<p>imo, its not something you can "study" for in the traditional sense. Knowing the literary terms is important, and so is comprehension. I took the test in May and I already don't remember specifically what is on it, but I do remember that I thought the first part was a lot like the SAT. Reading passages and answering comprehension and analysis questions was a big part, and writing essays was the other. When writing the essays, they are looking for your ability to correctly identify the theme, style, literary devices and terms used. I honestly didn't believe a lot of the crap my teacher was feeding me about author's intent in this-and-that, the over-over-over-stressed-usage-of-symbolism, and his seemingly insatiable desire to make every single piece of literature relate to Hamlet or a death motif. But, here's the key, listen to all of that, I'm sure you're going to hear a lot of it from your teacher, and understand it, even if you don't believe it. I used all of my teacher's ideas about motif and theme in my essays and it worked. I got a 5, and I love to tell the story about the last essay last year, it was a very confusing passage we had to interpret. None of the characters were formally introduced, they just kind of appeared, I had to read it 4 times before I realized there were only 3 characters, not 6. I had no idea what was going on... so I followed my teacher's fool-proof guide to writing when you are clueless...
1- find out (if you can) when the piece was written and where.. knowing the political ideas of the day are often helpful.
2-look for related words used often.
3-decide what type of mood the words have
4-write about the mood of the paper, relating steps 1,2 & 3 to each other.. the rest will follow. </p>
<p>the test gives you some basic background info.. so i knew it was written (i forget exactly) between 1900-1929, by an American ex-patriot living somewhere in Europe.
words like, money, opulant, showy, ring, payment, pay, wealthy, greedy, were used a lot (and the character was worrying about his pay more than anything else)
the previous words were often used with words like, smarmy, gluttonous...
so i gathered that the author was being critical of money, it fits with the time frame.
the key to the essay is developing a thesis statement more complex than "The author shows in this passage that he is critical of money."
so using my teacher's plan, my thesis statement read something like
" "the author's name" was writing during a time of fluxuating political ideologies during the midst of rising class tensions. Through the use of negative descriptors such as "greedy" and "opulant" and the overly-monitarily obsessed character [whats-his-face], "the author's name" shows his distaste for society's enslavement to all things monitary. He writes this passage to demonstrate his rejection of the abstract materialism of the world."
it was something like that ( see the difference between those two thesisii is the difference between a 3 and a 5).. I didnt know what the passage was really about, but I was able to make it sound like I did. I dont think materialism is abstract (I see my computer in front of me and I enjoy owning it. I love my car. I like my house, it keeps me warm. Clothes are nice too
), but it is a common literary theme. Once you present your well conceived thesis, your literary terms come in handy, because you can support your thesis with alliterations, assonances, allegories, similies, metaphors, and of course word choices. If your teacher has copies of last years test and you can read the last essay prompt you will see what I am talking about. So, yes, you should take the AP exam, you dont need to study for it outside of your AP class. Even if you are not strong with comprehension, if you can find literary terms and devices, that really helps to identify the mood, which in turn helps to see the theme and purpose of the passage. If you are totally lost, use the 4 step program to just make stuff up, because at least then you are making up intelligent stuff.
AND DONT WRITE YOUR FREE RESPONSE ABOUT HAMLET. </p>
<p>I hope this is enlightening rather than confusing, if you have no idea what I am talking about, let me know. Sometimes I dont make a lot of sense.</p>