I need help-AP English Language essay

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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: April 2004 Archive: I need help-AP English Language essay
By Johnmayerfan (Johnmayerfan) on Saturday, March 27, 2004 - 03:51 pm: Edit

yeah, i've been reading my peterson's book (any thoughts? is peterson's a good brand?) and my cliffnotes brand ap english lang prep books and they say contrasting stuff on the essay. ONe of them says not to write about your opinions and conclusions, etc. while the other says to do it. THe peterson's book doesn't have an example of essays for you to compare/grade your essay by. It has a rubric and some general pointers on stuff you should've included in your essay. Cliffs has actual essays and their ratings. Although, the perfect essays in CLiffs seem almost impossible to write. I also have an ARCO book, but I'm not sure how great that brand is either......

Also, I seem to be having a problem with my whole interpretation of what the essay is saying. I'll write my essay about the author's point of view, etc. and my essay will only be reasonably close to what the cliffs' book's perfect essay is saying or sometimes I"ll miss a point completely (is this the part where you're supposed to draw insights?) How are you supposed to draw insights?(oftentimes, I don't even see where they could've gotten THAT out of the passage) and if you are allowed to put your insights/conclusions/opinions, should you use "I think"? My teacher always says never to refer to yourself in an essay.

ALso, having trouble with the conclusion. Petersons says to restate the thesis/summarize your main points. but the collegeboard says that they're looking for a thesis that doesn't just repeat or summarize. Somehow, once again, you're supposed to draw something meaningful out of your a** just in time for the conclusion to end meaningully?

ugh, there's just so much contradiction and it's confusing.

By Ubercollegeman (Ubercollegeman) on Saturday, March 27, 2004 - 06:20 pm: Edit

First off, I'd like to say that I hate Peterson's. Their prep books frequently have blatantly incorrect or inconsistent answers, and it is very annoying.

There are three AP Language essays. Two will ask you to analyze rhetorical devices and author purpose, and the other will be a DCQ: Defend, Challenge, Qualify. These two essays are VERY different in strategy. I could write on and on about strategies and stuff, but here's the gist:

If it's analysis, first identify the PURPOSE of writing it. Then analyze HOW the author achieves the purpose, always linking to RHETORICAL DEVICES, VIEWPOINT, OR ORGANIZATION. Never, ever, ever, ever, give your personal opinion in these essays. Ever.

In the DCQ, you've got the opposite. Always, always, always include your own opinion in these. Choose a clear side--almost never qualify. If you're defending the author's viewpoint, pull examples from history, current events, and personal opinion/experience to back you up. If you're out of ideas, you can elaborate on the author's own evidence. If you're challenging, you can combine two strategies. One is to give your own examples from history, current events, and personal experience that counter the author's points. The other is to analyze the author's own flaws in logic (fallacies). A good combination of these two will earn you high scores.

Your conclusion must leave the reader with a good feeling of your essay. You can briefly summarize if you really want, but if you do, you'd better be good. The safer method is to have a call to action or final reflection in which you comment about everything you've said and apply it to society. It shouldn't have any new points whatsoever.

By Johnmayerfan (Johnmayerfan) on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 04:00 pm: Edit

hmm, ok, I THINK i get what you're saying. Prob is that for the analysis essays (say, of author's purpose) I often get differences/inconsistencies than the book when i talk about the author's viewpoint. I think i'm pretty consistent on how the author gets there and gets the message across, just having trouble with getting into the author's brain. Like most of the time, I'll say the author is one-sided, either is on this side or that. and the book will be like, "and although the author seems --- about the subject, he/she is really ---- " and they'll be like complete opposites. Sometimes, I see that the author concedes a bit and goes on the other side, but I still feel like the author is more on one side than riding the fence.

By Johnmayerfan (Johnmayerfan) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 05:09 pm: Edit

STop talking about the SAT and please help me!

I have to pay the $ this wk. and I need to know if I should take this (replies to my q's would help me determine this!)

By Philntex (Philntex) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 05:56 pm: Edit

According to my teacher, keep all personal opinions out of your paper unless it's the OPE (open-ended question). Don't freak out or anything, it'll be okay, hehe.

"I think" is not necessary. They know that everything you put down is how YOU interpret the passage. Be more confident with your writing by simply putting it down as fact.

