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Exam Skills - FRQ/MCQ

2021 AP Japanese Exam Guide

7 min readβ€’march 13, 2021


Your guide to the 2021 AP Japanese 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 Japanese 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 Japanese exam

This year, all AP exams will cover all units and essay types. The 2021 Japanese exam format will be:
  • A 2 hour long exam
  • Section 1A: Multiple Choice Listening
    • 30-35 questions in 20 mins and accounts for 25% of your score
    • Contains a variety of audio materials where you will demonstrate your ability to identify main ideas, determine the meaning of vocab, decide the meaning of the recording, and make inferences
  • Section 1B: Multiple Choice Reading
    • 35-40 questions in 1 hour and accounts for 25% of your score
    • Contains a variety of written materials where you will demonstrate your ability to identify main ideas, determine the meaning of vocab, decide the meaning of the recording, and make inferences
  • Section 2A: Free Response Written
    • 2 writing tasks (with 7 total questions) in 30 minutes and accounts for 25% of your score
    • Includes interpersonal writing where you will answer text-chat messages for 10 minutes and accounts for 12.5% of your score
    • Also includes presentational writing where you will write an article that compares and contrasts 2 given topics/perspectives in 20 minutes and accounts for 12.5% of your score
  • Section 2B: Free Response Spoken
    • 2 tasks (with 5 total questions) in 11 minutes and accounts for 25% of your score
    • The interpersonal speaking section is a simulated conversation and contains 4 prompts with a response time of 3 minutes and accounts for 12.5% of your score
    • The presentational speaking section directs you to deliver a presentation on a part of Japanese culture and you will be given 7 minutes and it accounts for 12.5% of your exam score

Scoring Rubric for the 2021 AP Japanese exam

Below are the scoring guidelines for AP Japanese from 2019 courtesy of The College Board.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-hFIIaVJd0RwP.jpg?alt=media&token=77abbfba-d07a-4b39-80f8-52d3263c4195

Courtesy of College Board

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-6hXhpwueGpjM.jpg?alt=media&token=6dc40df0-3239-4f46-9deb-effc9fcbd20a

Courtesy of College Board

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-wUrQDUzXKquD.jpg?alt=media&token=df9b4373-188b-4484-8fd1-c785c8038df7

Courtesy of College Board

https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-eOgcFmToXJ6Z.jpg?alt=media&token=b24ad727-4fb6-4f51-bf7d-5f2a6ca4cbce

Courtesy of College Board

Check out our study plan below to find resources and tools to prepare for your AP Japanese exam.

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

This year the AP Japanese exam will be administered over 3 testing sessions this year and you will have 2 hours to take the exam. Unlike some of the other AP exams, there is no digital version of the AP Japanese exam. Students must take the exam in person on pencil and paper. To get real-time updates about 2021 exam news, create a Fiveable account.
  • Administration 1 will take place on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, at 12 PM (your local time)
  • Administration 2 will take place on Friday, May 21, 2021, at 12 PM (your local time)
  • Administration 3 will take place on Friday, June 4, 2021, at 12 PM (your local time)

How should I prepare for the exam?

  • First, download the AP Japanese Cram Chart PDF - a single sheet that covers everything you need to know at a high level. Take note of your strengths and weaknesses!Β 
  • Review every unit and question type, and focus on the areas that need the most improvement and practice. 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
  • Join our Discord channel to talk to real students just like you studying for this exam! We have TAs in each subject channel to support you this Spring.Β 

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.Β 
πŸ–₯ 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.Β 
πŸ“š 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!
πŸ“… 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.
πŸ† 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!Β 

AP Japanese 2021 Study Plan

πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘¦ Unit 1: Families in different societies

Big takeaways:

Unit 1 teaches Japanese skills in the context of family life for societies that speak Japanese and also discusses modern-day beliefs and familial challenges. Some of the things used to practice these skills include understanding audio recordings, reading letters, spoken and written exchanges of information, writing short messages, giving opinions and suggestions, and explaining perspectives.

Definitely do this:Β 

πŸ“° Check out these articles:

πŸ—£ Unit 2: The Influence of Language and Culture on Identity

Big takeaways:

Unit 2 focuses on building vocabulary while learning about the evolving culture and identity of Japanese-speaking societies. Tasks in this section may include understanding audio recordings, reading travel brochures, participating in conversations, utilizing the skills of clarification and paraphrasing, identifying cultural differences between Japanese-speaking communities and your own, and writing articles that examine both sides of a topic.

Definitely do this:Β 

πŸ“° Check out these Fiveable study guides:

🎨 Unit 3: The Influences of Beauty and Art

Big takeaways:

Unit 3 explores how beauty and art influence and reflect the culture in Japanese-speaking communities. This may include understanding audio recordings, reading short texts, using a wide variety of vocabulary and syntax when writing, writing with appropriate formality, creating oral and written presentations.

Definitely do this:Β 

πŸ“° Check out these Fiveable study guides:

πŸ”¬ Unit 4: How Science and Technology Affect our Lives

Big takeaways:

Unit 4 focuses on developments in science and tech in Japanese-speaking communities and growing your language skills to interpret new words in more complicated texts. Tools used to practice these skills may include, understanding audio recording, reading newspaper articles, giving short presentations, and researching information.

Definitely do this:Β 

πŸ“° Check out these Fiveable study guides:

🏠 Unit 5: Factors that Impact the Quality of Life

Big takeaways:

Unit 5 focuses on contemporary life in Japanese-speaking societies including discussions on social status, cultural perspectives, job, and resource access, and other factors that impact the quality of life. Tasks included in this section include understanding audio recordings, reading short works, using your past knowledge, correcting yourself when you make mistakes, and giving a cultural perspective presentation.

Definitely do this:Β 

πŸ“° Check out these Fiveable study guides:

β›… Unit 6: Environmental, Political, and Societal Challenges

Big takeaways:

Unit 6 focuses on how global issues impact people in Japanese-speaking communities. Skills practiced in this section may include understanding audio recordings, reading step-by-step instructions, giving a presentation, and comparing similarities and differences between 2 or more topics.

Definitely do this:Β 

πŸ“° Check out these Fiveable study guides:
πŸ“° Also check out these articles:

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Unit 1: Families in Different Societies
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Unit 3: Influences of Beauty and Art
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Unit 4: How Science and Technology Affect Our Lives
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Unit 6: Environmental, Political, and Societal Challenges
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