AP classes are college-level courses offered at high schools across the United States. These classes are recognized by more than 90 percent of colleges and universities. In order to receive credit for a class though, students must take an AP exam at the end of the course, which includes an essay for social science, history and English courses.
Students need to show that they have a deep and broad understanding of the subject they are writing about. As a result, students should start studying for the AP exam several weeks in advance so that they can review all of the material that was previously covered in class. The people who review AP essays are looking to see that students can provide specific facts and evidence to support their arguments, and not just general ideas.
Writing a strong essay requires more than just knowing the right facts. AP essays are timed, and students should accustom themselves to writing under these strict constraints. The amount of time for each essay depends on the test, but students should prepare to write most essays in 30 to 45 minutes. Writing practice essays also helps prepare students for the types of questions that they may be asked. The College Board, which runs the AP exams, offers sample essay questions through its website.
Carefully Read the Question
In an effort to begin writing as quickly as possible, students often fail to read the essay question carefully. In order to receive full credit, students need to make sure that they answer all parts of the question completely. Taking the time to reread the question and think about what the test is asking can help students write better essays.
Even though the test is timed, taking a few minutes to write and craft a plan for the essay is time well spent. Students who plan out their essay can help ensure that their writing is clear, organized and detailed enough to answer all parts of the question. This is also a good time to think about the evidence needed to support the essay’s thesis or argument.
Students should begin with an introductory paragraph that clearly states their thesis for the essay. Following paragraphs should make their points clearly and early on in the paragraph to avoid confusing the reader. Each paragraph should directly support the thesis and provide specific evidence instead of broad generalizations. Writing a short conclusion helps sum up the essay’s points and re-emphasize the thesis.
Although students have little time to execute their essays, it’s still a good idea to proofread quickly if time permits. Doing so helps catch spelling and grammar errors that may detract from the essay.
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In the online world, success is all about generating traffic. Traffic is measured in terms of “hits” (the number of times your page is accessed by someone on the Internet). Your hit count is a measure of how many potential customers or readers you are reaching and is also used by advertisers to determine where they choose to buy ad space. The better written your content, the more likely readers are to return to your site again and again, thereby improving your hit count. But beware; writing for an online audience is very different than writing for a print audience.
Online visitors don’t actually read, they scan. Online articles must be brief, informative and attention-grabbing to be effective. Headlines should be short and should clearly inform the reader of the article’s topic. Avoid exclamation points, jokes and puns in your headline unless you are writing a humor column. Use a conversational tone, but don’t be sloppy. Avoid slang, jargon or undefined abbreviations if you are writing for a professional site. Personal bloggers have more latitude in terms of language and tone, but the most respected bloggers adhere to professional rules. Remember that new readers will likely find you by entering one or more keywords into their search engine. Scatter the keywords a searcher is most likely to use throughout your text.
Grammar, spelling and punctuation still count. So does accuracy. Check your writer’s facts, particularly in scholarly settings. Online researchers typically consult more resources than print researchers. Literate and correct content implies professionalism and expertise—two things that will keep researchers coming back to your site in the future. Rein in flowery writers and those fond of dependant clauses. Two short sentences make for better online reading than one long one. Base your stylistic corrections on the approved source guide for your site (Chicago, MLS, SLS, AP, etc.) Monitor keyword saturation. Gratuitous use of keywords can actually cause your search engine rating to drop.
The rules for online content are different than those for print content. Keep sentences and paragraphs short. Never underline a word or phrase unless it is an online link to another site. Always write in the active tense and use the fewest words possible to get your meaning across. “Experts consider blueberries a healthful fruit” is preferable to “blueberries are considered to be a healthful fruit by most experts.” Assume your audience can read at a ninth-grade level unless your site is directed at highly educated or technical audiences.
Potential employers, educators and other organizations provide aptitude tests for potential candidates. These tests gauge the intelligence and skills of the taker during a specific amount of time. Most aptitude tests are not completed in the allotted amount of time, but participants are expected to complete as much of them as possible. The tests are on general or employment-related topics and include multiple-choice answers. Participants take these tests on a computer most of the time, but some take it on paper using a pencil.
Discover what will be included on the aptitude test you will be taking. You can do so by simply asking the administrator what is on the aptitude test. Do research to determine sample questions for the type of industry you are taking the test for. You can also find sample aptitude tests that you can take to determine your strong and weak points. Do this daily until it is time to take the aptitude test.
Study sentence structure and basic English writing formatting for paragraphs, essays and speaking. Pay attention to how each sentence flows and the correct way of speaking without using slang or uncommon words. Verbal ability questions determine the participant’s grammar, understanding of analogies and ability to follow instructions. These tests help employers determine how proficient you are in communication. Data checking tests require participants to search for errors specifically for clerical-type jobs, and this study method is common for this section.
Practice basic and advanced math that includes charts for the numeric ability tests. These tests are generally basic, but they may include some advanced math and charts. Brush up on things you learned in high school and take time to learn new things that may have been confusing to you in the past.
Read instruction manuals for basic appliances around your home and search online for manuals for products you do not own. Following recipe instructions can also be beneficial to studying for this test. Abstract reasoning portions of the test have questions to determine your logic and solutions to questions. These questions determine your intelligence and ability to learn new things.
Reassess your personal knowledge concerning physics for the mechanical reasoning test. These tests assess your mechanical knowledge concerning topics including inertia, force, energy and friction. Study books about the movement of the human body and books about how magnets work. Utilize the time until your test to study and understand physics terms and how they apply to everyday life.
Study electronic diagrams concerning your chosen field of work if you plan to become an electrician or enter a mechanical field. Fault diagnosis questions determine how participants find issues and fix problems concerning electronics or mechanics.
Research the field you plan to enter and the company you wish to work for. Break the job title down and determine your expected duties. Work sample tests include scenarios of work situations and conflicts and how well the user can handle it. Knowing and understanding your potential job responsibilities will prepare you for this portion of the test.
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