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40-Minute Practice AP Exam

Question-Based Essay on a Text of your Choice



Things to keep in mind:

#1  Make sure you answer the question… ALL parts of the question!

#2  Be detailed!  The more specifically you can discuss the text you’re analyzing (i.e., evidence AND explanations!), the stronger your essay will be.

#3 Stay focused and organized.

#4  Build in time to outline and proofread!


DUE: FRIDAY, APRIL 25 IN CLASS  (no 4:00 pm deadline on this!)


Choose ONE of the following questions to answer on ONE novel or play of your choice.

(Note:  On the real AP exam you will not get a choice like this.  You will only get one question.)





The eighteenth-century British novelist Laurence Sterne wrote, “No body, but he who has felt it, can conceive what a plaguing thing it is to have a man’s mind torn asunder by two projects of equal strength, both obstinately pulling in a contrary direction at the same time.”

From a novel or play choose a character (not necessarily the protagonist) whose mind is pulled in conflicting directions by two compelling desires, ambitions, obligations, or influences.  Then, in a well-organized essay, identify each of the two conflicting forces and explain how this conflict within one character illuminates the meaning of the work as a whole.





Morally ambiguous character—characters whose behavior discourages readers from identifying them as purely evil or purely good—are at the heart of many works of literature.  Choose a novel or play in which a morally ambiguous character plays a pivotal role.  Then write an essay in which you explain how the character can be viewed as morally ambiguous and why his or her moral ambiguity is significant to the work as a whole.  Avoid mere plot summary.





Virginia Woolf once wrote, “Examine for a moment an ordinary mind on an ordinary day.”  This personal philosophy of Woolf’s revolutionized the novel as we know it in the early 1900’s.  Since then, novelists and playwrights have developed their works more and more to reveal the “minds” of their characters.

Choose a novel or play in which the mind of a character is revealed.  Discuss how the author chose to reveal the character’s mind and how the process of revelation and the revealing itself is significant to the work as a whole.