It is a short week but it will be a rather intense one in AP Lang. Students will write their three midterm essays on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Wednesday, we’ll take a little break (since it’s a shortened class due to AA) and finish up independent reading projects.
I thought it might be helpful for parents to have a better idea of what the AP test actually is and how it is scored. I never want our class to feel like simply a test prep class; we do test prep, but I’m much more concerned with their growth as readers and writers than I am about a test. Luckily, I think it’s a really good test, so I don’t mind doing some prep work for it specifically.
The test has three essays:
The essays are an excellent representation of the type of writing they’ll do beyond high school. Perhaps they won’t write them in 40 minutes, but practicing this style of writing will be very beneficial to them. We’ve worked extensively on these three types of writing all fall, and they are ready to demonstrate their skills on the midterm!
In May, they’ll write all three essays in a two hour block. They can divide that time however they choose. For this midterm, they’ll have an entire class period (60 min) for each essay.
The other hour of the test in May is dedicated to critical reading. Students will read 4-5 passages and answer 55 multiple choice questions about them. For the midterm, they’ll have 90 minutes for this portion as we will complete this part on the actual exam day.
For their grade for the midterm, I will use the same formula AP uses to determine grades. The combined essays are worth 55% of the total and the multiple choice is worth 45%. Students who are interested in playing around with the numbers (what do I need to score on the essays to get X score?) might like this calculator. It’s not 100% accurate, but it’s very, very close. This calculator will give them a score on the 5 point AP scale. For our midterms, the scale will convert as follows:
4s and 5s both earn an A because those are the scores students need to earn college credit for most colleges. A 3 is a B because it is considered proficient, but only some colleges will award credit for a 3. Usually, however, they will let students choose an English elective in place of their freshman writing course.
I hope this helps you better understand the AP test and the scoring. I’m happy to answer more questions if you have them! There are practice writing prompts on Google Classroom for students who would like to do some extra work to prepare this weekend. Please encourage students to take a look at those and email me if they have questions about them.
Have a great weekend. Encourage your students to step away from their studies for a little while on Monday to reflect on the reason we have Martin Luther King Jr. Day off. A day of service and reflection could be nicely capped by attending the Unity in the Community celebration at the high school at 7pm. This year’s theme is “Light the candle, Pass the flame” and organizers hope to inspire the community to a year of service. I’d love to see you there!
Mrs. Hattie Maguire