What I Learned After Taking AP English Language Composition


Among the several English classes offered at a high school, AP English Language and Composition, or simply, AP Lang, is a class that anyone in any grade in high school has the opportunity to tackle. By tackle, I mean tackle. The average student will gain valuable resources of the English language from taking this class. From writing in-class essays every other week, to memorizing over fifty writing techniques - the class is a lot of work, but it is worth it in the end. I know this from experience, because I am the epitome of the average student. I’ve learned that as time progresses in the class, writing essays will become easier, and although you won’t be able to memorize every literary technique, you will have a basic understanding for future English courses to come. If there is one important philosophy I learned from taking this course, it is that you will soon recognize your strengths and use them to your benefit, and your temporary weaknesses are well, temporary.

It Actually Counts

Since this is an Advanced Placement course, it is important to treat this as a college course, as if you were taking it in college. From my personal experience, although my English teacher was caring and passionate about the subject and teaching her students, she did not stand for hand holding and micromanaging. Piles of hand outs and paper assignments would be given to us at the beginning of the school week, and would usually be due on Thursday or Friday, with no reminders given in the middle of the week. Depending on the different schools and teachers, it might be different for everybody, but keep in mind the workload will get heavy, since it technically is a college preparatory course. On the upside, all the workload will be worth it if you pass the class and score a four or five on the AP exam. The class is weighted, adding some extra love to your grade point average, and it will also count as college credit if you kick butt on the AP exam! For more insight, read over the course description on College Board.


You Are What You Read

In the beginning of the school year, your teacher should state the required books and reading in the class syllabus or curriculum letter. Once you have that list, I recommend you start buying them from the bookstore or borrowing a copy from the library or a friend who had the class. I personally liked owning my own copy of the book because you are able to write and annotate all over it, without the wrath from your friend or the librarian. Plus, some teachers will actually give you credit for coming to class with your own book, or at least your own copy for that unit.

Once you actually have the required reading, try your best to not procrastinate when reading, and actually try finishing the book a couple days before the due date. This helps if you have any class discussions or questions you would want to ask your teacher before an in-class essay or test. Staying on the top of your game with reading is especially beneficial with class discussions. Trust me, there is nothing more embarrassing when you have nothing to contribute to a discussion, or worst, when you get called on. Another helpful tip when it comes to reading is starting second semester, try reading the newspaper or paying more attention to the news in general. Once January rolls around, the AP exam is only three to four months away, and it is better to prepare sooner rather than later. Reading and watching the news will help you on your essays when you need to synthesize or make additional commentary to your writing.

Think Ahead

When it comes to staying organized, a planner or agenda will be your best friend. On top of the assigned book you have to read for a unit, your AP Lang teacher will usually give you practice multiple choice tests and practice AP prompts to prepare you for the AP exam, as well as several oral presentations throughout the year. If you’re like me, who absolutely dreads oral presentations, planning ahead of time instead of the night before will definitely ease your stress and anxiety, and actually help you feel more confident when presenting to the class.


Let Your Words Speak

The AP Lang class is usually mainly graded on the student’s essays, oral presentations, and participation in class. Among the three topics, I found that writing about the book or prompt was more of my strong suit than talking about it. The difficulty of writing normally comes across students when there is a timed writing or an in class essay. In this case, time is usually an angel or the devil, but there is nothing to worry about if you take into consideration the following necessary precautions.

Know your school’s bell schedule. Do you have a block schedule? Does your timed writing happen to fall on an early release day? Even though it is a small tip, knowing how much allotted time you’ll be given and planning out how to manage that time is the number one priority. In addition, learning how to write in a pressured and timed environment will prepare you for the AP exam as well. If your struggle with time, I suggest you give yourself only ten minutes to read the prompt and outline your essay, and use the rest of the time to actually write it.

