AP English Literature Essay: Effective Writing Tips from Experts

If you are a student who needs to pass the AP Lit exam, you will have to prepare for it. Then, you will be ready to face any challenge and cope with it decently. Despite the spreading pandemic, students go on studying. Various online platforms have developed the required conditions for that purpose. Today, students might write exams using papers and pencils or online writing tools. A team of academic experts from an essay writing service are going to provide you with useful tips to get the desired grade without extra worries.

What Structure Does AP English Literature Essay Have? 

First off, a person should know what to expect to prevent stress. Besides, a student will manage time properly to devote enough minutes to the writing section. In total, the exam takes 180 minutes. 60 minutes go to fifty-five questions, where a student ticks the right answer or answers among the offered. 120 minutes are devoted to the essay writing section. A student gets three questions of an open type that concern literary analysis. 

All questions are related to a student’s ability to analyze poetry and prose. 

Section I

Section I includes 55 questions and makes forty-five percent of the final grade. They are a multiple-choice type and deal with the following tasks. 

  1. Basic understanding of the provided extract,
  2. Indication of the message that the introduced poetry or prose has,
  3. Interpretation of the underlined literary devices,
  4. The explanation for the reason of the author’s literary technique,
  5. Analysis of a character,
  6. Definition of a tone, message, genre, and other specific characteristics of a passage,
  7. Questions about structuring,
  8. Grammar and lexis-specific features.

Section II

Section II involves open-ended questions that require full answers in the form of essays. There will be three essays, so a student has only forty minutes to accomplish each of them. This section gets 55% of the total grade. 

The first and the second essays deal with the analysis of a poem, novel, drama, etc. Both poetry and prose analyses are to be expected in the second section. First, a student reads the task and then the excerpt. A learner is usually asked to analyze a character and compare him/her with others, to identify the message of the text, etc. Besides, a person needs to mention literary devices, the tone, imagery, and details that help to create some impression or deliver a message. 

The third essay is about the theme. There will be no concrete literary work. Instead, a student receives a list of outstanding writings that relate to the mentioned theme. A student is free to choose one of them or introduce another recognized poetry or prose with a similar message. Nevertheless, a student must keep in mind that it has to be “works of literary merit”. As a rule, a person selects among works that relate to the 16-21 centuries. 

How to Get Ready for AP English Literary Essay?

When a person gets ready for tests, it will be necessary to review theory and refresh knowledge about the studied literature. When we speak about essays, the preparation will become a bit more complicated. The first and the second essays are easier because they concern a specific play, novel, or poem. A student does not waste time on selection. The third essay might be a bit distracting if students are not aware of such a requirement. How not to lose precious minutes?

  • Review Works Daily

A student should look through the list of all learned masterpieces in advance. One should try to answer these questions.

  • What do I know about this work?
  • What do I know about the writing environment of the author? (epoch, financial and family background, political and economic situation, etc.)
  • Is there anything that distinguishes this work from a thousand others? (use of devices, literary technique, etc.)
  • What are the content, core, and supporting ideas?
  • Can I provide characteristics to its characters?

On the exam day, one will not be afraid of the list but will search for the most favorite masterpiece and discuss it in the essay quickly and accurately.

  • Practice No Matter What

Nobody is aware of exam questions in advance, though the Internet is full of questions used in the previous exams. One should sit and try to write three essays per two hours. Besides, it is a good idea to investigate various literary websites to get questions about classics and turn them into possible AP exam essay topics. Practicing sharpens writing skills and promises automatic analysis at exams. 

  • Outlining Matters

When a person is pressed for time, the best option will be to plan writing. Outlines serve this purpose best of all. A student should read all three questions and create plans for each of them. In the process of writing, a student will not be distracted by planning anymore. A learner will just follow the created scheme. Experts also recommend timing each section. It is necessary to preserve the required structure that contains an introduction, a body, and a conclusion. 

  • Stay Creative

The academic structure is a must, but a student should not forget about creativity and tools that help to attract a reader’s attention. One can use citations, quotes, facts, rhetorical questions, exclamations, samples, etc. The third essay is the best way to show a student’s creativity and ability to innovate personal writing style. One should not also forget about logic and lexical variety. It is important to use synonyms, parallel constructions, and various literary devices to create a stellar paper.

  • Double-check Before Hand It in

Students often turn to editors or use apps like Grammarly to proofread the text. It is impossible to do it on the exam. So, a student must have a sharp eye to notice typos, missed commas, incorrect word order, etc. Experience comes with practicing. That is why CustomWriting.com recommends practicing not only in the paper creation but in proofreading and editing as well. Students can find partners for practicing. For example, they can write essays and exchange papers to check and edit the writing.

One should remember that essays are not just to be a reflection of personal viewpoint. It must be a deep analysis supported by arguments and evidence. Academic reading is not for the learning of content. It demands interpretation and understanding of the content and the ability to read between lines. So, one should be ready to do that on the AP English Literature exam

by Abdullah Sam
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