EXCELLING ON THE AP FRENCH LANGUAGE EXAM
ABOUT THIS BOOK
This book provides a thorough review for the Advanced Placement French Language Examination written in a way that high school students will readily grasp and appreciate. REA’s mission is to explain the subject matter in terms the student can understand and benefit from. The full-length practice exams included in this book help you get ready for the actual exam. Use them, along with the detailed explanations of answers, to help determine your strengths and weaknesses, and to prepare
yourself to score well on exam day.
ABOUT THE ADVANCED PLACEMENT PROGRAM
The Advanced Placement program is designed to provide high school students with the opportunity to pursue college-level studies. The program consists of two components: an AP course and and AP exam. Students are expected to gain college-level skills and acquire college level knowledge of French through the AP course. Upon completion of the course, students take the AP exam in French Language. Test results are used to grant course credit and/or determine placement level in the subject when entering college. AP exams are offered every May.
For more information contact the College Board at:
P.O. Box 6671
Princeton, NJ 08541-6671
Phone: (609) 771-7300 or (888) 225-5427
Web site: www.collegeboard.com
ABOUT THE EXAM
The AP French Language Exam is approximately two and a half hours long. It tests your ability to understand both written and spoken French. It also tests the ease and fluency with which you can respond in speaking and in writing. No dictionaries or reference materials are permitted during the exam. The test is divided into four sections. Each one represents a targeted skill area: listening comprehension, reading comprehension, writing ability, and speaking ability. Each of the four sections has the same value and therefore represents one-fourth of your total score.
Multiple-Choice Test Sections
Listening and reading skills are tested with multiple-choice questions. You will be expected to choose the correct answer from a field of four different possibilities for each multiple-choice question. You will mark your choice as A, B, C, or D on an answer grid that is provided in your test booklet.
In the listening portion of the exam, you will hear a series of short exchanges between speakers. Each exchange is heard twice. While you listen, you will have four possible rejoinders in front of you. You are expected to pick the remark most likely to follow if the conversation were to continue. The listening section then goes on to present a series of longer dialogues. After each dialogue you will hear four or five questions. Each question is heard twice. You will answer the questions by choosing the best response among the four choices provided. You have about 25 minutes to complete the listening portion of the exam.
You will then have approximately one hour to complete the reading segment of the test. The passages vary in length and subject matter. They usually come from French literature (mostly prose), newspaper or magazine articles, or virtually any nontechnical, nonfiction text. Each passage is followed by a series of questions for which you are given four possible answers. Again, you mark your choice by blackening the corresponding letter on the answer sheet in your text booklet. The writing and speaking segments of the test are not multiple-choice. They are both free response.
Writing Test Sections
There are three writing exercises. First you will be given a passage that has single words missing here and there. The missing words are represented by numbered blanks. You are expected to write out the missing word in a column of blanks to the right of the text. None of the answers in this first fill-in
segment will be verbs.
Next, you will have a similar passage devoted entirely to verbs. This time, the blank indicates the infinitive form of the verb you are to use. You must provide the correct tense. The verb could also be a command form, or you may have to determine whether to use the indicative or the subjunctive.
The verb you supply must match its subject. If the verb is refl exive, you will need to include the reflexive pronoun that matches it. If the verb is in a compound tense, you will need the correct auxiliary verb, the correct past participle, and possibly agreement.
The final writing segment is the essay. There is no choice of topic. Only one essay question is given. You are expected to write a coherent and well organized essay in French in response to the given question. Your answer should showcase your mastery of verbs and grammatical structures. Your
vocabulary should be varied, well-chosen, and as idiomatic as possible. That means you should not think in English and then try to translate into French. Being idiomatic means thinking like a French person, or at least asking yourself how a French person would say what you mean. Plan to write a
minimum of three paragraphs and at least 200 words. You will have one hour and five minutes to complete the writing section of the test.
Allot at least 40 minutes for the essay; use the rest of the time for the fill-ins. Always read over what you have written, checking your spelling, accent marks, and agreement. Don’t be nervous about the essay; the questions are always very open-ended and generally require your thoughtful opinion
rather than specific facts. You will definitely be able to think of an answer; your challenge will be to express it as best you can.
Speaking Test Sections
You will be recording your own voice in the speaking segment of the exam. It is entirely free-response—that is, you may say whatever you think best answers the question. You will have approximately 15 minutes for this segment of the exam.
You will have 90 seconds to look over some drawings. You will then answer three questions based on what takes place in the sketches. You have exactly 60 seconds to record each answer. The first question asks you to tell what takes place in the sketch or series of sketches. The second and third questions use the drawings as a point of departure for a more general discussion. There will be two sets of sketches on which you must comment. The first set is generally a series of five events that take place in sequence. The second set will have only two pictures, which you are usually asked to compare or contrast. Sometimes the second set has only one sketch with a splitscreen effect. Look over the sketches carefully and jot down details as you note them and ideas as they come. The sketches invariably depict a typical life experience, and in that respect, they are not difficult at all.
STUDYING FOR THE EXAM
Ideally, you should begin your preparation for the exam six months ahead of your testing date. This deluxe approach produces the best possible result. Look at your calendar, and map out your plan. Set aside time to work regularly with this book. Schedule time to watch French films, to read French
novels and periodicals, and to listen to French singers. Pencil in some time each week to explore French chat rooms and various French language sites on the Internet. Team up with other friends who are also preparing for the test. Vow to speak to one another in French on a regular basis. Send each
other instant messages and e-mails in French.
Starting four months ahead of your test date will still give you enough time to do an adequate job of preparing. This would be a “good” plan for success, provided that you remain faithful to a regular regimen of review, study, reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Planning a calendar, no matter which plan you adopt, gives you an excellent overview of just how much time you have at your disposal. You can schedule what you’d like to have accomplished by a certain date. It’s also a good idea to record how much time you’ve actually spent working.
The bare-bones approach gives you only two months to prepare for this exam. That is really not much time at all; yet, with unswerving dedication, you could probably finish this book, possibly catch a few
films, and do some reading, writing, and speaking.