Tips on/How to self-study for AP Lang?

As I often do, I just wanted to preface this by saying that if a thread like mine already exists, please link it for me.

I’m a junior and my school doesn’t offer an AP Lang course but they do offer the test in May. I think at least 5 people take it each year, but I can’t be sure. Regardless, my teachers have said that the students who take it at my school usually do well (4’s and 5’s) and are strong English students. And I’ve done very well in all my English classes before so I think I have what it takes to do well on the test. But I still think I’ll need to do some degree of self-studying to prepare myself.

So my questions are, what do I do and when do I start. None of my teachers have taught an AP English class in years, so they couldn’t offer me much advice on preparing for the exam. How should I go about studying for it? I’m getting a prep book, but how do I use it? Should self-studying for this test be a consistent thing, even if I’m taking my actual English class? Or is it ok if I maybe look at the book sometimes but save the real intense studying for February, April, and March? (The latter would be ideal for me just because I don’t want to have to consistently carve out time to read a textbook, but if consistent study is recommended, then I’ll make it work.)

Aside from those questions, are there any other tips I should know for the exam and self-studying? What will be the hardest part of this process? What will the be hardest/least familiar content I learn? Hardest parts of the exam itself? Valuable resources, perhaps online?

You’ve already completed step number one, which is get a prep book. Just read through it and plan out your schedule, how much you’re going to study and learn each month. Whatever your schedule is, just stick to it.

One thing you MUST memorize are the terms - you’ll need to know them for the multiple choice section.

The second thing you MUST learn is how to b.s. essays. This skill will save your life when you’re doing the essay section.

Maybe take a practice test every month while you’re studying, just to see how you’re progressing and if you don’t understand something you studied.

And try to finish your studying with a month left to the AP test so you have time to take hundreds of practice tests. During that time, take a practice test, find out what you don’t know, and study the heck out of it. Don’t just go from practice test to practice test. cause you won’t improve that way.

Hi! I took AP Lang as a class last year (and got a 5 on the exam) so I can offer some suggestions. These are the things we did in class that I thought were the most helpful in preparing for the exam.

  1. Know your rhetorical devices/“English” vocabulary. You don’t need to know a ton of fancy words just to know them, but you do need to know what things like anaphora and metonymy are. These will come up in the MC a lot and there is a whole essay on rhetorical analysis where you need to locate rhetorical devices in a passage and analyze how they affect the meaning of the text.

  2. Know the essays. This one might sound obvious but make sure you know exactly what each essay is asking for. Study the rubrics that CollegeBoard provides for each essay, and look at the examples they post of “good” and “bad” essays. Make sure you know why each sample got a 4/9 instead of a 5/9, for example. Your essay might have amazing writing but if it doesn’t answer the prompt, you won’t get a good score.

  3. Practice timing yourself. The main thing my classmates struggled with was doing MC fast enough or writing an essay in 40 minutes. They would have amazing analysis but would only have their intro paragraph written down for the 3rd essay when time was called. Do full length practice exams that you time exactly. Especially make sure you practice writing 3 essays back-to-back in 2 hours 15 mins – this is a lot different than timing yourself for 40 mins on three separate occasions.

As for when you should study, if you are already a good English student, you can probably save the studying for the spring. I didn’t start doing AP practice until February or March, and it was pretty sparse until April.

I hope these tips help! The AP Lang exam is honestly very formulaic so your performance during practice translates pretty closely to your performance on the real thing. There’s not much to study-study for like other AP exams. Above all, practice!