AP German: Exam Guide

5 min readseptember 17, 2020

Nathan Wichert

Nathan Wichert

AP German  🇩🇪

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Exam Guide

The AP® German Language and Culture Exam 📘 assesses student understanding of the skills and learning objectives outlined in the course framework. The exam is just over three (3) hours long and includes multiple choice questions (MCQs) and 4 free response questions (FRQs) 💯
AP tests are stressful, but doing well on AP tests means you might finish college early or avoid lower-level college classes!
AP exams are scored on a scale from 1 to 5—5 is the highest possible score and 1 is the lowest. The College Board defines each score as follows:
  • 5 = extremely well qualified
  • 4 = well qualified
  • 3 = qualified
  • 2 = possibly qualified
  • 1 = no recommendation


"Qualified" means that you are ready for college-level introductory courses, but that doesn’t mean you’ll get college credit for a score of a 3. Most colleges give credits to students who score 4s or 5s on AP tests 🙌 This varies from test-to-test and from college-to-college. There are some colleges that give students credit for a 3! Make sure you check with the college of your choice to see how they give credit for scores 🎓

What's on the Test?

The exam assesses themes and skills developed in each of the six (6) units:
  1. Familien in verschiedenen Gesellschaften 👨🏽‍👩🏽‍👧🏽
  2. Der Einfluss von Sprache 🗣️ und Kultur auf die Identität
  3. Einflüsse von Schönheit und Kunst 🎨🎭
  4. Wie beeinflussen Wissenschaft 🔬und Technologie 🖥️ unser Leben 📡?
  5. Faktoren, die die Lebensqualität beeinflussen 📈 📉
  6. Umwelt-🌲, politische 🗳️ und gesellschaftliche 🏛️ Herausforderungen


2A: Free written response (1h10 = 25% of score)
Four tasks comprise the Free Response section :
1.) Email reply 📧 (Interpersonal writing)—Read and reply to an email.
  • Total of 15 minutes to complete task
    • TIP 🛎️: It is imperative to answer EVERY question that is contained in the email PLUS an additional follow-up question or provide an additional response
      • For the audio texts, you will always hear clips twice (2x)
        • In general there are two outlier responses (two that make you think “no way” 🙅‍♀️ and two that are plausible 🤔).
      • A lot of questions relate to induced meaning: what do you think the author is trying to say OR what does this word mean in context?
      • MC is 50% of your grade! The multiple choice sections are scored by a computer. There are no point deductions for incorrect answers on the multiple choice sections. Do not leave anything blank 💯 You won’t lose points for wrong answers.
2.) Argumentative Essay (Presentational writing)—Write ✍🏻 an argumentative essay based on 3️⃣ sources.
  • Three sources include an article, a graph/chart/infographic, related audio source (played twice). Source presents different viewpoints.
    • Total of 55 minutes (roughly 15 minutes to listen and read and 40 minutes to write)
      • TIP 🛎️: Develop a 5 paragraph essay with an introduction, 3 paragraphs (one per source) and a conclusion. At the same time, students must argue their own point of view while citing the sources in their defense. Students MUST develop a thesis statement and wrap it up in their conclusion 🎁 Doing this helps you maintain focus 🔍 and helps your writing be explicit and targeted to the task.
    • Transition words are important for a good score!
      • weilbecause (weil kicks conjugated verb to end of sentence)
        • Timo muss lernen, weil er morgen ein Quiz hat.
      • damitin order to, so that
        • Lisa lernt viel, damit sie den Test besteht.
      • Eigentlichactually
        • Eigentlich ist Deutsch nicht so schwierig, wie es scheint.
      • Ein Beispiel anführento give an example
        • Ich möchte ein Beispiel anführen.
      • Das Wichtigste ist…—The most important thing is…
        • Das Wichtigste ist die Angst vor der Sprache zu verlieren.
      • Im Vergleich zuIn comparison to
        • Im Vergleich zu Russisch Deutsch ist eine einfache Sprache.
      • Meiner Meinung nachIn my opinion
        • Meiner Meinung nach sollte jeder eine Fremdsprache lernen.
      • Im Großen und GanzenOverall
        • Im Großen und Ganzen ist Deutsch keine schwierige Sprache.
      • Zusammenfassend kann man sagen, dass…In summary, it can be said that…
        • Zusammenfassend kann man sagen, dass Sprachen beim Reisen sehr hilfreich sein können.
    • IMPORTANT‼️: students will have access to written materials, however, audio files are not available for students during writing time (take detailed notes when listening 🔊).
3.) Free response spoken (Interpersonal speaking)—Participate in a simulated conversation where you must complete 5 exchanges that are 20 seconds in length each.
  • TIP 🛎️: The simulated conversation is usually informal (think du not Sie) but be sure to listen to the prompt to find out who you're talking to.
  • Answer the question for all free response tasks. It seems easy, but a lot of students lose points for veering too far off course ↗️ If you deliver the most elegant German response but it does not fulfill every single requirement of the task, you will not score well 😢
4.) Cultural comparison (Presentational speaking)—Deliver a 2-minute presentation about a cultural comparison between a German-speaking community and their own.
  • TIP 🛎️: You have three minutes to prepare! Generate a brief outline with KEY VOCAB 🔑🔑 you are going to use during your cultural comparison. Start with the German speaking community 🇩🇪 so you finish with your own community. You probably know more about your own community, so if you need to fill time at the end, you will always be able to talk about other relevant ideas and themes while still responding directly to the prompt.
Email responses 📧 are formal (use the formal (Sie) form)
  • Use formal greeting at beginning and end of email:
    • Sehr geehrter Herr/Frau Mustermann,
      • This is a formal opening if you are writing to a man or woman whose name you know. Mustermann is the German equivalent to “Doe” in English.
    • Sehr geehrte Damen und Herren,
      • This is a formal opening if you are writing to someone whose name you do not know. It serves the same purpose of “Dear Sir or Madam” or “To whom it may concern” in English.
    • Ich bedanke mich bei Ihnen im Voraus
      • I thank you in advance.
    • Ich würde mich freuen, bald von Ihnen zu hören
      • I look forward to hearing from you soon.
    • Für weitere Auskünfte stehe ich Ihnen gerne zur Verfügung
      • I am readily available should you require additional information.
    • Mit freundlichen Grüßen
      • One of the most popular and widely used closing for formal occasions literally translates to “with friendly greetings.” You might also see it as “mfg” as a form of email lingo which is used in more casual situations.
    • Mit herzlichen Grüßen
      • This common formal term means “with best wishes.”
    • Mit besten Grüßen
      • This one translates to “best regards” or “with kind regards” in English.
    • Ihr(e)
      • Meaning “yours” in English, Ihre is used if you are female and Ihr if you are a male.
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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