Everything You Need to Know to Ace the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam
If you’re an American high school student who is looking to expand their knowledge past the United States’ border, you might be very interested in enrolling in the AP Spanish Literature and Culture course and taking the corresponding AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam.
Spanish is one of the eight languages that is offered in the AP World Languages and Cultures program and has been considered the most popular choice amongst students for years. In fact, it is such a popular course that students get to choose from two different classes that dive deeply into the colorful and rich Spanish language. And while AP Spanish Language and Culture are the more popular amongst the two, the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam offers students a unique approach to learning about culture, language, art, and more.
Last year, more than 215,000 American high school students took an AP Spanish exam, just 30,000 of those students took the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam. So, why should students consider taking the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam, and what kind of information should a student expect to master if they want to score a perfect 5 out of 5 on it?
Let us at AdmissionSight break down that information for you.
However, before we go into that, let us briefly touch on some of the reasons why AP courses are considered such an important thing for students to commit their time and energy to.
The first reason is quite logistical. Simply, students who enroll in AP courses and excel when it comes to taking the exams at the end of the year get the chance to qualify for college credit and placement. That means that some students will be able to get started on their eventual undergraduate major while they are still in high school! This not only allows students to get ahead while in college, but it also allows parents the opportunity to save quite a bit of money.
On top of that, students who excel in AP courses in high school are amongst the most attractive students in the eyes of admissions officers at top colleges and universities. Through their ability to succeed in advanced and challenging courses, high school students can prove their ability to succeed at the next level of education.
One final reason that we will go over is based on the fact that students who enroll in AP courses get the chance to dive deeply into subjects that they love. In the case of the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam, this is a perfect course for students who are interested in any topics that have to do with studying languages, other cultures, or world literature.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam.
About the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam
Overall, the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam test students’ knowledge and comprehension through a thematic approach to the introduction of some of the most important and impactful works of Spanish literature throughout history.
Sources and texts from Peninsular Spanish, Latin America, and the United States all play an important role in the course and the units that are covered. Throughout the course, students will be offered a set of required reading and will learn about both the works themselves and the context in which they were created from a cultural and societal standpoint.
While students can expect to form strength in the Spanish language, as is the case with all AP language courses, they will also get the chance to focus on cultural connections and comparisons that exist within these fantastic works of literature and art.
When it comes to the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam and corresponding course, the general thinking is that the approach to the language through cultural landmarks is a fresh and exciting way to allow American students to access the cultural perspectives that have helped shape the Spanish speaking people of the world for hundreds of years. Beyond that, it is also aimed towards improving high school student’s ability to think and read critically, a skill that becomes incredibly important in all college educations.
What students will learn in the course
When it comes to students who want to enroll in the AP Spanish Literature and Culture course, one important thing to note is that while there are no formal prerequisites, this is not at all an intro to Spanish course. Students are expected to have taken the equivalent of at least three years of Spanish at the high school level. Either that or students should have significant experience speaking the language outside of class. On the whole, students are expected to be able to both understand Spanish at a deep level and express themselves in Spanish at a deep level in order to master the critical elements of the course.
Overall, the primary goals of the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam are to help students build core skills to think like a literary critic as well as develop a deep understanding of the specific content that is taught in the course. This is done through the acts of critical reading, literary analysis, as well as contextualizing the literary works within the times and places that they were created and consumed.
In the course, students will be expected to master seven core skills. The amount that each core skill will be tested on the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam are also offered below:
On top of that, the content that is covered throughout the AP Spanish Literature and Culture course is broken up into six overarching themes. Each theme contains four to six organizing concepts. Throughout the course, students will be asked to make connections between important concepts and themes in order to encourage critical reading and thinking both within and outside of the class. The overarching themes and their corresponding concepts are below:
The core skills and the content of the course itself are typically taught in eight separate units that have been carefully developed by the College Board. Those include:
- La época medieval
- El siglo XVI
- El siglo XVII
- La literature romántica, realista y naturalista
- La Generación del 98 y el Modernismo
- Teatro y poesia del siglo XX
- El Boom latinoamericano
- Escritores contemporáneos de Estado Unidso, y España
What you will face on the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam
When it comes to the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam itself, it is highly important to keep in mind that the entire exam itself is presented in Spanish. That means all of the directions, prompts, questions, and texts.
That is why either total fluency or near fluency in Spanish should be considered a prerequisite before enrolling in the class.
