage with a certain image; that should be enough to give you a clue as to the answer
  • Questions are sequential from the beginning of the passage to the end, not from easiest to hardest
advice for certain questions
Advice for Certain Questions
  • Pronoun antecedents
    • “It refers to which of the following nouns?”
    • To answer this question, substitute each word in its place
  • Familiar but unfamiliar vocabulary
    • “In colonial times, it was important to husband the food supply during the winter.”
    • “our future would be better insured if we carefully husband our natural resources.”
    • Best answer: to use, to marry, to conserve to waste or to join?
advice for certain questions1
Advice for Certain Questions
  • Roman Numeral Questions
    • Consider the Roman Numerals FIRST. Decide which ones are correct, then move to the A, B, C choices OR Find the Roman Numeral you know is wrong and then eliminate those answers
  • Figures of Speech
    • Questions clarify an unknown with something that is known and add a layer of meaning
    • “The new CEO entered the board room with the flair of a matador”
      • This analogy makes all of the following inferences EXCEPT:

A. The new CEO is the center of attention.

B. The new CEO is in a high risk profession.

C. The new CEO faces a substantial opposition from others.

D. The new CEO exudes power and strategy.

E. The new CEO is an effective delegator of responsibility

advice for certain questions2
Advice for Certain Questions
  • Main Idea Stems
    • “the author’s primary focus”
    • “The intent of the passage”
    • “The anticipated outcome of the argument”
    • Don’t be fooled by the partial ideadistractor
  • Tone/Mood questions
    • Defined by connotation/diction or imagery
    • Review your tone words and know them for the test
footnote questions
Footnote Questions
  • Footnotes can:
    • Identify a source
    • Define terms
    • Add facts or details
    • Clarify confusion
    • Set the record straight


syntax questions
Syntax Questions
  • Parallel Syntax
    • Provides good momentum, gives drive and energy
  • Rhetorical Questions
    • The reader is being manipulated into giving the answer the writer wants
    • Function as transitions
    • Organizational techniques from discussion to solution
syntax questions1
Syntax Questions
  • Clauses and Phrases
    • Clauses are either dependent (fragments added on) or independent (full sentences added on)
    • Phrases do not have verbs
    • Think about what the clause and phrase is doing for the writer to the reader
    • Track this with punctuation
      • Commas= “add ons” that are dependent; usually to clarify, provide examples, or add more context/description
      • Semicolons = “add ons” that are independent; usually of equal value
      • Dash = interrupts a thought with more info, not necessarily related to precious thought
      • Parenthesis = Creates an “aside” moment that provides an additional thought from the author
syntax questions2
Syntax Questions
  • Loose Sentence
    • Independent clause followed by a dependent clause
    • Sentence reaches syntactical closure early
    • Relieves tension and allows the reader to explore the rest of the sentence without urgency.
  • Periodic Sentence
    • Dependent Clause followed by an Independent Clause
    • carry high tension and interest
    • Reader must wait until the end of the sentence to understand the meaning.
    • There is no “closure” until the end of the sentence.
attacking the questions
Attacking the Questions
  • Read and annotate the question stem
    • Underline words like “except, best, primarily”
    • Make sure you know what each question is asking
  • Your answer
    • Think of an answer before looking at the distractors.
  • ZAP: Rule out certain answers
    • Eliminate answers that are clearly wrong. “X” words/phrases/clauses that make answers wrong.
    • Remember, the entire answer must be right.
    • “Zero in And Pick” from the answers you have left.
    • Skip it if you can’t narrow to 2-3 choices.
should i read the questions before i read the passage
Should I Read the Questions Before I Read the Passage?
  • Remember, the choices have one CORRECT answer and 4 WRONG ones. You run the risk of misreading the passage if you look at these answers.
  • IF YOU MUST LOOK: glance at the question stems only to avoid confusion.