Language & Composition

Mr. Eure | Brewster High School

Tag Archives: into the abyss

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.