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Exam Skills - FRQ/MCQ

2021 AP Chinese Exam Guide

8 min readโ€ขapril 20, 2021

emilyguo

Emily Guo

cait

Cait Levin


After LOTS of preparation ๐Ÿ’ฆ and time โณ spent reviewing for the AP Chinese ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ Language and Culture Exam ๐Ÿ“–, you probably are ready to cross that finish line ๐Ÿ with the exam ๐Ÿ“–!
Don't let your AP scores define you! No matter what, give yourself a pat on the backย ๐Ÿคšย for all your efforts, and know that a two hour and 15 minute testย ๐Ÿ“–ย cannot cover everything you've learned!ย โ™ฅ๏ธ

AP Exams in General โญ•

On an Advanced Placement (AP) Exam, you can score on a scare 1-5, with 1 being the lowest score and 5 being the highest. According to the College Board, here is what each score is defined as:
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-ReRKCl0R8opk.png?alt=media&token=66e0996c-11b1-40ac-b9a5-10085582788c

Image taken fromย College Board: AP Score Scale Table

Getting an AP score in the range โ†”๏ธ of 3-5 is considered "qualified!" Most colleges will take scores ๐Ÿ’ฏ that are 4s or 5s on AP exams for credit. However, this will depend on the specific college, so don't worry! Always ask your college about this!

๐Ÿค” Structure & Details: What to Expectโ‰๏ธ

To start off, let's talk about the exam details. The total length of the exam โŒ› is about 2 hours and 15 minutes. It will be taken on a computer! You may choose to type in Traditional or Simplified Characters. The 6๏ธโƒฃ units covered in the AP exam are (with links to our Unit Guides!):
  1. Unit 1: Families in Different Societies ๐Ÿ‘ช
  2. Unit 2: The Influence of Language and Culture on Identity ๐Ÿฎ
  3. Unit 3: Influences of Art and Beauty ๐ŸŽจ
  4. Unit 4: How Science and Technology Affect Our Lives ๐Ÿงช (coming soon)
  5. Unit 5: Factors that Impact the Quality of Life ๐Ÿงฌ (coming soon)
  6. Unit 6: Environmental, Political, and Societal Challenges ๐Ÿ’ฆ (coming soon)

Exam Structure

There are 2 sections in the AP Chinese ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ Language and Culture exam, with parts A and B for both.
Section 1A is comprised of 25-35 multiple choice questions, in a total of 20 mins, worth 25% of your total score. This covers the Multiple Choice Listening section (1A).
Section 1B is comprised of 35-40 multiple choice questions, in a total of 1 hour, worth 25% of your total score. This covers the Multiple Choice Reading section (1B).
Section 2A is comprised of 2 Free Response Questions, in a total of 30 minutes, worth 25% of your total score. This covers the Free Response Written section (2A).
Section 2B is comprised of 7 Free Response Questions, in a total of 11 minutes, worth 25% of your total score. This covers the Free Response Spoken section (2B).
Make sure ๐Ÿ‘ to practice, practice, practice โ€ผ๏ธ for all sections!
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-UqyKLCTaJ6l4.png?alt=media&token=5e30c09f-92ed-45a3-897b-e0ca2bd57584

Image taken fromย College Board: AP Chinese - About the Exam.

Section 1: Multiple Choice Questions โœ…

This section is comprised of audio clips ๐Ÿ”Š and reading materials (short) ๐Ÿ“š Be ready to answer multiple choice questions based on what you hear ๐ŸŽง and read ๐Ÿ“–!

