Reminders from AP Readers

Below are short videos for Questions 1, 2, and 3 with some general reminders for writing. These observations are not an exhaustive list by any means but can be used for a quick review or a to start a conversation about AP Lit essays. (I apologize for the quality of the first video. I didn’t realize how poor the quality is, but the audio is good).

The comments from last night’s Twitter chat can be found below the videos. 

The following comments are from the AP Lit Twitter chat on April 23rd. These are exam tips from teachers across the nation. In the interest of getting these out in a timely manner, I did not put names with tips. These are copied and pasted from Twitter so go easy on grammar errors.

Multiple Choice

Fill in multiple choice bubbles after you are done w/ each page not each Q.  Saves time

Don’t get rattled when you don’t know an answer in MC. It’s not a 100% kind of test.

Circle the verbs in a passage… know the action that transpires

If you finish MC with extra time, go back to make sure you’ve answered every question.

Each question is weighted the same so don’t freak out if you can’t answer a question; it’s only one. Narrow, guess, and move on

Skim through the MC questions before you read the passages. Know what you are reading for, helps figure out the passage

Skip MC questions you are unsure about.  Return to them after you have answered the ones you do know first


While there are thesis formulas, here’s the only one you need — answer the prompt with insight and originality.

Perhaps the most important essay tip– the prompt will likely mention complexity. Show that things aren’t so simple.

Identify several lit devices but discuss the literary techniques that most affect the meaning in the text.

Write more.

Do NOT use the phrase “the author uses imagery to create a picture in the reader’s mind.” Please.

When embedding quotes, keep them short & integrated smoothly. Should read like a normal sent, quote or not

More isn’t better. Less isn’t better.. Just make it insightful from start to finish… Insightful is best.

Instead of hand turkeys use the time to proofread or add another paragraph to an earlier essay.

Avoid words such as “very,” “good,” “nice,” and “bad.” Write with purpose… PROMPT purpose!

Starting the majority of your sentences with “This” &/or “The” makes for sophomoric writing

If you don’t understand the piece, choose 1 or 2 aspects that you “get” write about what you know. Don’t try to fake it

I know you’re turbo busy writing that essay, but pay attention to your syntax. Vary sent lengths & beginnings

Use the correct name for the author, lots of Q2s last year with Wilbur instead of Hardy or they called him Tom :/

Spend five minutes planning with P.O.E.T. will save you 15 minutes while writing.
POET writing

Try to use sophisticated diction without sounding forced. And make sure you actually know what that big word means

A 6 on all three essays is 55 points, a 9 on one essay is 27. Don’t run out of time!

If you don’t “see” Q1 or Q2 passage/poem, remember that you can ALWAYS write about tone, diction, and theme

Don’t let a confusing line prevent you from finding an entry point into a poem. Explode what you do know.

AP= Answer the Prompt!

On your Q3, be sure to have a Universal Theme (or Meaning of the Work as a Whole) in your thesis statement

Huge believer in @Perapiteticus advice – PEE – Point, Evidence, Explain

Insight should come in the intro. Hit me with it! Show me what you know

Whenever you provide evidence, connect it to an immediate insight (character, conflict, etc) and a larger one (theme)

If the Q1 poem is daunting, take a breath and look for a way into the poem. What human emotion/reaction appears in the poem?

Content & analysis is most important, but maybe, just maybe, attempt some style moves yourself?

The list on Q3 is suggestions. Write about a book you know well. If you haven’t read it don’t write an essay on it.

Write with confidence as if  you are proving your point beyond doubt to someone who may not agree with you

Understand the rules of the game. Manage the clock. As Coach Wooden said: “Be quick, but don’t hurry.

Take 5-7 minutes to sketch out a plan for each of your essays. It will save you time later

Read the prompt 2/3 times at different points in the planning/writing process to make sure that they understand what the ? is

Read a poem sentence-by-sentence, not line-by-line. The line breaks confuse many students, sentences don’t.

Organize essays by insights – don’t save the insight for a big ta-dah moment at the end

especially for Poetry Essay- if you are clueless to meaning of poem, don’t stress. Analyze techniques u do recognize

Answer the open response questions in the order you are most comfortable with. (Rack up easy points first)


Sleep well the night before. Don’t try to cram anything.

Disconnect from the digital world the night before. Don’t let technology keep you up late. A good night’s sleep is imperative.

I usually bring breakfast for my Ss on exam morning