Final Exam Study Guide and AP Contract


Don’t be this guy.

The final exams for this semester’s AP Lang/American Literature courses will take place on Thursday, December 20th (1st period) and Friday, December 21st (4th period). It is imperative that you are on time and present for all of your final exams!



Click here for a copy of the AP exam contract. Ms. Antonacci will provide hard copies to students wishing to take the AP exam in May. Signed contracts are due back to Ms. A. by the last day of classes.

Please use the study guide below to prepare for your AP Lang/Am. Lit. final exam.

Terms to Know (Definition AND effect on text):

  • Persuasive Appeal
  • Ethos
  • Pathos
  • Logos
  • Repetition
  • Restatement
  • Denotation
  • Connotation
  • Parallelism
  • Metaphor and Extended Metaphor
  • Personification
  • Anecdote
  • Anaphora
  • Tone
  • Allusion
  • Rhetorical Question
  • Imagery

Characteristics of American Modernist (Depression-Era) Literature:

  • Use of dialect; experimentation with structure, type, and punctuation; blunt and direct social criticism; disillusionment, especially with capitalism

Primary Standards Assessed:

    Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
    Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 11-12 reading and content, choosing flexibly from a range of strategies.
    Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.
    Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of the structure an author uses in his or her exposition or argument, including whether the structure makes points clear, convincing, and engaging.
    Delineate and evaluate the reasoning in seminal U.S. texts, including the application of constitutional principles and use of legal reasoning (e.g., in U.S. Supreme Court majority opinions and dissents) and the premises, purposes, and arguments in works of public advocacy (e.g., The Federalist, presidential addresses).

Budget Your Time: Essay Due Dates

Although you will have ample class time to complete your argumentative essays, I know some of you have jobs, practices, and other obligations after school. You know your schedule, so please budget your time accordingly. See the schedule below for due dates; please note that check-offs for grades will occur throughout the writing process.

Monday – work on outline and works cited (in class)

How to Write an Essay Outline

Tuesday –  outlines and works cited due by end of class period

Wednesday – work on rough drafts; due by beginning of class on Thursday

Thursday – self- and peer-editing in class; edit and revise in class

Friday – final drafts of essays with completed works cited due by 11:59 pm. Please share your Google Doc with my personal email ( and PROVIDE EDITING RIGHTS!


Persuasive Speech: Crafting Your Thesis


What is a thesis statement?
A thesis statement is a guide to your paper. It tells the reader the subject matter, your argument, and what to expect from the rest of the paper. Usually, the thesis statement will come towards the end of the first paragraph.

Think of your first thesis as a “working thesis,” or a statement that is likely to change. Often, once you get into the body of the paper, you may discover that your thesis needs to be changed a bit as you discover more information.

Writing a good thesis statement:
When you are working on your thesis statement, keep these three tips in mind:

1. Make sure your thesis fits the scope of the paper. The scope means how long and how in-depth the research should be. If you only have two pages, you need to keep the thesis narrow enough to cover the argument adequately.
2. Don’t simply give a fact or make a statement that is obvious. For example, “An eating disorder is a serious disease” is a statement most would readily agree with. This is sometimes called a “so what?” thesis.
3. You don’t need to start your thesis with “I believe…” or “In my opinion…” You are the author of the paper, so this is obvious to the reader. Using these types of phrases weakens the power of your statement.

Click here for Ms. Antonacci’s example!

Group Body Paragraphs

Good morning (afternoon to my 4th)! Please get out your body paragraphs from yesterday.

You will have ten minutes to put the final touches on your body paragraphs. After the ten minutes, trade your paper with another group. You will:

  1. Underline the topic sentence and jot down what you think the topic of the body paragraph is based on the first sentence.
  2. Highlight ALL pieces of text evidence in one color.
  3. In another color, highlight the analysis present.
  4. Does the concluding sentence tie back to the purpose of Carson’s essay? If so, give them a smiley face! If not, write “Tie back to purpose” at the bottom of their paragraph.
  5. Return your edits to the group.
  6. Your group will have five minutes to make any necessary edits.
  7. Submit to Ms. A.!

Rhetorical Analysis: A Review

Welcome to… WRITING WEEK!

Now that we’re done with The Scarlet Letter, we’re coming back to rhetorical analysis! Today, we will practice with an excerpt from Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring; this was the AP Lang rhetorical analysis prompt from 2004.

