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How Can I Get a 5 in AP Spanish Language?

5 min readnovember 23, 2021

sander-o

Sander Owens


AP Spanish Language 🇪🇸

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¡Hola! 👋 If you are wondering how to get a 5 in AP Spanish Language, then you've come to the right place! This article will outline five 5️⃣ tips and tricks that will get you well on your way to earning that 5 in AP Spanish Language and Culture.

Be Prepared for All Parts of The Exam 🗣️

The AP Spanish exam tests you on all four main components of communication in a language: speaking, listening, reading, and writing, so, in order to do your best on the AP Spanish language exam, you should be proficient in all of these areas. The exam specifically includes:
AP Spanish Language Exam Breakdown
Exam PartTimeWeight (%)
Reading (Multiple Choice)40min (30 Qs)23%
Reading/Listening (Multiple Choice)55min (35 Qs)27%
Email Replay15min12.5%
Argumentative Essay55min12.5%
Conversation~2min12.5%
Cultural Comparison6min12.5%
So, given how each skill is worth about a quarter of the overall exam score, proficiency in each skill is the best strategy for success. Next, we'll give the one key tip that you can use to be successful in each of the different components of the exam.

Be Smart about Multiple Choice 📝

If you've studied for and taken the reading section of a standardized test such as the SAT or ACT, you actually might be pretty well prepared for the reading section of the AP Spanish Exam. Common types of questions asked in this section are reading comprehension, author's purpose, the meaning of a phrase in context, interpreting graphics, and making larger conclusions and connections.
These are common question types on achievement tests, and the purpose of the multiple-choice is to gauge your proficiency within the Spanish language. However, the questions will be comparatively simpler than the equivalent English reading question, as understanding the question itself is a big component of this portion. Make sure you are familiar with common words used in the question stems, such as destacar (to highlight), or propósito (purpose).
Familiarize yourself with common strategies for multiple-choice reading strategies, such as skimming questions before reading the stimulus, looking at headings, answering questions in the best order, or not selecting an answer just because you read it in the passage.

Be a Good Listener👂

For many, the listening portions are the most daunting part of the exam: there is no material to refer back to once the track is played, you have to listen to actual sources, and things can get jumbled around in your brain. Here are a few tips to feel much more comfortable on the listening sections:
  • Take notes when you listen. Scribble down key words and phrases — having a list of things to look at can help jog your memory.
  • For the MCQ listening, pre-read the questions. It also helps to know what you are listening for, because it will be much easier to pick out words and phrases in the dialogue. In addition, know which questions you actually have to listen for, and which you can infer from the source information or, if it is a comparison of print and audio, from the other source.
  • Read the source for the audio before you start. Know if it's an interview, a documentary, or something else, as well as the names of the voices so that you can target your listening appropriately.
  • Don't get freaked out by different accents! These audio selections feature a variety of accents, so practice by listening to a bunch of different Spanish accents. That way, you will be comfortable with multiple varieties and paces of Spanish, so you aren't thrown off by people from Spain pronouncing c or z as th, or Argentinians and Chileans pronouncing ll and y as zh. Reading the questions can help with this, so you can match words to what you hear if the speaker has a strange accent or is speaking more quickly than you are used to hearing.

Use Your English Writing Skills In Spanish 📝

The email (correo electrónico) and the argumentative essay (ensayo persuasivo) are frequently tricky because they will likely be your first exposure to timed, academic writing in Spanish. However, especially in the case of the email, if you follow some key pointers, you will likely quickly master the format.

The Email ✉️

Here are what you need to include to get a top score on the email response (adapted from the College Board's scoring guidelines in the CED):
  • response is appropriate within the task
  • responds to all questions asked with elaboration, and asks a further question (don't forget about this part)
  • no errors that impede comprehensibility
  • varied vocabulary and idioms (⚠️ don't just use ser and hay all the time)
  • accurate and varied grammar (can you throw a little subjunctive in there?)
  • formal greetings and conclusion (memorize one of each!) and appropriate formal address (i.e. ensure you're using usted)
  • variety of sentences

The Essay ✏️

Here are what you need to include to get a top score on the essay (adapted from the College Board's scoring guidelines):
  • successfully comprehends stimuli
  • uses all three sources
  • successfully defends viewpoint
  • no errors that impede comprehensibility
  • varied vocabulary and idioms (⚠️ don't just use ser and hay all the time)
  • accurate and varied grammar
  • variety of sentences

Speak With Confidence 📣

The speaking portion can be very scary, especially if you aren't a native or immersed speaker, but the most important thing to do is relax, and don't get out of sorts if one of your responses doesn't go to plan. On the conversation, if you stumble over your words, correct it, and then carry on. Make sure to follow the directions and answer the questions, and speak confidently, but not too quickly or slowly. On the cultural comparison, utilize the planning time to its fullest, and make a quick outline with all of the points you want to discuss, as well as any vocab you want to make sure you remember when you start talking.
Hopefully, this guide has proved helpful, and you will be able to study well and knock that exam out of the park!

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