Tips and Tricks ๐Ÿ†˜

  • There is NO penalty ๐Ÿšซ for incorrectly answered MCQs so you should answer EVERY SINGLE QUESTION and don't leave anything empty โšช! Take advantage of it! Try to cross off possibilities โŒ and choose โœ… the most plausible one, but take a guess if you have to! You won't be penalized!
  • While the audio ๐Ÿ”Š is playing, try to physically or mentally take notes โœ๏ธ (on your scratch paper) about the key points mentioned. This includes locations ๐Ÿ™๏ธ and dates/timesโŒ›. If it's a conversation, make note of who is speaking ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ as well.
  • Audios ๐Ÿ”‰ may be played once or twice, so be on the lookout for what you are told and see! They cannot be paused โฏ๏ธ or repeated beyond what is given ๐Ÿ’โ€โ™€๏ธ, so listen ๐Ÿ‘‚ carefully.
  • You cannot toggle between questions for audio prompts, so once it's over, it's over.
  • You will usually get a couple of questions โ“ corresponding to 1 audio ๐Ÿ”Š, so don't immediately erase what you heard just yet!
  • Be ready to read ๐Ÿ“š notes, emails about sequence of events, emails describing locations, pen pal letters, poster announcements, advertisements, public signs, even brochures, journalistic articles, and short stories!
  • https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2FScreen_Shot_2020-08-15_at_7.11-rgj2PcqbxffX.png?alt=media&token=0a38c1d1-c1b1-4b52-a25c-8629b150b3b8
    https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-HMfwht8fFRXh.png?alt=media&token=99676622-0727-4657-8cb1-4d7de68619b3

    Image taken fromย AP Chinese Language and Culture Course and Exam Description.

  • Highlight/underline โญ important details as you're reading ๐Ÿ“š through the selections. Skim over your questions โ“ corresponding to the sections first, and then look for answers tying back to the questions in the reading selections ๐Ÿ“–
  • Take your time โณ as you go through the questions, but don't get stuck! Fill in an answer โœ…, but leave a mark ๐Ÿ”– beside the question so you can come back to it after you go through all the MCQs AND if you have time at the end. You can leave two types of marks to differentiate importance/how quickly you can rethink it (on your scratch paper): a star โญ if you're almost there and a question markโ“if you need to spend more time on it. Then, when returning, you can prioritize the questions with a star โญ next to them, and then, if you have time again, spend more time on the questions with a question mark โ“ for a nice finish!

Section 2: Free Response Questions ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ โœ๏ธ

This section is comprised of a story narration ๐Ÿ“˜, an email response ๐Ÿ“ง, a conversation ๐Ÿ’ฌ, and a cultural presentation ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ Practice using different prompts (including ones given by College Board)!
Here are some commonly used task verbs! Get familiar ๐Ÿค— with them!
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-ZOpBrXHMv6sC.png?alt=media&token=439f2473-88ec-4ea5-95c1-d1ee4c02c645

Image taken fromย AP Chinese Language and Culture Course and Exam Description.

Tips and Tricks ๐Ÿ†˜ for Story Narration ๐Ÿ“˜

  • You will be given 4๏ธโƒฃ pictures to write a story ๐Ÿ“• from.
  • Make sure to include a beginning, a middle, and an end.
  • It may help to write an outline ๐Ÿงพ in English/preferred language and then write it in Chinese ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ
  • Spread out your time โฒ๏ธ so that you can cover all of the 4๏ธโƒฃ images. You can always fill in your skeleton story and add fluff and details after! You don't want to miss the last one! Conclude, conclude, conclude your story!
  • Include Chinese ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ idioms if you can and lots and lots of vocabulary (but use it correctly)!
  • Be careful not ๐Ÿšซ to mess up words that are the same when typing โŒจ๏ธ Pinyin (homonyms)!

Tips and Tricks ๐Ÿ†˜ for Email Response ๐Ÿ“ง

  • After receiving an email ๐Ÿ“ง from a friend, craft a well rounded response that covers ALL questions โ“and all other topics ๐Ÿ“‘ included in the email ๐Ÿ“ง.
  • A popular theme is questions or issues about everyday life ๐ŸŒ†. Using your own experience with these topics (if you can) can help with ideas ๐Ÿ’ก on how to respond. Make a note ๐Ÿ—’๏ธ of all key questions/points and cross โŒ each one out as you answer them.
  • Include Chinese ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ idioms if you can and lots and lots of vocabulary (But use it correctly)!
  • Be careful not ๐Ÿšซ to mess up words that are the same when typing โŒจ๏ธ Pinyin (homonyms)!
  • Start with ไฝ ๅฅฝ(Responder's name) and end with a closing greeting (varies from prompt to prompt, but a popular one is ๅŠ ๆฒน ๐Ÿคž). With that, you can tack on the specific possible issue/problem/question that they are dealing with as a nice conclusion.

