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AP LANG & COMP

Strategies for Multiple


Choice

Collected from multiple sources including, Olson


and Bailey, Gunnar, Princeton Review, 5 Steps,
College Board, and former AP Lang students
extraordinaire

TYPES OF PASSAGES
2-3 written before 1900
2-3 written after 1900
Remember that words change meaning over
time. Be aware of the context in which the
passage was written.
Ex. On the Want of Money

BEFORE YOU READ


Read the stems only of the questions.
Take note of questions that refer to specific
line numbers. Underline those in the
passage.
Do not look at questions.
Instead, focus on reading closely without
distraction.
There is no magic bullet to multiple choice test
taking; there are only strategies and you. Choose

AS YOU READ
Clear statement of Argument or Thesis
Identify the kind of argument being made
Vivid Language or vivid Metaphors
Shifts in point of view or tone
Parallel syntax
Underline unknown words with context
clues
Bold claims or false arguments
You have been annotating all year you got
this!

A QUICK NOTE ON TIME


Do take a look at how many questions
correspond to the passage.
Spend about as much time on the
passages as there are questions.
Ex. 9 questions = 10, 11 minutes

TYPES OF QUESTIONS
Questions about Rhetoric
syntax, diction, P.O.V., figurative language & its
effect

Questions about the Authors Meaning &


Purpose
get inside the authors head

Questions about the Main Idea


The Big Picture, tone, theme, etc.

Questions about Organization & Structure


Questions about Rhetorical Modes
know the difference between: Narration,
Description, Argumentation, & Exposition

ANSWERING QUESTIONS
Answer every question. You are not
penalized for wrong answers.
Questions are sequential from the
beginning of the passage to the end, not
from easiest to hardest.
Dont get bogged down by one question.
Some easier questions are at the end.
Use context clues (pre/post 1900)

Reasons Answers Could Be


Wrong
Contradictory to the passage
Irrelevant or Not Addressed in Passage
Unreasonable
can usually be spotted quickly

Too Vague/General or Too Specific


compare them to the question stem to see
which answer they are asking for

Incomplete
only part of the answer is true

GOLDEN RULE
When deciding between two answers,
the correct answer is usually the one
that has textual support.
In other words, always go back to the
passage.
Look at the information surrounding the text
in question.
Be careful to distinguish between what the
passage actually says and what you think it
says.

ATTITUDE & APPROACH


"Real world" and academic texts
Excerpts from published books,
contemporary and classic,
newspapers, magazines, journals,
etc.
Put yourself in the intended
audience's shoes.
"Something to teach you." Read with
interest.

STRATEGIES FOR
SPECIFIC QUESTIONS
Separate handout

Advice for Certain Questions


Pronoun Antecedents
It refers to which of the following nouns?
To answer this question, substitute each word in its
place

Familiar but unfamiliar vocabulary


In colonial times, it was important to husband the
food supply during the winter.
Our future would be better insured if we carefully
husband our natural resources.
Best Answer:
To use, to marry, to conserve, to waste, to join

Advice for Certain Questions


Roman Numeral Questions
Look at the Roman Numerals first, decide which of these are
correct then move to the A, B, C choices OR Find the Roman
numeral you know is wrong then eliminate those answers.

Figures of Speech
Questions clarify an unknown with something that is known and
add a layer of meaning
The new CEO entered the boardroom with the flair of a
matador.
This analogy makes all the following inferences EXCEPT:

The new CEO is the center of attention


The new CEO is in high risk profession
The new CEO faces substantial opposition from others
The new CEO exudes power and strategy
The new CEO is and effective delegator of responsibility

Advice for Certain Questions


Main Idea Stem Questions
the authors primary focus
the intent of the passage
the anticipated outcome of the argument
Dont be fooled by the partial idea distractor

Tone or Mood Questions


Defined by the connotation or imagery
Know your tone words

Footnote Questions
Footnotes can
Identify sources
Define Terms
Add facts or details
Clarify confusion
Set the Record Straight
READ FOOTNOTES!

Syntax Questions
Parallel Syntax
Provides good momentum, gives drive and
energy

Rhetorical Question
The reader is being manipulated into giving
the answer the writer wants
Function as transitions
Organizational techniques from discussion to
solution

Syntax Questions
Clauses and Phrases
Clauses are either Independent or Dependent
Phrases do not have verbs
Think about what the clause and phrase is
doing for the writer to the reader

Loose Sentence
Ind. Clause followed by Dependent Clauses

Periodic
Dependent clause followed by the Ind. Clause

Attacking the Questions


Read and annotate the question stem
Underline words like except, best, primarily
Make sure you know what each question is asking

Your Answer
Think of the answer before looking at the distractors

POE: Rule out certain answers


x words/phrases/clauses that make answers wrong
Possible answers