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How to Get a 5 in AP French

5 min readnovember 18, 2020

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charly511115

Charly Castillo


AP French  🇫🇷

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How to Get a 5 in AP French

If you're taking the AP French Language & Culture exam this year, you may be worrying about how much content you have to master before the exam in May. Sure, it is a lot of a work, but by studying smart, it is completely achievable. In this blog, we'll be going over some studying tips and tricks, which you can use as you prepare for the AP exam and make this year cinque-able 🇫🇷

Study the Exam Format 📝

You should know the AP French exam format by heart months before exam day, and even though this may seem a bit extreme, there's a good reason why you should know it so early. Knowing what to expect on the exam, from the order of the FRQs to the length of each section, will help avoid surprises, which can slow you down or make you lose your train of thought. Also, being aware of what to expect in terms of time on the FRQ section will help you pace yourself and know how much you can achieve in the period.
The AP French exam has two main sections: multiple-choice and free-response, which are both worth 50% of your final score. Section 1 is an hour, 35 minutes long and has 65 print and audio questions, which are divided into 9 sets. Here's what's covered in each of those sets:
  • Sets 1-4 test your comprehension of different print sources by asking about their central idea, point of view, word choice, and other features of the text 📖
  • Sets 5-6 have print and audio texts on the same topic and ask similar questions to that of the previous four sets 📖 🔊
  • Sets 7-9 play different audio sources like interviews and presentation and have you answer questions about what you heard 🔊
The next section is slightly shorter at 1 hour, 28 minutes long, and it has 4 tasks, which are split into 2 smaller groups: writing and speaking. Here's what you'll do in each of the tasks:
  • Task 1 tests your interpersonal writing skills by having you write a short, formal response to an email in French ✍️
  • Task 2 assesses your ability to create and support an argument using evidence by giving you with three sources with different perspectives on a similar topic ✍️
  • Task 3 gives you twenty seconds to respond to a speaker in a simulated conversation 5 times 🗣️
  • Task 4 has you deliver a presentation comparing a part of Francophone culture or society to that another community 🗣️
All of this may seem like a lot of new information right now, but after a bit of practicing and studying, all of it will become second nature to you.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-nxpsKQASbSz3.gif?alt=media&token=78899f7e-e03d-4fa3-8296-a914b2d28794

Image Courtesy of Tenor. Hopefully, knowing all the information above will help you avoid looking like this on exam day.

Immerse Yourself in French 💻

Immersing yourself in the language is a great way to get comfortable with hearing French, which will make the audio sections of the exam so much easier once it’s test day. Here are some ways that you can listen to more French on the daily:
  • Create a Spotify playlist with French songs (definitely look into Stromae and Angèle)
  • Read current events articles on French news sites like Le Figaro, Le Monde, and Le Quotidien (Senegal)
  • Watch French foreign movies and TV shows on Netflix or Hulu
  • Change your phone's language settings to French
Studying with these resources will help you score high by immersing you in Francophone cultures, exposing you to new vocabulary (and reviewing older words), and improving your fluency.

Use Good Studying Resources 📚

Even though most of your learning will be done in the classroom, being enrolled in an AP course also means that you will have to learn a bit through independent, at home studying. This is why it’s crucial to have good resources that you can use to prepare for the exam.
When looking for AP French study materials, you may want to consider some questions, including but not limited to the following:
  • Do you prefer using textbooks, prep books, online resources, or a mix of them all?
  • How would you describe your learning style?
  • Do you want a well-rounded resource or one that focuses on one specific aspect of the course like grammar, vocabulary, or culture?
  • Is the resource aligned with the requirements for the 2021 exam?
  • Have you visited our “Best Textbooks and Prep Books for AP French” for some recommendations?
Knowing the answers to these questions will help you pick the best study materials for you. However, having good materials won't guarantee you a 5 on the exam without good studying habits. This brings us to the next tip...

Create a Studying Schedule 👩🏻‍🏫

Once you find the materials that you want to use, you should create a study plan to keep you on track. By setting aside a part of your day for studying, you’ll be able to review what you’ve already learned and go over topics that you may be weaker at.
Lots of students have found the Pomodoro Technique to be a helpful studying method because its combines work time with breaks. This’ll keep you refreshed, focused, and productive as you go through material. Here's how it goes:
  • For 25 minutes, work on a task of your choosing like homework, reading, note taking, etc.
  • For 5 minutes, take a short break and stretch, check your phone, or do anything else that doesn’t involve work.
  • Repeat the steps above 4 times.
  • For anywhere from 15-30 minutes, take a longer break. You deserve it for working so hard!
  • If you want to continue working, repeat this process as many times as you'd like.
Be sure to try out the Pomodoro Technique, although it may not be for everyone. Be sure to try out other studying methods before finalizing your studying schedule.

Learn French Idioms 🗣️

Idioms, also known as idiomatic expressions, are sayings that don’t have literal meanings and are usually only understood by native speakers of a language. An example of this in English would be “break a leg”. Knowing some in French is super helpful, since they can allow you to express complex ideas in short phrases and make you seem more fluent in the language.
If you find yourself needing to practice idiomatic expressions in French, be sure to check out this Quizlet set.

Closing Thoughts 💬

Hopefully, you found this post helpful as you study your way towards a 5 on the AP French test. By following the suggestions above, you’ll be one step closer to acing it in May. If you find yourself needing more studying materials, be sure to keep visiting the Fiveable website for unit guides and other posts.
Good luck and happy studying 🇫🇷
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