How to Get a 5 on the AP U.S. History Exam!
MEK’s Advanced Placement Course & Exam Prep classes are opening in January 2024. We’re offering small group virtual and in-person classes and private tutoring designed to give students the strategies and skills to ace their challenging AP classes and earn a 5 on the AP exam in May.
This Spring, we are offering AP Language & Composition and AP Literature & Composition taught by expert instructor Ms. Rachel Erwin.
Ms. Erwin is a graduate of the University of Texas A&M and is an influential leader on the Exam Prep team. She teaches College Test Prep, H.S. Test Prep, and College Application Essays. Within the English Department, she serves as a leader for the Exam Prep team, working diligently to ensure all students’ success. With her clear and systematic approach to teaching, she helps students make huge improvements.
Read on to find out Ms. Erwin’s top 3 tips for scoring a 5 on the AP Lit and AP Lang exams in May!
Tip #1: Read outside of class!
The best way to prepare to earn a 5 on the AP Lit and AP Lang exams is to read outside of class!
If you are taking AP English Literature, read novels, short stories, and poems beyond what your teacher in high school has assigned to you.
If you are taking AP English Language, read memoirs, essays, and speeches.
The more exposure you have to different types of texts that you might see on the official test the better. Make sure what you are reading aligns with the type of text you’ll see on the official test (you can easily visit the official AP website for a list of recommended texts!).
Tip #2: Make sure practicing multiple choice and sharpening test-taking strategies is part of your study plan.
Oftentimes, exposure to the multiple-choice section of the test is lacking in the class preparation for the exams.
Because this is an English classroom, many students that I’ve encountered will usually (but not always) get adequate exposure to the essay writing portions of the test. They might even get adequate exposure to different types of texts.
However, students are often evaluated on these texts in a variety of ways, such as short answer responses, class discussions or Socratic seminars, or projects. Even if their teacher gives them a multiple-choice assessment on the text, it’s often not in the style of AP English Language or AP English Literature.
So students are not receiving enough practice or given enough strategies on how to independently tackle a text and answer the specific type of questions that the official test will ask, while avoiding common trap answers. In other words, they are taught content, but not test-taking strategies.
Tip #3: Read literary criticism and analysis to prepare for the writing portion of the exam!
Besides writing essays themselves, students can read literary criticism and analysis to prepare for the writing portion of the exam.
Most of the essays (remember that the test has three essays) are asking the student to analyze a text or argument or to make their own literary or rhetorical argument. Students obviously need to practice writing these essays and receive detailed feedback so they can improve. However, one often overlooked resource that can help students is to read literary analysis from professionals. Common websites like SparkNotes, Shmoop, or Cliff Notes will provide detailed analysis of texts based on symbolism, theme, rhetoric, tone, and other aspects.
Many times, high school teachers will tell students to avoid these websites. They are afraid students will read the summaries of an assigned text instead of reading the entirety of the text. Or they will read the website’s analysis instead of thinking of it themselves. I understand this concern. Students do need to learn to independently read and analyze. So, they should avoid using these sites for assigned reading from school. But they can utilize these websites for books or texts they read on their own or books or texts they have read in the past.
Click here for more tips on how to get a 5 on the AP English Literature & Composition and AP English Language & Composition exams!
Although AP courses are tough and may seem intimidating at first, a solid study plan and good study habits can help students get high grades and ace the exams.
Many AP teachers focus on only the course material, leaving students underprepared for the actual 2-3 hour exam. At MEK, we take a two-pronged approach to AP Prep. Through providing students with both lectures by experienced teachers and practice exams, students gain a solid understanding of the material and learn test-taking skills to maintain their performance under time pressure.
Click here to learn more about our AP Course offerings for Spring 2024!
Interested in registering for AP courses with MEK? Fill out our Registration Form to get started.
Or if you have questions, contact us! We look forward to hearing from you.