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4 Cracking the System: Multiple-Choice Questions
You have to answer the questions after you've finished reading the passage.
If you've paid attention so far, you already know you're going to answer all the questions, taking your best guess when you're not sure of yourself.
You should know by now that we think you should approach the test efficiently, making the best use of your time in order to get the best possible score.
There are general comprehension questions about the passage.
The questions don't send you back to a specific place in the passage.
Some examples of general comprehension questions can be found here.
The passage is mostly concerned with...
The author feels his hometown is...
You are usually sent back to specific places in the passage by detail questions.
They tell you where to look and what to look for.
There are some examples of detail questions.
Factual knowledge questions ask about the English language and how it is written.
Sometimes factual knowledge questions ask for a cultural fact related to the passage.
The phrase "This loaf's big" is used as a metaphor.
"I believe my tragedy is worthy of performance at the Globe," the playwright character says in the third verse.
An example of a question that tests your knowledge of a cultural fact is the last question.
The Globe Theatre is associated with Shakespeare's name due to the fact that many of his plays were premiere there.
This is a cultural fact that high school students are expected to know.
There are very few questions about cultural facts on the test, and often none at all.
There are a number of questions on basic grammar.
The multiple-choice section doesn't have a lot of grammar questions, so it's not a big deal.
The samples we give you should give you a good idea of what the questions are like.
We don't recommend you spend a lot of time studying the subject because there are so few questions.
You would be better off working on timed essays or reading difficult poetry.
Sam threw the orange.
It isn't poetry, but this sentence clearly shows the basic relationships you need to concern yourself with on the AP Exam.
The subject is Sam.
The object is the orange.
The indirect object is Irene.
An orange is the direct object in this sentence.
The indirect object is the orange.
The indirect object gets the direct object.
The concept is easy to understand.
The phrase and clause are two more elements that you should understand.
A model sentence will help you keep clear on their definitions.
Sam threw the orange to the person who tried to catch it.
The subject, verbs, direct object, and indirect object all remain the same as the heart of the sentence is still Sam throwing the orange to Irene.
There is a phrase at the beginning of the sentence and a dependent clause at the end.
Sam and who tried to catch it are changed by feeling generous and who tried to catch it is changed by a clause.
There is a subject and a verbs in the clause.
A phrase doesn't have a subject and a verbs.
A clause is close to being a sentence of its own because it has both a subject and a verbs in it.
Adding a question mark at the end of the dependent clause could turn it into a complete sentence.
The hallmark of a phrase is its lack of a subject.
Phrases can't stand on their own.
Sam was feeling generous, but he needed the addition of a subject and a verbs in order to become the sentence.
There is another clause besides the dependent clause in our model sentence.
Sam threw the orange to Irene.
It must be a clause because it has both a subject and a verbs.
It's an independent clause because it doesn't need any changes to be a complete sentence.
This stuff is a piece of cake, so you think you're going to answer all the questions correctly on the test.
The questions aren't easy to answer.
The reason we don't think you should study much for the AP Exam is that the questions on the exam are mostly used to test reading comprehension.
The hard part is not the grammar.
The test writers like to ask questions.
If you don't get what you read the first time, you'll have a hard time answering the questions.
You can complete the questions in any order you please, but you should not do them in an old order.
The order in which you should tackle the test questions is determined by the answer to this question.
Complete the questions in the order they are given to you if you feel confident about your comprehension of the passage.
You're in good shape, don't worry about the order of the questions.
If you don't feel confident about the main idea, do the detail questions first.
The reasoning behind this method is easy to understand.
The main idea is the most important thing to get from a reading passage.
When the main idea is nailed down, you won't have to ask a lot of questions.
Knowing the main idea will help you answer a lot of the other questions.
When you don't feel confident about the main idea, you want to start with the specific questions because they give you something to focus on.
You should become more familiar with the passage as you read the lines towards the specific questions.
When you do a specific question or two, the meaning of the passage clicks for you, and you will get what's going on.
If you don't have a sense of the main idea, you shouldn't answer the general questions.
If you still don't know what the point of the passage is, give the general questions your best shot and move on.
Most of the questions should be your main idea.
This principle is called Consistency of Answers.
The main idea is the best answer to several questions as you work on a passage.
Pick an answer that agrees with the main idea when in doubt.
Pick the answers that agree with each other.
Correct answers tend to be consistent.
It's a simple idea that works well.
You can be sure that question 10's Mr. Buffalo isn't bald if you know the correct answer to question 9.
Correct answers agree with each other.
The best way to understand how to use this technique is to see it in action.
We'll discuss this technique in detail when we work on actual questions, but you'll see plenty of examples in the following chapters.
Pick an answer that agrees with the main idea of the passage.
There is no penalty for guessing the worst-case scenario.
The process of elimination is called POE.
Cross out the answers that you know are wrong is the simplest form of POE.
The Cracking the System approach to POE is more intense.
There are two ways to answer a question.
The answer to the question should be in your head from the moment you read it.
You will often see the best answer if you understand the passage and the question.
You will be slightly unsure more often.
The test writers are good at asking questions about where students are likely to have trouble in a text.
The test writers do a good job of writing appealing wrong answers.
Make sure you read the question carefully.
It is possible to understand the passage but not the question.
The more time you spend reading the question, the more questions you answer correctly.
Some questions will cause you to have doubts about the answer, even if you are a strong reader.
That's when you use a POE.
Look for wrong answers and eliminate them, that's what it means.
We used the same example from A Confederacy of Dunces.
This is a typical AP English question.
It asks for an evaluation of a passage.
This form is used for most of the questions.
The rest of the passage would help you understand the section, but there is enough here to answer the question.
POE is used if you don't spot the best answer immediately.
You can check your thinking by looking back at the explanations.
The AP English Literature and Composition Exam has no need to worry about grammar.
It's not worth much to cause perspiration.
Do it your way.
Answer the questions in order if you know the main idea.
If you're not comfortable with the main idea, answer detail and factual questions first.
Pick an answer that agrees with the main idea.
Pick the answers that agree with each other.
Use POE aggressively as needed.
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