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Exam Skills - FRQ/MCQ

2021 AP French Exam Guide

8 min readmarch 13, 2021


Your guide to the 2021 AP French exam

We know that studying for your AP exams can be stressful, but Fiveable has your back! We have created a study plan that will help you crush your AP French exam. We will continue to update this guide with more information about the 2021 exams, as well as helpful resources to help you score that 5. Create a Fiveable account and join our Discord to stay involved in all things AP exams! 😁

Format of the 2021 AP French exam

This year, all AP exams will cover all units and essay types. The 2021 AP French exam format will be:
  • Multiple Choice (Print Text) - 25% of your score
    • 30 questions in 40 minutes
  • Multiple Choice with Audio - 25% of your score
    • 35 questions in 55 minutes
  • Free Response Written - 25% of your score
    • Read and reply to an email (15 minutes)
    • Write an argumentative essay based on three given sources (a text, a graphic, and audio). You will have 55 minutes total for this section.
  • Free Response Spoken - 25% of your score
    • Participating in 5 exchanges in a simulated conversation (20 seconds per response)
    • Preparing and delivering a two-minute cultural comparison. 
    • You will be given 18 minutes to respond to these two tasks 
*The AP French Language and Culture exam will only be available at schools or school-proctored locations

When is the 2021 AP French exam and how do I take it?

There are three different exam administrations this year and all 3 AP French exams will be taken in person and on paper at your school:
  1. The first administration offers the exam on paper, in school, on May 10, 2021, at 8 am your local time.
  2. The second administration offers the exam on paper, in school, on May 21, 2021, at 12 pm your local time.
  3. The third administration offers the exam on paper, in school, on June 4, 2021, at 12 pm your local time.
Remember, all three dates are on paper at your school, no digital version will be available. You will have approximately three hours to take the exam. Create a Fiveable account to get updates on the latest 2021 exam news. 

How should I prepare for the exam?

  • First, download the AP French Cram Chart PDF - a single sheet that covers everything you need to know at a high level. Take note of your strengths and weaknesses!
  • Review every unit and question type, and focus on the areas that need the most improvement. We've put together this plan to help you study between now and May. This will cover all of the units and essay types to prepare you for your exam.
  • Additionally, create your schedule ahead of time so that you can connect with other students instead of just studying alone! Join our Discord channel to talk to real students just like you studying for this exam. 
  • Pre-work: set up your study environment

    Before we begin, take some time to get organized. Remote learning can be great, but it also means you’ll need to hold yourself accountable more than usual. 
    🖥 Create a study space.
    Make sure you have a designated place at home to study. Somewhere you can keep all of your materials, where you can focus on learning, and where you are comfortable. Spend some time prepping the space with everything you need and you can even let others in the family know that this is your study space. 
    📚 Organize your study materials.
    Get your notebook, textbook, prep books, or whatever other physical materials you have. Also create a space for you to keep track of review. Start a new section in your notebook to take notes or start a Google Doc to keep track of your notes. Get yourself set up!
    📅 Plan designated times for studying.
    The hardest part about studying from home is sticking to a routine. Decide on one hour every day that you can dedicate to studying. This can be any time of the day, whatever works best for you. Set a timer on your phone for that time and really try to stick to it. The routine will help you stay on track.
    🏆 Decide on an accountability plan.
    How will you hold yourself accountable to this study plan? You may or may not have a teacher or rules set up to help you stay on track, so you need to set some for yourself. First set your goal. This could be studying for x number of hours or getting through a unit. Then, create a reward for yourself. If you reach your goal, then x. This will help stay focused!
    🤝 Get support from your peers. 
    There are thousands of students all over the world who are preparing for their AP exams just like you! Join our Discord channel to chat, ask questions, and meet other students who are also studying for the spring exams. You can even build study groups and review material together! 

    AP French 2021 Study Plan

    👪 Unit 1: Families in Different Societies

    Unit Summary and Guiding Questions:

    In Unit 1, you show what you know about the concept of family in different societies of the French-speaking world (la famille à travers le monde francophone). You'll need to interpret texts, charts, interviews, and presentations that address a wide range of topics relating to family: values, traditions, changing roles, and challenges across the French-speaking world. The guiding questions for this unit are:
    • What constitutes a family in the French-speaking world? (Qu'est-ce qui constitue une famille dans le monde francophone?)
    • What are some of the important aspects of family values and family life in French-speaking societies? (Quels sont quelques aspects importants de la vie de famille et des valeurs familiales dans le monde francophone?)
    • What challenges do families face in today's world? (Quels sont les défis auxquels les familles font face dans le monde d'aujourd'hui?)