When it comes to the format of the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam, students will face both a section of multiple-choice questions as well as a section of free-response questions. Students will have 80 minutes to answer 65 multiple-choice questions and 100 minutes to answer the free-response questions. In all, the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam is one of the longest AP Exams that students can take, lasting a total of three hours.
Both the multiple-choice section of the exam and the free-response section each make up 50 percent of the exam’s finals. Let us at AdmissionSight break down each section of the exam for you in greater detail.
There are two separate sections that make up the multiple-choice section of the exam. The first section is a set of 15 questions that are based on an audio stimulus. In this first section, students will receive three sets of questions based on three audio recordings. One if from an interview with an author, another is a recited poem, and the third is a presentation on a literary topic.
Here is an example of a question that students may encounter during the audio-based multiple-choice section:
The next section of the multiple-choice portion of the exam is based on text. Students will receive six sets of 7 to 10 questions that are based on readings (that will both come from of and off the course’s reading list) and will include one passage of literary criticism about an author from the list. These prompts will cover a number of different periods, places, genres, and more.
Some of the questions that students taking the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam may face include the following:
Once the multiple-choice portion of the exam has been completed, students will then dive into the free-response short answer section.
This first part of the free-response section will take 30 minutes and will cover 2 total questions. Here, students will be provided an excerpt from a text that was on the required reading list and will be asked to identify the author as well as the period that it was written. Students will also need to explain the theme of the provided excerpt and how it related to the overall work as a whole.
The next section of the exam will also span two questions, but students will get the remaining one hour and 10 minutes to complete these tasks. Here, students will have 35 minutes per question to come up with an answer.
The topic of the essays will be an analysis of a single text. Students will be given an excerpt from a text from the required reading list. Students will have to analyze how the specific excerpt and text overall is representative of a specific genre. They will also be expected to place the work in a historical, cultural, or social context.
On top of that, the student’s essay writing ability will also factor into their final score.
When it comes to the chances that you have at scoring that perfect 5 out of 5 on the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam, you should know that it is considered quite difficult. In fact, in last year’s exam, under 10 percent of the students who took it were able to score a perfect 5 out 5. Here is the breakdown per score from last year’s exam.
The best ways to study for the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam
Now that you have a great basic idea of what you will be expected to master on the exam as well as what the format of the exam is, you are probably interested in learning the best way to study and prepare for the exam itself.
Here at AdmissionSight, we have broken down a step-by-step process to increase your odds of scoring that perfect 5 out of 5.
Analyze your knowledge and skills
The first step you will want to take when it comes to preparing for the AP Spanish Literature and Culture Exam is to take a full practice exam in order to see where your knowledge and skills currently are. While you are of course welcome to time yourself while taking this exam as you will be timed on the day of the actual exam, you should also know that if you feel more comfortable not timing yourself in this first go, that is totally okay as well.
What is most important is that after you complete all sections of this practice exam, you go over the answers that are offered in the study guide or online exam that you are utilizing. That way, you will be able to identify areas that might be areas of strength for you, and also identify areas that are still of weakness for you. By doing this, you will ensure that you are studying as effectively as possible as the day of the actual exam continues to approach.
Hit the books and study the material
If getting a great grade in the course at your high school is not enough of a reason to study hard, consider the chances of being able to jump ahead in your studies once you enter college. The material of the course is broken up into the “Communication,” and “Cultures, Connections, Comparisons, and Communities” categories. When you are studying, it is not a bad idea to break down the material in these two categories.
Take practice multiple-choice and free-response questions
Once you feel as though you have mastered the material of the course itself, it is time to stop focusing on learning the material and start testing that mastery. Before you switch over to taking full practice exams, however, it is a smart idea to test yourself in the many different sections of the exam. Perhaps spend a couple of days per week focusing on the two multiple-choice sections of the exam and a couple of other days per week focusing on the multiple-choice sections.
Testing yourself is crucial and comparing the answers you come up with with the answers that are provided in the sample that you are using. There are a lot of great places to find sample questions so that you can test what areas you are solid on and what areas you must continue to work on.
Take full practice tests
Finally, you will want to take some full practice tests. While timing yourself was optional when you took your first practice exam in order to test your knowledge, you are now taking practice exams to prepare for the exam itself. That means that you are going to have to prepare your mind for the rigors of the timed test.
As always, continue to compare your answers to the answers that are offered in the guide. Doing multiple tests as the actual exam date starts to draw near is great is possible. With that being said, once the test is truly just days away, it is time to put away the study books and practice exams and give your mind the rest it needs to perform at its best once test day finally arrives.