Know what you’re writing about! This tip applies more to assigned essays with due dates or in-class essays based on an assigned book or reading (this tip does not apply to the AP Exam, since you don’t know any of the prompts until the day of). This tip also may seem too obvious to miss, but when the time comes where your class is reading a book you are just not interested in, or the essay falls around the same time as your other priorities, it becomes very easy to get lazy with the annotations and notes, or even put aside the reading altogether. The best way to make this tip work is to, again, stay on top of the reading game. Regularly reading the assigned work and taking the time to make annotations and notes will save you so much time and stress when actually writing the essay. Instead of spending the time racking your brain for quotes or flipping through your novel’s pages, you’ll be spending that time to actually write!

Preparing for the Big Exam

The best way to prepare for the AP Exam is probably the simplest and the hardest - do well in the class. Reading that sentence will probably make you want to punch your computer screen, because yes - it is that obvious and that simple. When preparing for any big exam, your best bet of doing well on it is if you practice the work and material of the subject consistently. Like most of the other AP courses, AP Lang’s job throughout the entire school year is preparing you for the exam. From the beginning until the end of the course, you will be given given practice essay prompts, articles to help with synthesis, and worksheets where you have to identify the certain literary technique being used. I managed to pull through and end that year of AP Lang with a borderline A- in the gradebook, and a 4 on the AP exam (I know it’s not a 5, but hey, college credit!). If you take the actual class seriously and try your best, then there is a guarantee you will get a passing score or higher on the exam. Trust.

Final Tips

Here is a recollection of my final thoughts and tips as I look back at my year of taking AP Lang:

Be specific and detail-oriented. This goes for the broader spectrum and applies to everything in the course and on the exam. From writing essays, to analyzing documents, even to just doing some practice handouts, the more specific you try conveying yourself and your thoughts, the better. The course is all about analyzing and showing your understanding of the reading or prompt, so if you could refine it to the smallest piece of your point (with the least bit of ambiguity), then you’re golden. Everything is open for interpretation, but the score and grade is based on how well you can communicate your point.

Lastly, put in the effort. This applies to everything as well, even the pieces of paper you think are busy work. In this course, everything is given to you for a reason. The effort you put into your work will reflect on the red letters on the first page of your papers, or that final score in July. AP Lang is a course where you can apply “you are what you eat”, or more accurately, you are what you read.



Three College Admissions Guide Books You Should Consider Investing In


“The most technologically efficient machine that man has invented is the book.”

- Northrop Fyre

With the pressures to finish up your required courses, find scholarships, and deal with the excitement of being a senior in high school, applying to college can be a stressful process, but if you plan ahead of time and do your research, it makes things much easier. But what happens when the internet doesn’t give you much help? That’s where we take the books and find out our information the traditional way. I’ve compiled three books that can help you find the perfect college as well as help you through the college admissions process.


College Handbook 2017 (College Board College Handbook)

This a book that gives you a basic overview of every accredited college and community college in the US, this book can give you that. Every year, the College Board comes out with a new book with updated information. This book is split up into major section: the 4-year colleges and the 2-year colleges. Each section is listed by state and for every college/university they provide a student profile detailing how many students applied, how many were admitted, and how many actually enrolled to the school. The book also included the all the information such as tuition, room and board fees, and admissions requirements. It’s a giant book which is actually one of its cons. It’s not user friendly so it’s a layout that you might need to get used but if you are looking for a book with every single college, this one is for you.



2.The Insider's Guide to the Colleges, 2015: Students on Campus Tell You What You Really Want to Know, 41st Edition By Yale Daily News Staff ($17.01 on Amazon)

If you are looking for a book that contains the student’s perspective of your prospective college, this is your book. This book contains about 300 colleges and universities so I can’t say you could find your college in your book. However, they provide assessments of each school that they have listed. It does have a college finder section in the book that has some statistical information as ACT, SAT, and admission requirements. However, that’s not all. It has some information such as the highest minority attendance, highest female/male attendance, etc. This book prides itself on the student perspective on the school. If you want to get a feel for the student life on campus, this book is perfect. However, beware that the book contains some outdated information about tuition so pair this book with an updated book and you should be fine.