The style analysis and rhetorical analysis essays should just be lifting evidence from the passages to support what in essence is your thesis (i.e. "The author uses such-and-such to do such-and-such in his essay" not that simple, but you get the idea). The open-ended question is where you can bring in other evidence like your own personal experiences and what not, but still don't use "I think." Do you follow where I'm going with this?

I have no clue about which brand to use. I simply go off my teacher who's been an AP grader and has been instructed on how to grade AP essays. Hope this helps :-)

Oh, and dude, go for it. Sure, it costs mucha moolah (at least at my school), but if you study hard, it could be worth it. Just do your best, and hopefully it'll all turn out okay.

By Flameball63 (Flameball63) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 05:57 pm: Edit

Okay, I am going to take it the same as you, but, I have a great english teacher, and here's my two cents, hope it helps.

The most important thing is thesis: simple sentence+verb- must have connotation but not opinion.
NEVER EVER give personal opinion--that would force you on the brink of using "I, me..." blah blah blah...don't do that...
Structure: Have u ever heard of the dumb CD, CM, CM format? Follow that, but longer.
Commentary is a must, but not opinion.

Last thing: DON'T USE PETERSONS...I have heard bad things about it. I personally thought it was great only for History and Government. My rec is to use the same book my teacher uses: Barrons or "McGall Hill-Five steps to a 5"-it has two books for AP English, one for Essay and one for Multiple choice.

Hope this helps.

By Johnmayerfan (Johnmayerfan) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 07:18 pm: Edit

To Philntex (who speaks so many languages-awesome!)- I think I get what you're saying.

To Flameball63-I have not heard of the dumb CD, CM, CM format (what does that stand for?) is that just the intro. body, body, body, conclusion?

I thought Barron's was only good for sciences and math. Think Kaplan or Princeton review would be good too? I have ordered a McGraw Hill book, but I'm not sure which one it is (I think it was both mc and essay together, but I'm not sure).

To the three people who responded-I thank you so much!

I have to shell out about 2/3 of the reg. price, so I'm ok. Now I just have to decide if I should concentrate all my energy into the english exam (and maybe get a 5) or split the time I have left (1 month and some days) between engl. and calc ab or bc. Prob is that a. i have not prepped hardly at all for either of these tests. Although, I've memorized terms for the eng.. I'm not quite sure how well my classes are preparing me b/c there's only been 1 person to get a 5 on the engl. in the history of my school and a graduate of my school told me that our calc. class at best prepares you for a 3 (we only go through half a book each year). I've done well on my sat's and sat ii's mainly b/c I've given myself lotsa prep time (think at least 4 months, and now, I only have 1 and a few days!))

So, in conclusion, I'm not sure I wanna split my energies too much and get 4's on both tests, b/c then my money would be wasted (the schools i'm applying to take only 5's). The alternative would be to just take the eng. but I'll never know if i could've gotten more $ and I'll never know if I could've done well on the calc. test.

By Johnmayerfan (Johnmayerfan) on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 04:18 pm: Edit

and once again, no replies (sigh)

By Flameball63 (Flameball63) on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 05:54 pm: Edit

Alright, haha, I'll reply!!
CD:Concrete details.
HOw this works is, u have to quote a passage example to support your thesis. It is to be a simple sentence, with the quote perfectly planted and connotative words used.
CM: Right after the CD, this is where the analysis take place. CM is where you support what u stated in CD. Typically, in freashman or sophomore year, it is one CD with two CMs. But my english teacher says that, this is Junior year, and we are suppose to have more.The sentences must be more complexed.

And, Calc...really? My school average for the test is like a four...lol. I dunno, I am pretty sure that if you are good at math, then, it should be no sweat. Again, I am taking it also. So good luck to the both of us!!

By Johnmayerfan (Johnmayerfan) on Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - 05:02 pm: Edit

hey flameball63 - yeah, I think I get the gist of what you're saying. TO clarify though, when you say we should have one CD with several (i'm guessing 3-4?) CM's, you mean you should have 3-4 sentences commenting on the quote that you took from the passage? SO in general, I should quote DIRECTLY from the passage, but not so much that I don't put my own commentary or explain what the quote is about or why I chose it-correct?

Yea, good luck to you too! Actually, the majority of kids at my school don't even take the CALC test. WE have like 30 kids taking the class, but we generally have like 0-2 people actually take the test or something like that. In the past 4 yrs, I only know of 1 person who took it (and got a 3, and he's smart too-1500+ SAT and applied to Ivies and everything. He studied for it too, which is unheard of in my school sometimes). I think our school parties too much....

