Tackling the AP English Language and Composition Essays: Part 2

Posted by Tess M. on 4/9/21 12:00 PM

Welcome back! In Part 1 of this series, we covered some basic information about the AP Lang essays, as well as the first two major components of the process, “Organizing Your Time” and “Reading and Annotating.” In Part 2, we’ll look at the final four components.

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Tags: English, AP exams

Tackling the AP English Language and Composition Essays: Part 1

Posted by Tess M. on 4/7/21 12:30 PM

More than any other test, the AP English Language and Composition Exam is dominated by essays. Three timed essays—the Synthesis Essay, Rhetoric Essay, and Argument Essay—will take up most of your time on the exam, and count for more than fifty percent of your score. In this three-part guide, I’ll walk you through the process of writing timed essays in the style of the AP Lang Exam. In Parts One and Two, I’ll give you some general tips on writing these essays, focusing primarily on the Rhetoric Essay (which is the most unique). In Part Three, I’ll apply what I’ve said to the other two essays, the Synthesis and Argument Essay (which are more similar to one another). These tips should also help you with timed writing exams in general. 

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Tags: English, AP exams

Top grammar errors to avoid

Posted by Tess M. on 3/10/21 12:00 PM

Throughout the years I’ve spent reading and writing, I’ve seen my fair share of grammar errors. But few are peskier, or more pervasive, than the two I’ll discuss in this post. So common are these two grammar errors that I regularly encounter them in professional writing—sometimes even in articles by full blown professors! These two errors often mark a crucial difference: between merely intelligible and actually correct English prose. Eliminate them from your writing, and you’ll improve it by more than you realize. 

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Tags: English, expository writing

Four tricks to becoming a better academic reader

Posted by Joseph F. on 3/3/21 12:15 PM

College professors often assign their students hundreds of pages of difficult academic reading per week. These reading-intensive assignments reflect a faulty assumption on the part of those professors: that college students arrive on campus already knowing how to make sense of dense texts and process information in huge quantities. Freshman writing classes at universities across the US demonstrate a tacit acknowledgement that when students first come to college they still need to meaningfully develop advanced writing skills. Why is this not also the case for reading? Why are “critical” or “analytical” reading practices so rarely taught in college classrooms? Given this glaring absence, here are four tricks that can help students tackle high-level reading assignments. 

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Tags: study skills, homework help, English

Sentence structure tips from William Shakespeare

Posted by Musa on 2/1/21 12:00 PM

Good writers always plant important words in strong positions. 

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Tags: creative writing, English, expository writing

Middle School Writers’ Workshop: Understanding Characterization

Posted by Tess H. on 1/25/21 12:00 PM

Have you ever read a book where you feel like you really know the characters? You understand their dreams and relate to their failures, you can see yourself making similar decisions, and maybe they even remind you of someone you know. Rich, fully-developed characters are what separate good books from great books. It is the characters who feel like they could walk right off the page that stay with us long after we put a novel down.

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Tags: creative writing, English, middle school

How to revise your work

Posted by Shara F on 12/18/20 12:00 PM

Before anything else, congratulate yourself. You wrote something! That’s huge! Writing is hard. Having something is so much better than having nothing. Something can be revised. And revising can be a lot of fun, as long as you have the right support. Here are some tools to help you navigate the revision process:

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Tags: creative writing, English, expository writing, high school

Up close and personal: how to prepare for a close reading paper

Posted by Sylvie T. on 12/16/20 12:00 PM

Close reading? Shouldn’t we already be reading “closely” for class? Correct! But the term “close reading” also describes a very specific type of literary inquiry in which one pays careful, prolonged attention to a small chunk of text (or art object) in order to produce an argument about that text and how it works. Close reading is the bread-and-butter of many fields in the humanities and beyond. English majors close read poems and novels, art history majors close “read” paintings and sculptures, law majors close read legal documents, history majors close read primary sources, politics majors close read policy briefs—the list goes on!

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Tags: academic tutor, English, college, high school, graduate school

How to “find your voice”

Posted by Alix on 12/9/20 12:00 PM

You will often hear writers talk about “finding their voice.” It sounds like a simple task, but honing one’s voice can take years of practice, study, and trial and error. When you are putting together your applications for college or graduate school, you are likely facing a fast-approaching deadline—so time is a luxury you don’t have.

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Tags: graduate admissions, English, expository writing, college admssions

How to tackle a writing prompt

Posted by Emily K. on 10/21/20 8:50 AM

Students are accustomed to learning and analyzing a variety of written genres—plays, poetry, novels—yet one extremely common genre is usually left for students to analyze blind. This genre is the writing prompt.

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Tags: English, expository writing, college, high school, college admssions