Language & Composition

Mr. Eure | Brewster High School

Category Archives: High Stakes

Final Salvo, Part 2

This post covers your final exam, which is in some ways a direct extension of your autodidactic unit. Here is a copy of the overview, including the rubric for Part II:

This information (except for the rubric, which cannot survive the translation to WordPress) is reprinted in full after the jump.

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The Exam, or Avoiding Hadal Implosion

One week from now, your exam in AP English Language and Composition will be a memory. There should be some comfort in that realization; nothing can stop the crawl of time, so you are almost through the gauntlet.

The best way to spend a few of the hours between now and 8AM on Friday is to revisit the folder of practice material we’ve covered over the last two weeks. As you read your essays and study your multiple-choice answers, you are priming your understanding and skills—but you are just priming them, because you can’t easily cram for this exam. You can study rhetorical terms and organizational tools, and it might help to quiz yourself on that; for the most part, however, there just isn’t that much to cram with.

I know that those of you with multiple AP exams and the SAT will spend the next two weeks cramming information into your short-term memory. You’re up against the sort of ineluctable stress of high-stakes testing. Just know that regurgitation like that will not help you very much on the English Language exam you take on Friday. You must instead demonstrate the skills and strengths and knowledge developed over an entire year.

That gives us another possible comfort: At this point, you are who you are as a writer, reader, and thinker. For better or worse, you’re pretty much as prepared right now as you will be when the gun goes off. So you should not stress or panic. You should review the exam format, remind yourself of what you’ve learned, and find your way into the right mindset.

Of course, a few of you will benefit from practice and last-minute strengthening. Part of our student-centric focus in here means that you call the shot at a moment like this. Just don’t overthink or outthink yourself. If you need it, here is a copy of our free-response overview, which contains an overview of the entire exam, plus a score calculator (thank Olivia H. in Period 6 for the tip):

Use that to help focus you, and plan to spend class time conferencing with me or your peers. Meanwhile, get some rest, relax as much as you can, and keep talking this out. We’ll get back into real learning once you’re through the woods. Good luck.

Midterm Preparations

The exam is at 8AM on Tuesday, January 22. Your locations will be posted around the building. For reference:

  • Period 4 is in Room 214
  • Period 6 is in Room 215
  • Period 9 is in Room 216

And a quick checklist to use on Monday:

  1. Read this post again. It says everything I’m about to say, and it should be your primary resource. (On the eve of the exam, of course, that post should be as a sort of final check, not a last stand. You’ve been at this for two weeks.)
  2. Bring your synthesis prompt to the exam. Print it before Monday morning if that is at all possible. Otherwise, plan to get into the library or Room 214, where I will be waiting, as early as possible.
  3. Use the templates and notes you have to insure that your prompt looks like it should. Think about what you will write, including which sources you will use.
  4. Mark up the prompt and sources ahead of time, if you like. You can use any annotations you bring with you. You will be handing in your prompt with the response.
  5. You may bring this guide to synthesis writing, which was also included in the previous post (and distributed in class a few times this year). Use it to help you plan and edit during the actual writing.
  6. Bring the Sam Anderson article with you. You may use any annotations you have to help you answer the questions on rhetoric and style.

Note that this exam is as much about resource management (including time management) as it is about rhetoric, close reading, and argumentative writing. Keep this in mind as Tuesday rattles toward you: If you’ve been hard at work, you’ll do well; more importantly, no last-minute cramming will really help you.

Finally, you should look at the following document:

That is exactly what you will see on Tuesday, only the questions on rhetoric and style have obviously been removed. Check over those directions ahead of time.

Good luck, Kinder.