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For more information, please see full course syllabus of AP English Literature & Composition
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Prose Passages

  • Prose Passage Sources
    • Authors you’ve read in class, but works you haven’t read.
    • Pre-twentieth century
    • Twentieth century and later
    • Adapted passages
    • Fiction and nonfiction
  • How to Read Prose Passages
    • Questions first?
    • Don’t skip the italicized text.
    • Skim, then read.
    • When reading, read first for the main idea.
    • Then watch for details. Watch for playful language. Watch for flourishes the author didn’t have to include.
    • If you hit a part you don’t understand, keep going.
  • The Topic Sentence Is Not There
    • ETS thinks you’re too old for easy topic sentences.
    • Great writers seldom use topic sentences in great writing.
    • Instead, look at tone and flow.
  • The Great Detective Takes the AP Exam
    • Read for details. Especially read for details that seem out of place or unnecessary.
    • Let the details build up a general picture in your mind (“What do you mean, how did I know you were in Afghanistan?”)
    • Infer, but don’t assume.
    • Data, data, data.
    • Eliminate the impossible.
  • How to Know Words You Don’t Actually Know
    • Context, context, context!
    • Look for familiar parts and roots.
    • Use other languages.
    • Replace the word with a blank.
    • Use the opposite of the wrong word.
  • What to Do If You’re Out of Time
    • Skip the passage and go straight to the questions.
    • Focus on literary terms and grammar first.
    • Then answer questions with line references. Read around the line reference.
    • Then answer tone questions.
    • Then do the rest. Read if you can; guess if you can’t.

Prose Passages

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 0:10
  • Prose Passage Sources 0:38
    • Authors you've had in class but works you haven't read
    • Pre-twentieth century
    • 20th century and later
    • Adapted passages
    • Fiction and nonfiction
  • How To Read Prose Passages 1:34
    • Questions first?
    • Don’t skip italicized text
    • Skim then read
    • Read for main idea
    • Watch for details
    • Keep going
  • The Topic Sentence is Not There 3:28
    • Look for tone and flow
  • The Great Detective Takes the AP Exam 4:42
    • Read for details
    • Let the details build
    • Infer, don’t assume
    • Data, data, data
    • Eliminate
  • How to Know Words You Don't Actually Know 7:50
    • Context
    • Look for familiar parts and roots
    • Use other languages
    • Replace word with a black
    • Use opposite of the wrong word
  • What to Do if You're Out of Time 9:54
    • Go to the questions
    • Focus on literary terms and grammar
    • Answer questions with line references
    • Answer tone questions
    • Read if you can, guess if you can't