By Johnmayerfan (Johnmayerfan) on Thursday, April 01, 2004 - 10:40 am: Edit

bump (today is april 1st - so I suspect flameball is busy)

By Flameball63 (Flameball63) on Thursday, April 01, 2004 - 09:29 pm: Edit

Okay. Let's clarify somemore, hehe. The CD is the quote, this is the format for any body paragraph(you have to adapt on the AP English Test, because of time, so, you have to practice and find your own "groove".)according to my whole academic career...(I know that alot of people have different approaches, just find the one right for you)

TS(Thesis-Simple sentence, don't use "and"...complicates stuff too much, you can only prove so much in that paragraph. For example, "In order to liberate themselves from the society that binds them, the two protagonists must confront a mind that radically alters all perceptions of the world." That's one of my written thesis. But, that's a comparison contrast paper, so I imagine the actual AP essay to be different, but that's just a thesis(notice my word choice, I used connotative words to add to the otherwise stale sentence).

CD: (Concrete Detail)This is where you affirm what you stated in your thesis.
Example from my writing: Siddhartha¡¯s distortions originate from his own arrogance, for he is so ascertain of his superiority that he challenges the Buddha, a man who he describes as ¡°A man only looks and walks like that when he has conquered his self¡± (Hesse 35).
Keep in mind that I am using one of my comparison contrast AP essays, that's why it seems kinda weird, but, that's how a concrete detail should be. Although it is not a complex sentence, it connotes what the writer, you, want to say in the CM, which leads right to the CMs.

CM: (Commentary)This is where the analysis is offically made. Remember to try your best to use complex sentences.
Example: Although Siddhartha recognizes Buddha¡¯s greatness, he never fails to canonize himself on the same level as the Buddha, for Siddhartha¡¯s mind has distorted the situation so much, that the young Siddhartha, who bathed in the adulation of Govinda, feels that he can challenge anyone. As a result, only when Siddhartha has reached the pinnacle of corruption does he come to terms with his own disillusionments of the world, and eventually gathers enough courage to confront his own hubris and mentality.
Those above are two CMs...not all, but two of the CMs that goes along with the TS and CD. I hope you can see that I explained myself, but I did not dictate plot.

Don't ever "explain" why you chose the quote. Use an affirmative voice. You chose it because IT SUPPORTS your analysis, done and done. The person would know that, so, there's no need to state it on paper.
My writing is not that great, but, it's acceptable, haha. But, my suggestion is to practice essays using stylistic approach. That's what I am doing nowadays. Get yourself familiar with rhetorical devices(I hate those with a passion) such as tropes and schemes...

Yeah, Calc...my school has like 20 kids signed up this year, not a lot, but majority do pretty good. I want a 5...hopefully I'll get that. I also have this stupid IB Math test to take, and blah blah blah...haha. I am not sure my advice is the right advice, but, hopefully, I was of some help. I expect to get a 4 on the English test, so, I am basically praying and practicing alot. In case you are wondering, the book that I wrote about in the examples is "Siddhartha"...

Good Luck.

By Philntex (Philntex) on Thursday, April 01, 2004 - 11:51 pm: Edit

Now the trick to all of this is making it flow, because we've been taught basically the CD/CM/CM format as well (in AP USH as well)--although we don't call it that--and many try to use it and end up sounding very awkward. Just make sure what you're saying makes sense and that your ideas are connected. One of the worse things that could happen is:

Author Smith uses the image of a tin man to represent heartlessness. This adds to the story by creating satire. The satire is that all rich people are heartless.

Bad example, I know, but you can tell how stilted it sounds when you settle a little TOO much into the formula. However, if you can make it flow, it works like clockwork (wow, haven't said that in a while).

I think you've got it now, though, so I'll mosey on off now. Again, best of luck! We'll all be pulling our hair out at about the same time anyways, hehe :-)

By Flameball63 (Flameball63) on Friday, April 02, 2004 - 01:38 am: Edit

Exactly what Philntex said. Don't force the method upon yourself. You gotta know that my school literally pushed the CD/CM/CM method on the advanced kids since freshman year--so, I am pretty good at it now, but, heck, it took me that long to be good at it. Basically, just don't force yourself to use the method, it took a hell of a lot of work for me to "make it flow".

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