Hi! I am debating whether to take AP Spanish language next year. I don’t care about the AP exam, I want to know what you do in the class itself?
Well, that depends on the school. A school with a well developed AP Spanish class will be very intensive, but also incredibly helpful. A school with a newer AP Spanish class (like mine) will probably be a lot of trial and error so some lessons and tests will be crap while others are actually decent. Also it depends on the teacher, and their style. Some teachers prefer reading and writing, and some focus on speaking. You definitely should get a good mix of speaking and reading/writing. Or you might have a teacher like my friend’s school, who did not speak Spanish and had a mental breakdown in Spain while leading a language trip. I take German and Mandarin so I’m not actually qualified to tell you about the AP Spanish class vibe, HOWEVER, I teacher assist the language department at my school and am very familiar with the AP Spanish curriculum, ours includes lots of technical grammar, and a lot of speaking in front of the class, and the vocabulary is extensive.
@stressedmhs What textbooks or review books are the best for AP Spanish Lang? I’m considering self studying it as it isn’t offered at my school. Also how difficult would the exam be for a sophomore who took a junior level course of Spanish as a freshman and received straight A’s? Thanks!!
I was looking for another thread and noticed that you didn’t get a response here, so I’ll try and give it to you now. I’m very much a non-native speaker and took AP Spanish this year as a junior, after taking what was the equivalent of Spanish I in middle school (with pretty mediocre instruction…), then Spanish II as a freshman & Pre-AP Spanish III as a sophomore. I had a 99% average both semesters in the AP class and a 5 on the AP exam, and I believe my earlier Spanish classes were 98+ as well.
As for the exam, I didn’t use textbooks or review books at all, though my AP teacher had a copy of the Barron’s book that he offered for us to borrow. (He used the audio CD for some in-class practice & made copies of articles/MC for homework, but I didn’t use it on my own.) I didn’t like listening to Spanish podcasts or watching TV shows, so I pretty much exclusively listened to Spanish music throughout the month leading up to the AP test. By the time you take the exam, you should know all of the tenses on Spanishdict – my AP Spanish class covered the perfect, present/imperfect subjunctive, etc., and we were expected to retain earlier conjugations from previous years.
The reading MC can be tricky or simple depending on your comfort with the topic, but I’d just suggest reading news articles/contemporary books to practice. (Also, similar strategies to English CR apply – look for why wrong answers are wrong, read carefully, get evidence from the passage itself, etc.) I was terrified for the listening because I found the podcasts we did in class & for homework to be very difficult, but the listening on the AP exam was one of the easiest parts, IMO; I was extremely surprised that I found listening much simpler than the reading. The writing part was easiest for me, and I feel like it is for a lot of non-native speakers. If I were you, I’d make flashcards with common transitions (furthermore, moreover, additionally, etc.), because they really help show fluency & structure your essay. You’re going to have to write a formal email based on a prompt in ~15 minutes, so make sure you know appropriate greetings & salutations. You just need to respond to the bullet points & make sure to ask the person to whom you’re responding a question. The 2017 FRQs should be posted on the CB website, but I think mine was about why you’d be a good candidate to take virtual classes. The persuasive essay is also very straightforward – they give you two written documents & an audio recording with various perspectives on an issue, and you have to write an argumentative essay in response. My essay was about whether cell phones should be allowed in school, so it wasn’t bad at all. You just need to know how to integrate & explain the evidence, organize an essay, etc. The speaking was definitely hardest for me. For the conversational speaking, you speak six times for 20 seconds each. Read the directions (if it tells you to ask a question, agree, etc.), or else you can tank pretty easily, but other than that make sure you have some canned excuses & filler lines in case you go blank. Always say no to offers when given the option to because it gives you more to explain! For the presentational speaking, pick one Spanish-speaking region ahead of time & get general thematic information on technology, family, beauty, schools, etc. in that area. I also recommend trying to get a shorthand down so that you can write a lot of your two-minute speech in the four-minute prep time; I would say I wrote about a minute & thirty seconds of my presentation before time ran out, so I just had to improvise the cultural comparison. If I were you, I’d try to kill the writing section so that you have room for error on speaking.