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How to Train for the Online AP German Language Test

by Maria Magher, studioD

Almost 84 million people in 18 countries speak German, making it one of the top spoken languages in the world. Students who take Advanced Placement German Language and Culture in high school can get a jump start on their study of the German language. If they pass the AP exam at the end of the year, they may be able to get course credit when they start college and continue in advanced studies of German. The AP German Language exam is rigorous, and it requires study and training throughout the year to be successful.

Speak German as Much as Possible

The AP German Language exam consists of two parts: multiple choice and free response. The free response section includes a writing and speaking section. In the speaking section, students are asked to participate in a simulated conversation and to deliver a two-minute presentation on a topic that compares German and U.S. culture. Students use voice recording software and equipment for this portion of the exam. Students are evaluated on their pronunciation, as well as their vocabulary selection and their grammar. To do well on this portion of the exam, students need to practice speaking as much as possible. Students should actively participate in class, meet with study partners to practice speaking and pursue other opportunities to speak German, such as with family members who speak German or through volunteer activities with German speakers.

Read a Variety of Authentic Texts

The multiple-choice portion of the AP German Language test has 65 total questions, including 30 questions from readings of authentic print materials, such as newspapers, advertisements, letters and literary texts. The exam asks students to identify main ideas and to analyze the texts. In some cases, the exam requires that students show an understanding of cultural influences in the texts. To prepare for this section, students must spend the school year reading as many authentic texts as they can. Most AP German teachers rely on a variety of reading materials to guide the syllabus instead of a textbook, giving students the reading practice that they need. However, students who do not feel confident in their critical reading abilities should search for additional texts online or in their local libraries to strengthen their skills.

Practice Writing Persuasively in German

The first part of the free-response section on the AP German Language exam asks students to read and reply to an email message and then to write a persuasive essay based on three provided resources. Students have 15 minutes for the email reply and 55 minutes for the essay. For the essay, students must craft an effective argument and cite sources. Students will be evaluated based on their use of the German language and their writing skills. Students need to practice writing persuasively in German to perfect their skills. They can do this on assignments in class throughout the year, as well as in practice tests.

Take Multiple Practice Exams

Even students who master the skills to be tested in their class work throughout the year may not perform well on the test. Passing the exam is not just about knowing the material -- it's also about knowing how to test well. Taking multiple practice exams can prepare students for test-day conditions, including being able to answer all the questions in the time allotted. The multiple-choice section on the AP German Language exam includes 65 questions that must be answered in an hour and 35 minutes. The free-response section includes the writing portion, which takes an hour and 10 minutes, and the speaking section, which takes 15 minutes. Students must practice answering the specific types of questions to be asked in the time given and under test-day conditions. For example, the audio text for the multiple-choice section is only played twice. Students are encouraged to guess in the multiple-choice section since points are not deducted for wrong answers.

About the Author

Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.

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