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For more information, please see full course syllabus of AP English Literature & Composition
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Multiple-Choice Question Types

  • General Comprehension Questions
    • These questions ask about the passage as a whole. They may focus on style, structure, tone, or main idea.
    • Answer them based on the entire passage.
    • Examples:
      • The passage is primarily concerned with …
      • Which one of the following best describes the tone of the passage?
      • Which choice best describes X’s character/relationship/situation?
      • It is evident from the passage that the author feels …
      • To whom is this poem addressed?
      • Which of the following best describes the speaker’s changing attitude?
  • Detail Questions
    • These questions ask about specific parts of the passage—a line, a sentence, a phrase, a word, and so on.
    • Always go back and look at the part in question before answering.
    • Examples:
      • What change occurs in lines 6-8?
      • How does the final sentence in paragraph 2 alter the tone of the passage?
      • What does the author mean by “ironic” (line 27)?
      • Which of the following is the best way to paraphrase line 42?
  • Factual Knowledge Questions
    • These questions ask about the English language, basic grammar, and the basic terminology of criticism and literature studies.
    • Answer them using what you’ve learned in English and in history class. You can’t really study for these.
    • Examples:
      • How does the author’s use of analogy contribute to the effect of the poem?
      • What repetition emphasizes the author’s point?
      • The appearance of the cat symbolizes …
      • When Character X calls the resolution a “deus ex machina”, he is referring to …
  • Grammar Questions
    • These questions are a subset of factual knowledge questions. They are more likely to appear with poetry passages than prose.
    • You don’t need much more than basic grammar to answer these questions … butthat’s because they’re actually reading comprehension questions in disguise.
    • Examples:
      • The phrase “if I were your mother” establishes the …
      • The word “unremarkable” modifies which of the following words?
      • In line 12, “he” refers to …
  • How to Order Your Questions
    • Answer questions in the best order for you.
    • If you feel confident that you understand the passage, answer the questions in the order they’re given. Don’t worry about reordering them.
    • If you’re not confident of the main idea, do the detail questions first. Rereading may help you find the main idea at last.
  • Making Friends with the Hobgoblin
    • “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson
    • Ignore him. Choose answers that are consistent with the main idea of the passage.
    • Choose answers that are consistent with one another.
    • Random-bubble consistently, too.

Multiple-Choice Question Types

Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:12
  • General Comprehension Questions 0:42
    • Ask about passage as a whole
    • Answer them based on entire passage
    • Examples
  • Detail Questions 2:20
    • Ask about specific parts of a passage
    • Always go back and look at the part in question
    • Examples
  • Factual Knowledge Questions 3:30
    • Ask about English language, grammar, terminology
    • Can't really study for these
    • Examples
  • Grammar Questions 5:08
    • Ask about subsets of factual knowledge
    • Reading comprehension questions in disguise
    • Examples
  • How to Order Your Questions 6:58
    • Answer in the best order for you
    • If you feel confident…
    • If you're not confident…
  • Making Friends with the Hobgoblin 7:58