Based on your feedback on Monday, we will review how to annotate effectively and practice writing effective body paragraphs in groups. Please use all of the resources given to you throughout the semester to jog your memory back to analyzing rhetorical effectiveness!

Sample Multiple Choice Categories and Question Stems

Please use the list below to acquaint yourself with common multiple choice question stems and strategies!

Content (including word meanings):

  1. The speaker’s view of _____ might best be described as…
  2. The speaker uses “________” as an example to illustrate the idea that…
  3. Which of the following best paraphrases lines _____? OR …summarizes the main point?
  4. The excerpt is chiefly concerned with…
  5. Which of the following is the primary meaning of the word _____ as it is used in the passage?
  6. In line _____, “_____” refers to … OR is best understood to mean…
  7. The antecedent of “it” in line ____ is…

Style (including structure and literary devices):

  1. The primary rhetorical function of lines _____ is…
  2. The type of argument employed by the speaker is best described as…The shift in point of view from _____ to _____ has the effect of…
  3. The second sentence is unified by the writer’s use of…
  4. The structure of this passage is primarily one of…
  5. In line _____, _____ most probably refer metaphorically to… OR is ironic chiefly because…
  6. In lines _____, the speaker makes use of all of the following EXCEPT:
  7. The syntax of the sentence in lines _____ serves to…

Tone (including inferences):

  1. The tone of the passage is best described as…
  2. Lines _____ most strongly convey the speaker’s attitude that…
  3. From the context, the reader can infer that _____ is…
  4. The speaker assumes that the audience’s attitude will be that of…
  5. From the passage, we can infer that all of the following would be true EXCEPT…

Wrapping up The Scarlet Letter: Socratic Seminar

This week, we will wrap up Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. I hope you’ve enjoyed your reading and our discussions of the novel thus far!


However, we still have much to discuss! On Wednesday, both classes will hold a Socratic Seminar. If you haven’t taken part in a Socratic Seminar before, it is basically a student-led class discussion around the entire novel. The Seminar will require YOU to pose questions, though – Ms. Antonacci doesn’t speak!

In order to prepare for our Socratic Seminar, you should reference your notes, writing, and annotations in order to write a minimum of six higher-order thinking (HOT) questions. What’s a HOT Question, you ask?

Higher Order Thinking is thinking using the three upper levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy: Analyzing, Evaluating, and Creating. Questions at higher levels are usually more appropriate for encouraging students to think deeply and critically, problem solving, encouraging discussions, and stimulating students to seek information on their own.

HOT questions go much further than text comprehension; for example, “Describe Pearl’s behavior” is a lower-order thinking question, because we can easily point to the text to find the one correct answer. In the same vein, some more lower-order thinking questions are: “What are all of the nicknames used for Chillingworth?”, “Compare the characters of Chillingworth and Dimmesdale” and “Where is the setting of the novel?” Although these are open-ended questions, they don’t promote discussion. When you write your HOT questions, think about possible responses – people should be able to argue your question and present multiple perspectives; that is, there should be no one correct answer.

So how do you write a HOT question? (Strategies from Paideia)

Again, first think about possible responses; your questions should NOT ask students simply to remember or understand details or facts about the novel. You’re not quizzing whether they read and understood the novels or not (though, of course, this is important for your success in the Socratic Seminar). Rather, your questions should encourage other students to think deeply and elicit multiple perspectives; good Socratic questions are always open-ended, thought-provoking, and clear.

  1. Open-ended:  Questions are designed to elicit multiple perspectives. Numerous answers can be correct as long as the students stay on topic.
  2. Thought-provoking: To start, questions should spark numerous responses. Then, they should challenge students to evaluate and synthesize their ideas.
  3. Clear: Participants should be able to understand right away what the facilitator is asking. This means phrasing questions carefully to keep them short and simple, even when the topic is complex.

Think “big-picture” regarding the text and its themes, symbols, and motifs when constructing your questions – rather than focusing on little details, consider major themes we discussed in the anticipation guide and the tracing of motifs as a starting point.


The goal of opening questions is to engage all of the participants in identifying the main ideas in a text.


  • What word or phrase is most important? 
  • Which character is meant to be the hero or protagonist?
  • What is the most surprising statement in the text? 
  • What is the most striking image or metaphor? 
  • What would be another good title for this piece?

