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Should I Self-Study for AP Spanish Language?

4 min readoctober 1, 2021

sander-o

Sander Owens


AP Spanish Language 🇪🇸

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You're probably having doubts about self-studying the AP Spanish Language course because you don't know how difficult it is and if it's even worth taking. Hopefully, this guide will provide you with all of the information necessary to make your decision.

Pros and Cons of Self-Studying

Pros 👍

  • College Credit: This exam could get you potential college credit, so be sure to check out if you could satisfy a general education requirement with your AP Spanish exam.
  • More Efficient for Native Speakers: If you are a native speaker, especially if you have had some experience with Spanish in an academic setting, it might be more worth your time to self-study the course. Because the cultural comparison does not require any knowledge about a specific culture, you may be able to use your pre-existing knowledge to perform well on that section.
  • Self-Schedule: If you feel like the AP Spanish Language course at your school moves too quickly or too slowly, you can move at the pace that moves best for you, especially if your school does not offer AP Spanish.

Cons 👎

  • Less Spoken Interaction: If you are self-studying, you probably won't have a class to speak Spanish with, so you might want to find a native speaker or another fluent speaker with whom to practice your speaking and conversation.
  • Time-Consuming: You probably will feel lost and confused at some point, and that is OK! But just know that it will be time-consuming and energy-consuming, so make sure you are prepared and manage your time wisely!

The Exam 📜

If you are looking for more information about the exam, the Course and Exam Description is a great place to start. It contains an overview of the course, including the themes and skills you should know to meet all of the requirements for a good score on the exam.

Exam Overview 🖇️

Here is a brief overview of the sections of the AP Spanish Language and Culture exam:
  • Print-Only Multiple Choice Questions—30 questions in 40 minutes, worth 23% overall
  • Print and Audio Multiple Choice Questions—35 questions in 55 minutes, worth 27% overall
  • Email Reply—15 minutes, worth 12.5% overall
  • Argumentative Essay—55 minutes, worth 12.5% overall
  • Conversation and Cultural Comparison—18 minutes, worth 25% overall
As you can see, some parts, such as the speaking portions, are worth more on the exam, so you might want to pay extra special attention to those.
However, even though the multiple-choice is worth half of your exam score, you can master this section by following a few tips—check out our AP Spanish Multiple Choice guide for more info on that <<TK>>.

Study Schedule/Organization 📆

One of the best ways to stay on track while self-studying an AP course is to create a schedule. In terms of Spanish, the best way to create a schedule is to split your course material into chunks, then divide the time you have until you would like to be ready for the exam by the number of chunks you have.
https://firebasestorage.googleapis.com/v0/b/fiveable-92889.appspot.com/o/images%2F-pr4Sq1P217Gs.png?alt=media&token=9ecd844a-fe71-4b1a-a00a-7430e5120a12

Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons. Traditional learning doesn't really work for you? Don't worry — you can learn AP Spanish in many different ways!

Ways to Learn 🤔

Because you are self-studying, you get the advantage of learning however you want. Here are some possible ways that you could self-study Spanish:
Don't be afraid to try a bunch of these out, especially if they are free, to see what works best for you. Because you don't have to worry about grades or your GPA, do what truly makes you learn best!
  • Textbook: If your school offers Spanish, you can find out what textbook that class is using and try it. You can look at our guide to AP Spanish Textbooks and Prep Books (coming soon) and choose one of those.
  • Prep Books: Again referring to our guide, you can use a prep book to help prepare for the exam by using its test prep materials.

Taking the Test ✍️

Broadly speaking, taking the test will fall into one of two categories: either your school offers the exam or it doesn't. If your school offers the exam, speak with your counselor, and see how you can register for the exam without being in the class.
If you cannot take the AP Spanish exam at your school, contact nearby schools and contact them to see if you can the exam there.
Don't worry if it seems overwhelming at first! Just take the class one step at a time, and you will soon be on a road to success! You got this 🎉
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