The following activity can be used as a year-end review for the open essay (also known as the free response essay or essay three) for the AP Literature and Composition™ exam. Though it can also be used at any time during the course, I’ve found it most effective to use as test preparation review once the students know and understand how to interpret the AP™ scoring rubrics readily accessible on the College Board™ exam resources link.
This file includes (1) self-created open essay prompt, (9) self-created typed essay samples on Shakespeare’s Hamlet, (1) student worksheet to be able to match each essay with a unique 1-9 AP™ score, (1) answer key, and a lesson timeline and directions on accessing the online rubric. Each group is given the same open essay prompt, a scoring rubric available on AP™ Central, and one set of nine essays, all matching one score point from the rubric. (For example, one essay represents a score of one, another represents a score of two, etc. up through the score of nine.) Groups are then responsible for reading each sample and together deciding which score point it represents, based on the AP™ scoring rubric. Groups complete the worksheet, indicating which sample matches each score, and most importantly, explaining why (using language from the rubric). The first group that correctly matches (and explains!) all nine samples is award homework passes, candy, etc. We then discuss, as a class, the specifics of each essay and matching score point to highlight the nuances and answers of each point.
*I use Shakespeare’s Hamlet as the topic of these open essay responses, but even if students have not read Hamlet, they are still able to highlight the writing style and plot points necessary to demonstrate the analysis expected of the open essay that match each rubric score point.*
This skill is commonly practiced as an Advanced Placement™
English strategy or with pre-AP™ students practicing literary analysis techniques.