AP Italian Language and Culture Exam

November 11, 2020
By AdmissionSight

How to Ace the AP Italian Language and Culture Exam

For many of the most advanced students in the United States, finding ways to challenge yourself within your class curriculum is an important way to make sure that your college application jumps off the page once it gets to the desks of college admissions counselors at many of the best schools in the country. One of the best ways to do that is to enroll in AP courses and take the related AP exams. If you have an interest in the Italian language, a great course to consider while in high school is the AP Italian Language and Culture Exam.

Italian dictionary

Italian is one of the eight languages that is offered as part of the AP World Languages and Culture Program. Overall, the goal of the AP World Languages and Culture program is to help high school students across the United States learn the importance of learning more than one’s own native language. That is especially true as the world continues to form a globalized economy and culture in which communication, travel and overall interaction continue to become more and more possible and prevalent. When it comes to the AP Italian Language and Culture Exam is to give students cognitive, analytical and communication skills that carry over to many different areas of academic study.

This may come as a surprise, but the AP Italian Language and Culture Exam is one of the least common options for students across the United States. When it comes to the other romance languages that are offered (French and Spanish), Italian is the least common and least popular by a wide margin. In fact, the course was so uncommon that in 2009 it was officially discontinued due to low enrollment numbers.

the words pari italiano? written on a small board right next to a book

Luckily, the Italian Language Foundation managed to help get the course to be re-instated by the College Board in 2012. In order to raise the popularity of the class, the Italian Language Foundation now sponsors the Dante Award for Excellence in Ap Italian Language and culture for members of the foundation.

In fact, the Dante Award for Excellence now offers cash rewards to students who score highly on the AP Italian Language and Culture exam (but we’ll get to that later).

Per year, less than 3,000 students take the AP Italian Language and Culture Exam and approximately 30 percent of those students are native Italian speakers who have not been exposed to the language through class courses, but instead through speaking with their family throughout their lives.

With all this being said, students should not be confused about the great importance of the language and culture of Italy. Italian is the language most closely rooted in the ancient and highly impactful language of Latin. Italy also has one of the most impactful cultures when it comes to the historical culture and the culture of today. Of course, the Italian Renaissance is one of the eras in modern history that has had a massive impact on art, music, writing and more.

More recently film, fashion, music and sports have been some of Italy’s most important cultural exports. Beyond that, Italy is an important hub when it comes to top-end industries such as machine tool manufacturing, equipment, robotics, electromechanical machinery, space engineering, shipbuilding and more.

For that reason, even if you are not interested in pursuing a career that is directly related to the language of Italian, it is clear that knowing the language and culture of Italy can be highly helpful to people who are hoping to one day pursue a career in fields such as business, engineering, fashion and many more.

Here are AdmissionSight, we know how important it is for top high school students to show their scholastic excellence and one of the very best ways to do that is take accelerated courses such as AP courses.

Benefits of AP Courses

If you have yet to learn all that much about AP courses in general, you may be curious about their objective value when it comes to not only your education but also to your chances of getting in the college or university of your dreams.

First off, AP courses prove to college admissions counselors at prestigious schools that you are ready and willing to take on serious academic challenges. In fact, the AP course curriculum and the related exam are crafted with the intention of mimicking an early semester of a college-level course. That means that if you are able to score a great grade in the course and a great grade on the exam, counselors who are looking at your college application will feel confident in your ability to handle the pressure and course load that comes with a four-year college education.

Secondly, another reason why taking AP courses is a great idea for any high school student is that if a student scores a 3 or above on an AP exam (which are all graded on a 5-point scale with 5 being the highest score), they become eligible for possible benefits such as placement and college credits. So, for example, if you are interested in majoring or minoring in Italian once you get to college, scoring a 3, 4 or 5 out of 5 on the AP Italian Language and Culture exam, you may very likely be able to completely pass on introductory courses and move further along the line when it comes to required courses that you will need to take in college in order to earn your degree. This is not only a great idea because it saves valuable time where you could be taking other classes that fit your degree or your passions and interests, but it also has the potential to literally save you thousands of dollars in the form of paying for college tuition. This is a major reason why it is not only important to take the course, but focus heavily on trying to ace the exam.

Finally, AP courses actually come with a weighted GPA, which means that you can score higher than the 4.0 on the grade if you receive an A grade. The reason why that is important is that scoring a high GPA is still crucially important to proving to top schools that you are ready for the next level of education. That is especially for true for schools that are starting to pivot away from putting a major emphasis on standardized tests such as the SAT and ACT.  In fact, the entire UC (that is the University of California, like UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and more) system announced that they would be making standardized tests optional! For schools that put less of an emphasis on standardized tests, your GPA and the difficulty of the courses that you take in high school become that much more important.

If you are interested in learning more about the AP Italian Language and Culture Exam, as well as how to best prepare for success when the day of the exam finally comes, you have come to the right place!

Let us at AdmissionSight break down the basic information regarding this AP exam so that you can know what to expect. Let’s get started.

About the AP Italian Language and Culture Course

The AP Italian Language and Culture course is geared towards teaching advanced language skills such as vocabulary uses, language control and communication strategies. As is the case with all AP Language and Culture courses, the primary focus is put on the importance of communication rather than complete mastery of grammar.

Flag of Italy

Overall, the course focuses on three modes of communication. Those modes include:

  • Interpersonal
  • Interpretive
  • Presentational

These three modes of communication are incorporated into the course’s curriculum and are all tested on the finale exam as well.

On top of that, the course is also geared to towards expanding a student’s knowledge and appreciation of various Italian cultural creations such as tools, books, laws, music and more. There is also importance put on cultural norms and practices, values, attitudes, assumptions and more.

While there are no formal prerequisites listed for the AP Italian Language and Culture course, it is strongly recommended that you take it only if you have already gone through three previous years of Italian language courses in your high school curriculum. The reason why there are no strict prerequisites for this class despite the fact that they are highly encouraged is that it would not be fair for students who are interested in taking the course and are highly proficient in speaking and understanding Italian because it is their native language or the native language of their family. This same policy is applied to all of the other AP Language and Culture courses and exams as well. If you are doubting whether or not you truly need to have a solid grasp on the Italian language before enrolling in this course, consider the fact that the majority of the course is itself taught in Italian.

For the course, students will look to master the 6 core themes of the course. A breakdown of those themes and how they interact is listed below.



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