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Must-Have Analytical Skills for the AP English Language Exam

It seems like most people categorize their intelligence in one of two ways - either they're math people or word people. As students begin to prepare for their AP exams, one of these tests tends to frighten them. If you aren't feeling too confident (or even if you are) about the AP English Language and Composition exam, fear not! Hone these analytical skills to prepare for a more successful test taking experience.

Learn to read closely

A large part of being successful on any exam is knowing how to interpret the things you are reading. Of course, this is no different on the AP English Language and Composition exam. If you are not a good close reader, try to get in as much practice as you can. This means reading books or articles and asking a family member or friend to quiz you. It may also mean taking a variety of practice exams, quizzing yourself, and leaving plenty of time to study. To further increase your ability to close read, you may practice reading aloud.

Read, reread, and read again. Quiz yourself the next day. Focus on small words, big words, and the way that each of those words go together.

Focus on comprehension

It isn't enough to simply understand each individual word that you read when you're taking the AP English Language and Composition exam - you have to be able to read a group of words and make my essay out of them. You need the ability to read a sentence or paragraph and make connections, find meaning, and answer corresponding questions.

Solely reading does not necessarily mean you are effectively comprehending the content. Like close reading, comprehension can be increased by reading aloud, rereading to increase fluency, and reading additional items that build upon existing knowledge or something recently read. You should also discuss or summarize what you've just read.

Think about your process

A big part of standardized test taking is getting your process down. If you approach a test without a plan, you may flounder. Instead, think about how you are going to approach the exam. What will you do if you encounter a difficult question? Will you skip? Guess? Mark and return to the question?

Part of the process is time. It can be difficult to fit a large number of questions into a small amount of time, so think about your approach. To get better at completing things under a time constraint, practice the exam under the exact parameters you will be operating under come test day.