⏱️ 4 min read
November 8, 2020
Multiple-choice seems to be inescapable from any English-related test. Whether it's the ACT, SAT®, or AP® Lang, you'll have to take on the challenge of multiple reading passages 📖
Fortunately, Fiveable has your back with help on the AP Lang multiple-choice section. Let's take a look at what the multiple-choice section entails and then dive into the two types of questions.
Let's break down how the multiple choice section functions:
45 Multiple Choice Questions—45% of Your Score
23-25 reading questions
20-22 writing questions
Reading questions will cover rhetorical analysis, style, and the function of specific devices; on the other hand, writing questions make you "think like a writer" and revise sentences that could be improved.
While you likely won't be taking your Lang multiple choice tests in a park, you can try placing yourself there when taking on writing questions. Image Courtesy of Pixabay
For more information about the concepts covered in the multiple choice section in addition to the structure of questions, check out our Lang multiple choice study guide.
There are different strategies for reading and writing questions though—let's start with reading!
One of the best tools that you have at your disposal is your pencil. In fact, using your writing utensil effectively is the first tip for reading questions.
Many AP Lang teachers will agree that the best way to prepare yourself for any multiple choice question is by effectively annotating. It's likely that you'll have little time to re-read any passage with just 45 minutes; therefore, it's important your first read is your best read.
Note that whenever you annotate, it's crucial to make notes and identify some key things:
This is a great example of annotations; even though it's an essay passage, you can apply the same strategies to reading passes on multiple choice. Image Courtesy of Sincerely CWIK
The purpose of annotation is to foreshadow possible questions you may have to answer later on. By making notes early on, you are proactively helping yourself to score higher on reading questions!
You may be wondering: what are the different types of reading questions?
The reading section of multiple-choice breaks down into these categories of questions:
Comprehension of the passage
Inference [The author implies___/suggests___]
Relationship between content
Identification of rhetorical strategies
Analysis of rhetorical strategies
Function of lines/paragraphs
Effect of syntax
Moreover, the multiple choice section typically covers nonfiction content of different disciplines including science and history. Here's some advice from one AP Lang student:
"Do the passages that you’re more confident first. You can get those points guaranteed, and you’ll be left with the passage you’re not as confident with for the end." —Muni Bondu
A great way to ace the multiple-choice section is to practice efficiently. What that means is that you are not just taking practice tests, grading them, and throwing away your test.
My recommendation is that you make a journal, Google Doc, or even a sheet of notebook paper to track the types of questions you're getting wrong. Here's advice from another great AP Lang student:
"Try doing one section every week or so and mark the ones you got wrong. Then, make sure you practice those skills." —Diane Fakinlede
The most important part of multiple-choice practice is understanding what the questions are actually asking. Here's the advice from a high-scoring AP Lang student:
"For multiple-choice, make sure that you UNDERSTAND why you’re getting them right or wrong." —Avery Nelson
Ultimately, permanent practice makes perfect. By keeping track of what you're getting right or wrong and aligning your practice to skills that you're weaker in, your multiple-choice raw score will improve significantly in the long run 📈
AP Lang writing questions are brand new for the 2021 exam; however, the concept of revising writing shouldn't be new for you! As you may already remember from previous revising & editing tests, you shouldn't spend time reading through the entire passage 📖
Just like this person skipping in the woods, you can skip reading through the entire passage on AP Lang writing multiple-choice questions! Image Courtesy of Unsplash
Rather than trying to find the best answer, eliminate the wrong answers until you get to the best possible choice. Often times, you'll have two answer choices narrowed down. In that instance, directly compare them and pick the better choice!
This is the most important aspect of the AP Lang writing section! Many writing questions will likely ask which of the following four sentences would best serve a certain function.
In that case, make sure that you're always plugging in the answer choices in context to see which answer choice does the best job!
Here are some great resources if you need to practice multiple choice:
Unofficial AP Lang practice tests & MC passages.
Official SAT English resources that could serve helpful for AP Lang Writing MC practice.
AP Lang's multiple-choice section isn't too bad—you got this! Through effective practice, the process of elimination, and good test-taking practices, you will score high on the AP Lang MC section, helping you earn the coveted 5️⃣ on the AP Lang exam.
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