How To Succeed In AP English?

Hello, thank you for taking the time to read this post! I am currently a junior taking AP English among other AP and honors courses. I am a highly dedicated student and I am willing to put in however much effort it takes to earn an A, but AP English has me a bit confused about what exactly I need to do.

I got a 6 out of 9 on our the first AP Write that doesn’t count toward our grade because we hadn’t been taught anything. We have another AP Write in a few days that actually counts for our grade, so I want to get a 7 which is an A. This means that I need to write an essay that is worth a 6 but has “a magical moment.” I asked my teacher today what constitutes a magical moment in her mind, but she said that based on the performance on our last essay our class “isn’t ready” to learn what that is. I am completely baffled - I feel that without her telling me what a magical moment is I can only plateau at a 6 and I can’t take the next step, I feel that I am putting in lots of effort to have one-on-one conversations with her to show that I care and want to put in the work that it takes to succeed yet she isn’t reciprocating that effort to tell me how to succeed, and I don’t understand why she isn’t giving me all the information that I need to excel at my fullest potential. I’m not sure what I need to do when my teacher won’t help me, so my questions are - how can I prepare for this AP Write so that I get the grade I want, how have you created “a magical moment” in your essays, and what does it take to succeed in AP English?

A 6 is typically indicative of a sufficient argument. However, you most likely need to explain further. I would suggest taking a look at your first essay and asking “why” after every sentence. If your next sentence/statement does not answer that question, then you need to provide a more thorough explanation of what you mean and/or why it’s important to your argument. That should help you with future essays by giving you a more clear view of where your writing needs something more “magical”! :slight_smile: Good Luck!

Thank you so much! I went back and did that and I definitely agree it could use more detail :slight_smile: @birdie3

When I took this class, my teacher gave us a list of universal themes that was supposed to help us get to that “magical” moment. Basically, the exam readers are looking to see if your essay makes a deeper connection to some kind of universal truth. In addition to answering the prompt, analysis on the devices you choose should support this universal truth. For example, if the passage given is about nature, and there is a lot of enumeration, you might say that the author is trying to make a point about how humans try to control nature by trying to classify and organize it.

When you start your essay, the introductory paragraph should do two things: state your thesis and connect that thesis to a deeper meaning. If you can’t think of a deeper meaning at the beginning, leave it out of your into and include it in your conclusion. An important thing to remember is that the deeper meaning has to be grounded in the text. You can’t assume too much about the author without textual evidence.