How Can I Get a 5 in AP German?

4 min readseptember 29, 2021

Samantha Himegarner

Samantha Himegarner

AP German  🇩🇪

29 resources
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So you have decided to prepare for the AP German Language and Culture exam, that’s great! This exam may seem overwhelming, and maybe even impossible at first, but our team is here to help you make it Fiveable! So let’s get into our 5 top tips to earning a 5!

1. Understand the Layout of the Exam and the Content That Will Be Covered!

The goals of the course and subsequent exam, according to the CollegeBoard, is to learn about Germany’s culture and develop German language skills simultaneously. The targeted skills are as follows:
  • comprehend text
  • make connections
  • interpret text
  • make meanings (from words and expressions)
  • speak and write to others interpersonally
  • present orally (through a spoken presentation)
  • present in writing (through a written presentation, such as an essay)
Furthermore, the cultural content is organized in the following units:
  1. Unit 1: Families in Different Societies
  2. Unit 2: The Influence of Language and Culture on Identity
  3. Unit 3: Influences of Beauty and Art
  4. Unit 4: How Science and Technology Affect Our Lives
  5. Unit 5: Factors That Impact the Quality of Life
  6. Unit 6: Environmental, Political, and Societal Challenges
Because of the magnitude of skills and content tested, the exam has quite a few different parts.
The exam will test you through both multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and free-response questions (FRQs), with each section worth 50% of the overall score. Both sections will utilize audio files and written texts in order to test different levels of comprehension (in this case, both reading and listening).
The FRQ will require you to respond to a written passage (such as a sample letter or email) with a response of your own (therefore testing both comprehension and communication skills). There will also be an essay section in which you will be asked to complete a rough draft of an essay regarding a cultural component of Germany in order to evaluate knowledge of content and written presentational skills.
There is a section within the FRQs that will ask you to give an oral presentation about some aspect of German culture as well. Again, this is a good way for you to demonstrate mastery of content as well as proficiency within the language.
Lastly, there is a short portion that requires you to engage in a short, spoken conversation in order to assess listening comprehension and your ability to respond appropriately.

2. Immersion is Key!

The best way to learn a language and to further proficiency is to simply surround yourself with it. This is how babies learn to speak; they hear spoken language enough that their brains just start to pick up on it. This has been proven to be the best way to learn a second language as well.
There are multiple ways you can immerse yourself. For example, watch movies and/or TV shows with German dubs and/or subtitles. Even better, watch German television! Doing so will not only accustom your brain to listening and processing (authentic) spoken German, but it can also be a good way to pick up on some idiomatic expressions and slang, which is a great step towards fluency!
Another good method is to listen to German music! Singing along is a proven way to improve pronunciation, too! Look up German music playlists on Spotify or Youtube, and follow along with the lyrics!

3. Practice a Little Bit Every Day!

In order for effective immersion, it is best to practice a little bit each day. This does not necessarily mean you have to spend a whole hour every day just studying German. That is not fun or effective, and it may even lead to burnout, which is never ideal.
Instead, just try to incorporate some sort of German language into your everyday life. It is not a bad idea to change your phone’s language settings to German, so that you are forced to interact with the language every time you look at your phone. You could also try to journal a little bit in German each day, read some German news every day, etc.
It does not matter how much time you spend or whether German is being used actively or passively, as long as there is interaction with the language in some capacity every day. It may seem daunting, but you will feel the benefits!
Soon, you'll be able to answer "ja"

Image courtesy of nationaltoday

4. Use a Variety of Resources to Study!

Ok, so now that we've covered the fun ways to practice German on a daily basis, we now have to discuss the hard stuff—grammar drills and improving vocabulary. Actively studying language can be tedious, but it is very important for acquisition.
Each person learns and thrives a bit different. Some people enjoy conjugation practice. Others would rather practice grammar by writing an essay and editing it for mistakes. Whichever method you prefer is totally fine, but it would not be a bad idea to try to mix up these methods and incorporate a variety.
This “variety” can include prep books, grammar drills, interactive lessons (such as, Fiveable study guides and videos, and more! For more ideas on resources for active acquisition, check out “Best Textbooks/Prep Books for AP German”!

5. Do Not Stress!

Communicating in a second language can be very daunting, especially within a “high-stakes” environment, such as an exam! Accessing the “German” part of your brain will be a lot more effective if you are relaxed. It is ok to make some mistakes along the way; for example, if you’re speaking and realize you misconjugated a verb or used the wrong word, don’t get flustered! Odds are your message will still be understandable, and it will be much better to continue on instead of fumbling to correct your mistake.

You really think I can get a 5?

Any student with enough hard work and dedication can get a 5! Just remember to practice a bit each day and that confidence is key to acing any exam!
Browse Study Guides By Unit
👨‍👩‍👧Unit 1 – Families in Germany
🗣Unit 2 – Language & Culture in Germany
🎨Unit 3 – Beauty & Art in Germany
🔬Unit 4 – Science & Technology in Germany
🏠Unit 5 – Quality of Life in Germany
🌪Unit 6 – Challenges in Germany
✍️Exam Skills- FRQ/MCQ

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