Tips and Tricks ๐Ÿ†˜ for a Conversation ๐Ÿ’ฌ

  • You will be told what your role ๐Ÿง‘ is in a conversation ๐Ÿ’ฌ, who you are talking ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ to, and what the subject is about. You will listen ๐ŸŽง to who you're having a conversation with talk first, and then you will be given 20 seconds to record a response. This will go on for 6๏ธโƒฃ questions.
  • This section is CHALLENGING! You are not alone if you start panicking or thinking ๐Ÿค” about what to respond ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ with! Remember the main points ๐Ÿ’ก the speaker wants you to answer and work your way through it.
  • Pace yourself as you speak ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ, don't rush ๐Ÿƒ through it, but don't talk too slowly ๐Ÿข either. Take a pause โธ๏ธ if you need to think ๐Ÿค” at the end of a sentence.
  • Include vocabulary that you are familiar with so that the conversation can flow ๐ŸŒŠ. Include as much as you can.
  • Make note ๐Ÿ—’๏ธ if you're talking to someone who is not your peer. Be sure to use ๆ‚จ instead of ไฝ  for formalities.
  • The best way to do well in this section is once again to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! The most important things are said 3๏ธโƒฃ times! Try to fit in regular conversations ๐Ÿ’ฌ in Chinese ๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ณ with other people, such as your classmates and teacher.
  • Don't forget to check out the College Board Prompts as well to get used to the structure! These include previous years' FRQs and Audio Prompts with Example Answers and Scoring Guidelines!

Tips and Tricks ๐Ÿ†˜ for Cultural Presentation ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ

  • You will need to choose a cultural topic based off a couple of given options, and then give a 2๏ธโƒฃ minute presentation ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ on the prompt.
  • You will have 4๏ธโƒฃ minutes to prepare before your 2๏ธโƒฃ minute presentation ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ
  • During the preparation time โœ๏ธ, you should write down main points on the topic you chose to cover. This will help with organization. Include the major โญ• points first, then after, group together a section of minor ๐Ÿ”ธ points. The major points should average to about less than 1 minute of speaking ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ to give yourself some wiggle room ๐Ÿ‘. The minor points should cover about 30 seconds of material. Make sure to include a conclusion and wrap up your presentation ๐ŸŽ . A good way to end ๐Ÿ”š your presentation is to talk about how the topic ties into your own life ๐Ÿงฌ and the global ๐ŸŒŽ community ๐Ÿคผ. Rehashing the main โญ• points at the end is another good way to conclude.
  • After preparation, during the presentation, follow your written list ๐Ÿ—’๏ธ of topics to talk ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ about. You can cover anything else that may come to mind ๐Ÿ’ญ, but don't go off track or off the prompt.
  • Practice with a timer โณ as it'll help you figure out when to switch ๐Ÿ” between sections and how much time โŒ› you need.
  • It's okay to present for less than 2๏ธโƒฃ minutes โฒ๏ธ, just don't go over because you will be cut off.
  • Pace your speaking ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ and pause โธ๏ธ in the correct places. Make sure your sentence structure is correct ๐Ÿ‘. Switch up your vocabulary words and use as many as you can.
  • Talk about the significance! It has been repeatedly missed by many AP Chinese students so don't forget about it!
Best of luck ๐Ÿคž! ๅŠ ๆฒน๐Ÿ›ข๏ธ๏ผ็ปง็ปญๅฅฝๅฅฝ็š„ๅคไน ๏ผ่ฎฐๅพ—ไธ€ๅฎš่ฆๆจกๆ‹Ÿ่€ƒ่ฏ•๐Ÿ“–๏ผ็”จCollege Board ็ป™็š„่ต„ๆ–™๐Ÿ“„ๆ˜ฏไธ€ไธช้žๅธธๅฅฝ๐Ÿ‘็š„ไธปๆ„๏ผ็ฅไฝ ๅฅฝ่ฟ๐Ÿ€๏ผ

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