  1. You Got Into Where? How I Received Admission and Scholarships to the Nation’s Top Universities by Joi Wade. ($12.90 on Amazon)

Last but surely not the least, You Got Into Where? by Joi Wade is a guide that can help you in any part of your college application process. This book is the thing you need for if you want to learn about getting the good scores, on how to write essays, and completing those applications. Joi has gone through the struggle and has shared her experience to make the admissions process easier. This book includes a guide on creating a College Master List, how to ace the ACT, how to write essays, and how to get scholarships from top universities.  If you are a senior and looking for something that can give some advice as well as help you through this stressful process, grab this book off of Amazon or Barnes & Nobles and start reading.

I hope these tips will help you out these upcoming year. Leave a comment down below if you have any questions. And as always make sure you follow us on Instagram and Facebook.


https:/ store.collegeboard.org

How to Use A Bullet Journal to Get Organized


Have you ever found yourself knee deep in homework, obligations, and chores? Then you may want to start bullet journaling.

What Exactly Is It?

A bullet journal is a small notebook that is used to incorporate organization and creativity into your life. A bullet journal helps you jot down the important things in your life and helps organize your life according to the way your brain works. You can use a bullet journal as a calendar, diary, to-do list, and so much more. Even though you may have seen videos of people using fancy journals or expensive pens, you don’t need them to create your own bullet journal. All you need is a simple notebook and a little bit of imagination! One very important thing to remember before starting a bullet journal is that it is YOUR journal. Don’t compare your journals with the ones you see on Pinterest or Instagram because you are a completely different person from the creators of those bullet journals. Do what work best for you and take your time. Remember, it’s not a competition and this is just a fun way to keep track of your daily responsibilities. Why should you start bullet journaling? Bullet journals are a way to keep all your thoughts in one place that is easy to refer to and read. It allows you to assess your priorities and take the best course of action to complete your tasks. Your organizational skills and thought processes will also improve gradually with constant bullet journaling. Some also say bullet journaling is relaxing and therapeutic. It also allows you to take control of your life, which can ultimately decrease your stress levels.


What Goes in a Bullet Journal?

Most people begin by numbering the pages of their bullet journal to keep track of pages and to find certain information quickly. This can be a somewhat tedious task so you may want to number them as you fill in the pages. Many bullet journals also include a table of contents at the beginning. It allows for easy reference as you begin to fill in the pages of your journal. Having a key page can also be handy since you will most likely have a lot of different types of things being written down in your bullet journal. Doing so will also prevent you from forgetting or misinterpreting information.

The actual content of your bullet journal will depend entirely on you. Some people bullet journal on a daily basis with daily to do lists, while others plan out their events in monthly calendars. What you do will depend on what you actually want your journal’s purpose to be. If you’re like many people, your journal is a mixture of a lot of things. Sometimes you may use your bullet journal to jot down ideas for an essay, to write important birthdays, or to just simply doodle.

Logs are also essential pages that are present in bullet journals. There are three main types of logs: future, monthly and daily. Future logs are bullet lists where you jot down the events and/or tasks for the future. The great thing about the future log is that you can add more things to it and nothing is “set in stone”. Monthly logs are quite similar to future logs but they only focus on one month at a time. You can also add all the days of the month to help track of dates of the events that you may add. Last but not least, you have the daily log. The daily log is where you write you tasks or events down to help you stay organized much like the future and monthly log. Besides logs, bullet journals can include grocery lists, sketches, brainstorming, etc. It really is up to you as to what the content of your bullet journal includes. It may be helpful to think about the parts of your life that you’d like to be more organized in and tailor your journal to those.


Materials Needed to Start!

All bullet journals are essentially a small notebook or journal that can be purchased or may be lying around your house. It may also be convenient to have a small bullet journal if you plan on writing in it throughout the day. You may also want to invest in some colorful, quality pens if you want your bullet journal to look more artsy. Watercolor pencils and paints are also great ways to add a little pop to your pages. But, if you enjoy simplicity then a plain black or blue pen will work too! So, don’t worry if your pages don’t look like the ones on Pinterest. Some people respond differently to notes if they are written in different colors so it’s all up to your preference.

All in all, bullet journals can be great ways to take control of your life and help prevent disorganization by collecting all the needed information that will help you with your daily endeavors.