What's poppin! 🍿 I was honestly an avid self-studier when I took classes in high school. AP® English Language is another course you can self-study or take while homeschooled, and let's dive right into how you can succeed in AP Lang without a formal teacher!
Let's break down the advantages and disadvantages of self-studying AP Lang!
A simplified version of the decision if you choose to self-study without a teacher. Image from Pixabay.
Lack of peers in a traditional classroom
Lack of a teacher to advise you or give essay criticism
Lack of extrinsic motivation
Lack of a syllabus for reading
Ultimately, it's up to you as to whether the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa 🤔 Now that we've looked at the big picture for learning AP Lang without a teacher, let's dig further and look at the course and exam description.
The course & exam description is meant to serve like a foundational document for the course, as it outlines units that teachers can use in their classrooms to teach AP courses.
However, with AP Lang, there's a lot more flexibility compared to courses like Calculus or US History. In fact, units aren't labeled with names (so teachers can fill them in). Here's how I would label the units for AP Lang:
Foundations of Rhetoric: Analysis of the Rhetorical Situation and Claims
Foundations of Argument: Analysis of an Author’s Choices in Appeals and Evidence
Confluence: Synthesis of Multiple Sources in Argumentation
Reasoning: Analysis of Argument from Introduction to Conclusion
Commentary and Analysis: Analysis of Complex Argument and Intentional Rhetoric
Rhetorical Risks: Analysis of Multiple Perspectives, Bias, and Shifts with New Evidence
Many of the units overlap in content simply because the foundations of rhetoric often apply to argumentation. Moreover, you'll learn the fundamentals in the first few units, and by the last three units, you'll be developing how to perfect your writing ✍️
Speaking of perfection, if you're a perfectionist like many people (couldn't be me), staying organized will be your best friend while prepping for AP Lang. Let's talk about a study schedule.
The one word that will carry you through AP Lang is practice. Permanent practice makes perfect; you'll need to be scheduling out time to read and write to get a coveted 5️⃣ on the exam.
While many of you might not be using a bullet journal to organize, it's definitely a way to stay organized when taking Lang! Image from Pexels.
Whenever you're crafting a study schedule, there are some crucial things that you should include throughout the year:
Reading & analyzing nonfiction literature
Looking through previous graded essays
Practice multiple choice
Practice essays & comparing to scored essays
On top of these four crucial things, you should also try to find time to get your essays reviewed by peers based on the 6-point rubric. In terms of multiple choice, make sure that you're writing down what you're getting wrong and understanding why you make mistakes.
While you're grinding 💪, it can feel exhausting sometimes, and you might be on a path toward burnout. Let's get into how you can stay motivated!
AP Lang is often a course taken junior year, and second semester junior year can be a very rough semester for so many students. Self-care is incredibly important, as preserving your mental health should be prioritized over a score on an exam!
Here are some ways you can proactively prevent burnout and stay motivated:
Have plenty of break days and allocate time for non-schoolwork
Set up a strong support system where you can vent and let out your stress
Create a sleep schedule that helps you focus
The thing I always remember when I'm grinding is that every multiple-choice question and every essay I write contributes to my success at the end of the day. You are ALWAYS progressing, and you will succeed with all the hard work you're putting in 🎉
There are some great resources that you can use to self-study for AP Lang. To evaluate yourself at any point during the course, you can take a practice test and measure where you are at. Here are some great resources to use as you take AP Lang independently:
One of our new initiatives here at Fiveable for the 2020-2021 school year is Fiveable Courses! You can sign up for the AP Lang Fiveable course to get access to a bunch of assistance throughout either the fall or spring semester. This can be super helpful — whether you are self-studying or looking for extra support to supplement your in-class work.
If you're a student self-studying for AP Lang, contact your school's AP Coordinator about taking exams without a teacher's AP Classroom code. Many schools have different rules about self-studying, so your administration will have the best answers to your questions.
If you're homeschooled and interested in taking AP Lang, the College Board has a great explainer
for how to register for AP exams!
To break it down simply, it looks like this:
Use College Board's AP Course Ledger
to find schools that could administer the exam.
Contact nearby schools ASAP to see if they could accommodate you for testing.
All in all, AP Lang isn't so bad of a class to self-study. You're going to do great on the exam, especially if you commit to practicing, getting feedback from others, and staying motivated throughout the year!