Sunday, March 26, 2023

Are your students ready for the AP exams? It's just a few weeks until they begin in May. Click here for the complete schedule of exams.

The English Literature and Composition Exam is May 3rd, 
The English Language and Composition Exam is May 9th.

To help prepare my students for the AP exams, I began reviewing weeks before the tests to help them learn more efficient ways to:
  • analyze poetry,
  • write critical essays to be sure they understood the archetypes in literature,
  • keep a reading reaction journal as they read the suggested literature, 
  • practice writing timed essays in 40 minutes,
  • and practice advanced grammar and sentence analysis.

I'm sure you have many helpful lessons designed to prepare your students for the exams, but I would like to share some of the ones I used with my advanced English classes. 

I have a few resources that you might use to prepare your students for the English exams. Take a look at the products below and see if any of them would save you time. I have included a FREE resource that will serve as a great warm-up writing activity.

1) Poetry Analysis

When students have a limited amount of time to analyze poetry on the English Literature and Composition exam, they need a mnemonic device to help them with memory and retention. You might have created one of your own. I devised this method to help students who have trouble remembering all the elements of poetry. My students loved it and used it on the test. I hope it helps your students as much as it helped mine. 

A unique way to analyze poetry and prepare for the AP Literature Exam of use in advanced English courses both in high school and college.

2) Writing Critical Essays

Archetypes in Literature Critical Essay

This is the critical essay on literary archetypes that I assigned as a final exam for students in my Advanced Placement classes. It can be used in any literature class as a review of archetypes in literature. It includes a prewriting assignment and the rubric I used to grade the papers.

3) Literary Analysis

If students keep a reading reaction journal, it will help them retain and analyze what they have read. Teachers can use the journal to evaluate whether or not students are doing a close reading of assigned literary works.

You probably already have a system in place, but if you need another tool, here's the one I used with my students. It is especially useful as a study device for AP students to use while reading advanced literary selections.

Keeping a Reading Reaction Journal

4) Writing Timed Critical Essays

Help your students prepare for the critical essays they will write on the English Language and Composition exam. Let them practice writing at least one timed essay each week as they prepare for the exams. If your students need more instruction, I have a helpful tip sheet in my store.

A Tip Sheet to Practice Writing a Timed Essay in 4o Minutes.

5) Advanced Sentence Analysis

Let students practice analyzing long and difficult sentences similar to those they may find on the English Language and Composition Exam.

In my book, Simple Steps to Sentence Sense, I present eight simple steps. If students follow them in order, it is easy to analyze an English sentence. 

The Advanced Sentence Analysis Step in the Simple Steps to Sentence Sense series assumes that students understand Steps 1-8 and then condenses the eight steps into four. This method of sentence analysis is quicker and is especially helpful for college-bound students and students in Advanced Placement classes.

The four steps are:

Advanced Step 1 - Scan the entire sentence first to find all phrases. (Prepositional, Participial, Gerund, Infinitive, and Appositive)

Advanced Step 2 - Scan the entire sentence to identify the core of all clauses. The easiest way to do this is to find all the verbs first and then identify the subjects and complements that go with them. Determine if the clauses are independent or dependent. 

Advanced Step 3 - Find all the modifiers. (Adjectives and Adverbs)

Advanced Step 4 - Classify the sentence. (Simple, Compound, Complex, or Compound/Complex)

If your students need more help with this, you will find the Advanced Step Unit here. It has notes, practice exercises, and answers.

The best of luck to everyone who is taking the exams. 

This is a great time to stock up on any resources you may need. TPT is having a sale May 28th and 29th. Most teacher/authors will have their resources on sale. 

Everything in my store including all money-saving bundles will be 25% off if you enter the code FORYOU23 at checkout.

As promised, here's a free activity my students enjoyed.

Thanks for reading,


Here are some interesting blog posts from my teacher friends at The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marking Cooperative. I think you will find them helpful.

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