    Definitely do this:

    📚 Read this study guide:

    If you have more time or want to dig deeper:

    💻 Learn about the best prep books so you can start studying early:

    🗣 Unit 2: The Influence of Language and Culture on Identity

    Unit Summary and Guiding Questions:

    Qui suis-je? Who am I? 🤔 Unit 2 takes a deep dive into aspects of personal and public identity by analyzing the influences that language and culture have on forming one's identity. The guiding questions for this unit are:
    • 2.1. How does one’s identity evolve over time? / En quoi l’identité évolue-telle au fil du temps?
    • 2.2 How does language shape our cultural identity? / En quoi la langue forme-t-elle notre identité culturelle?
    • 2.3 How does technology influence the development of personal and public identity? / En quoi la technologie influence-t-elle le développement de l’identité personnelle et publique?
    • 2.4 How does the art of a community reflect its public identity? / En quoi l’art d’une communauté reflète-t-il son identité publique?

    Definitely do this:

    📚 Read these study guides:

    If you have more time or want to dig deeper:

    💻 It is never too early to want to prepare for the exam:

    🎨 Unit 3: Influences of Beauty and Art

    Unit Summary and Guiding Questions:

    In this unit, we explore the significance of beauty and art in francophone countries in daily life, as well as throughout history. The beauty-happiness connection helps us understand why we stop to appreciate a landscape, splurge on a new outfit, or spend hours wandering through museums. The guiding questions for this unit are:
    • 3.1: How do ideals of beauty and aesthetics influence daily life? / En quoi les idéaux de beauté et d’esthétique influencent-ils la vie quotidienne?
    • 3.2 :How does art both challenge and reflect cultural perspectives? / En quoi les arts à la fois défient-ils et reflètent-ils les perspectives culturelles?
    • 3.3: Why do communities value beauty and art? / Pourquoi les communautés accordent-elles de l’importance à la beauté et aux arts?
    • 3.4: How is art used to record history? / En quoi les arts sont-ils utilisés pour témoigner de l’histoire?

    Definitely do this:

    📚 Read these study guides:

    If you have more time or want to dig deeper:

    💻 Check out these AP French memes for a good laugh:

    🔬 Unit 4: How Science and Technology Affect Our Lives

    Unit Summary and Guiding Questions:

    Unit 4 explores the effects of science and technology on people’s lives in French-speaking communities. While Science and Technology is the primary thematic focus of the unit, it is possible to integrate the additional themes of Global Challenges, Contemporary Life, and Personal and Public Identities. The guiding questions for this unit are:
    • What factors drive innovation and discovery in the fields of science and technology?  Quels facteurs favorisent l'innovation et la découverte dans les sciences et la technologie?
    • What role do ethics play in scientific advancement?  Quel rôle l'éthique joue-t-elle dans l'avancement scientifique?
    • What are the social consequences of scientific or technological advancements?  Quelles sont les conséquences des avancements scientifique ou technologiques?

    Definitely do this:

    📚 Read these study guides:

    🏠 Unit 5: Factors That Impact the Quality of Life

    Unit Summary and Guiding Questions:

    Unit 5 explores themes related to the quality of life in French-speaking communities. In this unit, the primary thematic focus is Contemporary Life, however, ties can be made to other themes, such as Global Challenges, Science and Technology, and Beauty and Aesthetics. The guiding questions for this unit are:
    • How do aspects of everyday life influence and relate to the quality of life?  En quoi les aspects de la vie quotidienne affectent-ils et se rapportent-ils à la qualité de vie?
    • How does where one lives impact the quality of life?  En quoi le lieu où l'on vit influence-t-il la qualité de vie?
    • What influences one's interpretation and perceptions of the quality of life?  Qu'est-ce qui influence l'interprétation et les perceptions de la qualité de vie?

    Definitely do this:

    📚 Read these study guides:

    🇫🇷 Unit 6: Environmental, Political, and Societal Challenges

    Unit Summary and Guiding Questions:

    Unit 6 explores how complex issues and phenomena affect those living in Francophone communities around the world. The unit connects to the themes of Contemporary Life, Science and Technology, and Families and Communities. The guiding questions for this unit are:
    • How do environmental, political, and societal challenges positively and negatively impact communities?  En quoi les défis environnementaux, politiques et sociaux ont-ils un impact positif et négatif sur les communautés?
    •  What role do individuals play in identifying and potentially solving complex societal issues?  Quel rôle l'individu joue-t-il en identifiant et éventuellement en résolvant des problèmes complexes de société?
    •  How do challenging issues affect a society's culture?  En quoi les enjeux difficiles affectent-ils la culture d'une société?

    Definitely do this:

    📚 Read these study guides:

    If you have more time or want to dig deeper:

    💻 Use these resources to help you prepare for the exam:

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