Opening questions should be designed for short answers.


The goal of core questions is to have the participants analyze the seminar text and develop their ideas about it.


  • Why is the argument structured in this way?
  • What evidence does the author use to back up his or her point of view?
  • What do the authors mean when they say ________________________?
  • How would the original audience have interpreted this statement?
  • What is the relationship between __________ and ______________ ?

During the seminar, facilitators ask increasingly demanding questions. They may ask students to support their ideas with evidence from the text; to respond to another student’s point of view; to identify the assumptions behind their thinking; or to re-evaluate their ideas, considering other perspectives or evidence.


The goal of closing questions is for participants to consider the ideas and values from the text, in real-world applications.


  • What additional points should be included in this text?
  • How would our daily lives be different without this concept or idea?
  • In your opinion, is it morally right to take the action described in this text?
  • Based on this story, do you think people’s actions are determined by fate or by choice? 

Closing questions can form the basis for follow-up writing assignments or exercises, allowing students to develop the ideas they explore through the seminar.

Please refer to the HOT question stems and guidelines for Socratic Seminar handouts Ms. Antonacci has provided you. You MUST come prepared with your questions and responses; a lack of preparation beforehand will result in points taken off your Seminar grade.

  • Guidelines:
    • A minimum of SIX HOT questions
    • Your responses to FOUR of your questions; full credit will only be awarded with text evidence in every response. (4-7 sentences minimum per response; consider multiple viewpoints.)

This Week’s Reading Schedule: The Scarlet Letter

The reading schedule and writing log dates for The Scarlet Letter have been amended. Please see the schedule below and remember that I can take up your writing at any time! Please also note that the schedule reflects your homework for the night.

For full credit, your response must thoroughly answer the prompt and include text evidence to strengthen your point. Please scroll past the schedule for an exemplar response.

  • Tuesday, 10/16
    • Chapter 16: Note the descriptions of the forest; pay attention to color symbolism and imagery.
    • Chapter 17: What is revealed about Hester and Dimmesdale?
  • Wednesday, 10/17 – Ms. Antonacci out at Yearbook conference
    • Chapter 18: What is the significance of the sunshine? Pearl reveals a man in his natural state. What are your impressions?
    • Chapter 19: What is the significance of the water? What does it symbolize?
  • Thursday, 10/18
    • Chapter 20: What is the significance of three temptations and three denials? What is the significance of red, black, white, dark, forest, town?
  • Friday, 10/19 and over the weekend (writing assignment due on Monday) – Ms. Antonacci out at AP conference
    • Chapter 21 and 22: What are the parallels to a marriage procession? What does Hester realize?


One thing I’m seeing in some of your writing is an emphasis on summary over analysis. It doesn’t mean anything for you to bring up symbols and images without analyzing them! Be sure to ALWAYS provide text evidence to bolster your argument. See this example of a student in my fourth period who consistently submits thorough analyses:

Chapter 12: Light has a very interesting role to play in this chapter. It still represents purity and holiness, but at the end of the chapter, it is used to uncover and represent truth. Dimmesdale has driven himself mad with guilt from his sin, but no one else in the village knows. Hawthorne represents this by concealing him in the night; his dark garbs make him appear as only a shadow in the night. If he was as holy as a clergyman should be, he would have stood out in the black night like Mr. Wilson, who was “surrounded, like the saint-like personages of olden times, with a radiant halo, that glorified him amid this gloomy night of sin” (Hawthorne 69). Later, while on the scaffold with Hester and Pearl, “a light gleamed far and wide over all the muffled sky” (71). This light, that was attributed to a meteor, can be seen as a sign from God “as if it were the light to reveal all secrets” (71). A flash of crimson printed “the letter A – marked out in lines of dull red light” into the night sky (71). The same red A embroidered on Hester Prynne’s chest now hovered in the night sky above Mr. Dimmesdale next to her. The only other person there to witness it was none other than Roger Chillingworth, who very kindly offered to walk Dimmesdale home. The light had not only shown the sin Dimmesdale had committed, but it also gave Chillingworth an answer to his suspicions. It pointed out the truth both were seeking, but in their own right.

This is EXACTLY what I’m looking for – thorough personal analysis, flawless incorporation of meaningful text evidence, and chronology. Consider what change(s) you need to make to your writing assignments if you are not consistently scoring as high as you’d like.