The AP Lang exam's free-response section is a writing section comprised of three essays within 2 hours and 15 minutes. The second essay is on Rhetorical Analysis, in which you look at a variety of nonfiction sources - newspaper articles, essays, letters, et cetera - and make connections between the author's rhetorical strategies and techniques, their central arguments, and their overall purpose.
Here's an overview on what you should expect and do in preparation for the AP exam!
Since the essays are 55% of your total score, it is helpful to have a plan before game day. Aim for around 40 minutes on reading this nonfiction text, creating a quick outline, and writing an essay that analyzes the author’s choices and their impact on meaning and purpose. While the exact prompt will vary, all prompt will follow this general description.
For more information on the variety of FRQ 2 prompts, check out this list of past AP Lang free response questions.
Here at Fiveable, we recognize the essays can be tricky. For that reason, we suggest the following process to help you earn the FIVE you want on the AP Exam.
BAT the prompt to create your writing plan. When writing the prompt, the College Board will give you plenty of information to jumpstart your analysis of the rhetorical situation. Look for any background you are given to help set the stage for the text, purpose, audience, or anything else. Next, pay attention to the advice you are given about what to do and how to do it. Finally, process the task at hand. Make sure you understand the question, including any implied sections you will need to answer to completely and correctly respond.
- Read and annotate the text.
- Clear flow with headings and subheadings.
FRQ #2 on Rhetorical Analysis might seem intimidating at first, but once you know your rhetorical devices, do some practice essays, and sleep tight the night before test day, you are going to be more than ready to take on the writing section of the AP Lang exam!