That time of year has finally come: the season of AP exams. If you decided to take a foreign language this year, chances are you’re hoping to gain college credit. Time to make that effort spent participating in your Spanish class worth it! Before you begin to study, you may be looking for some guidance on how to prepare for this particular exam. Luckily, my own experience in taking two foreign languages can help you. To help you lessen the stress, here are a few ways to prepare for the AP Language & Culture Exam.
1) Use Your Index Cards
Believe or not, this is actually a game changer. It could seem like an outdated concept, but a few tips can aid in your study prep more than you think. Index cards can help organize your vocabulary while simultaneously help with memorization. The act of handwriting notes and other class related material improves your memory. According to the Journal of Educational Study, those who took handwritten notes scored significantly
better on tests than those who took notes on their laptop. Incorporate your index cards to include key grammar rules, verb conjugations, and/or commonly used vocabulary.
2) Schedule A Reasonable Time To Study
Organization is an important factor when it comes to high test scores. Besides keeping your notes and study material in order, managing your time is crucial. As someone who was taking multiple exams, I always made sure to dedicate specific time frames for my subjects. This means, when I wanted to study for AP Italian, I designated an hour each day leading to the exam. No more, no less, but kept it consistent. Set a time that you feel suites your needs. Assign more time if you need it, and less if you don’t.
3) Brush Up On Cultural References
Remember; this is called the AP Language and Culture Exam. During class, you learned cultural components such as food, lifestyle, music, art, etc. The exam will test you on these topics in a multiple choice section, auditory exercise, or through essay format. You can easily brush up on cultural references through watching videos in said language, listen to music, etc. Review your notes that also indicate historical figures; the exam loves to reference famous musicians and artists!
4) Use Netflix To Practice Auditory Comprehension
Need a break from writing and referencing your study guide? Watching Netflix can be a form of studying (in moderation). There are tons of shows and movies that are spoken entirely in Spanish, French, Mandarin, and other languages you are currently studying. As you are watching Netflix, the act of listening to the language and reading English subtitles is a form of studying! You are practicing auditory comprehension. If you wanted to watch your favorite American tv series, you can set the subtitles in another language to aid in reading comprehension. Other mediums such as music or tuning into foreign radio stations, can also assist in your studying too.
5) Familiarize Yourself More With Grammar
When you take the test, expect to see many questions related to grammar. Whether that is in the form of multiple choice or applying it in essay form. Your test prep should include the following key categories of grammar ; memorizing the gender of nouns, verb tenses (present, past, and future), pluralization, verb conjugation, contractions, and questions. If you master all of these concepts, you will be answer to almost every question correctly. You don’t have to be an expert; but be familiar with these significant grammar points.
6) Memorize Categories of Vocabulary
You probably studied vocabulary in sections or been tested by categories. The AP exam will pick vocabulary in any topic range. This could be food, family, education, politics, and other areas you have covered. However, do not stress over memorizing every single word. Do your best in acquiring a healthy amount of words in each topic. Utilize those flashcards and split them into categories you learned in school. Or look at images that have the word included; this will help you associate the two together.
7) Take Advantage of Online Tools
Apps that promote language learning are your best friends. The most popular that will ring a bell to you is Duolingo. This can be a fun studying aid, and can provide a more fun relief to your usual routine. The app has exercises that include listening, speaking, and reading comprehension. Quizlet, is another app that acts, in the best way I can describe, virtual “index cards.” It features hundreds of vocabulary terms, also split into specific categories commonly taught in your language curriculum. Pretty neat!
8) Review Your Past Exams
Put those tests you took during the year into use. Your teacher most definitely included questions and exercises that will be in your exam. He/she might have even took a few questions from past AP tests… and I am speaking from personal experience. This will also be a good way to see where you tested well and poorly in. Perhaps there was a section in grammar you need to go over more. It is a good assessment to see how well you did in various topics throughout the year.
9) Make A List of Your Strengths & Weaknesses
The upside to all of your college test prep is figuring our where your strengths and weaknesses lye. Especially in language, there are areas where we feel more comfortable than the other. Create a list or schedule that caters to what you should focus on. If you need help with vocabulary, set aside time to make index cards and review your reading comprehension. If it’s grammar, review exercises you have done in class or find worksheets online. Still not sure how to go about it? Tribeca Language offers both class and private lessons that will help aide in your study process!
The preparation for the AP Language & Culture Exam can seem overwhelming. Nevertheless, there are always tips and tricks to make the process a lot easier. We hope that this advice can help you navigate in your study prep journey. Although, if you seek additional guidance, we offer both private lessons and class instruction in 14 different languages! Best of luck!
Alessandra Lanno considers herself both an avid reader and writer. Born and raised in