Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Grand Finale E

This is finally the end. I've taken the AP test, and now I'm just waiting for the results. Overall, I think I did pretty well because of the effort Ms. McMahon put in to prepare us for it. I actually survived through this year. Because of Ms. McMahon, I pay more attention to news around the world. Before, I didn't really care. I didn't really know what was going on in the world unless it was related to sports. I could now look at things very differently. Everything could be interpreted in forty different ways.

This class was one of the most fun classes that I have been a part of. We all joked around and made fun of each other, but it was more of a family feel to it. Ms. McMahon brought all of us closer and treated us like we were family.

I'm so glad I didn't drop out at the beginning of the year. I've learned so much from this class and felt more than ready for the AP exam. I had never felt more ready for anything in my life. I won't forget all of the fun times we had like when Mike said "Wow" when Ms. McMahon showed us a picture of her daughter or when Mike said "I'm not a big fan of annotating" and got ripped apart by Ms. McMahon for saying that. Thank you for preparing us for the exam and life so well, Ms. McMahon.

Almost There C,D,E

Going into this class, Ms. McMahon told us that we had to be able to write three total essays, each one taking 40-45 minutes each. We had already done rhetorical analysis and argument. The one that was left was a synthesis essay. At first, I had no idea what a synthesis was. Once Ms. McMahon showed us examples of them, I realized it was essentially the same as an AP US History DBQ. Thank god, it didn't require any history though.

I hated writing synthesis papers. They required so much time reading the documents and finding out how to group them. However, I did the best on them. I think it's because everything is given to me. I didn't have to make things up in my head as I went. They gave me all of the information I needed in a way. I ended up getting my first 8 on a synthesis paper.

As you can see I stopped fluffing up my essays. I was clear and concise on my position. I was proud of myself. I thought my first 8 would be on an argument piece, but hey, I'm not complaining. I felt as if I was ready for the AP exam. I could write each essay in 40-45 minutes, and I always did well on the multiple choice. I was ready to get at least a 4 on the exam.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Next Chapter B,D,E

The second essay we had to learn how to write was an argument piece. I liked the argument pieces. They were generally the easiest type for me. The only hard part was thinking of examples from the top of your head and finish writing the essay in 40 minutes. You couldn't spend 20 minutes to think about examples. It was a pain. One topics of the argumentative essay was on competition. I knew a lot about competition through sports and other activities. I was always a competitive guy.  I wrote about the first thing that came to my head: Michael Jordan and Tom Brady. I wrote as much as I could in 40 minutes. I was proud of myself. I felt as if I put everything I could into that essay. I ended up getting a 6, and I was happy about it. For a first try, I thought that it was a good starting point. There was always three ways to go with an argument essay: for, against, or qualify. It depended on how you stood on the matter. I felt as if this was my strongest paragraph because it's what I knew best.

Every year, we also do a persuasive essay. There are 25 or so topics to choose from and of course, I chose the one having to do with sports. I picked the topic that argued if the NFL shows bias against the Patriots. I was for that argument. I researched a lot on the topic and went to town. I wrote about the unfair treatment the Patriots received regarding the Deflategate Scandal and how other teams did the same thing but received no punishment at all. However, I got a 2.75 out of 4. I focused on just the facts. I didn't really add in my opinion. I focused solely on the facts. I didn't focus on the views of other people. In other words, I didn't look at the argument from all angles. I only looked at it from my side. Ray wrote 16 pages compared to my 4 pages, but I got a better grade. It shows length doesn't matter. It's the content. Not great I know but if you read it you'll understand why.

All of the argument pieces we wrote helped me form an opinion for myself instead of just joining onto others. I could think for myself. I could finally think of examples from current times from the top of my head after training my brain for the AP Exam. Arguments were the easiest type of essay for me. I could finally argue on something that wasn't related to sports. I could join in during arguments and debates in my family. The last essay we had was a synthesis essay.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The Horrendous Start A,D,E

On the day of our first test in the class, I thought I was ready. I felt like I knew and understood the rhetorical devices enough to get an A. Never have I been so wrong. A couple of minutes into the test, my mind went blank. I knew what the definitions were, but I couldn't remember the word associated with them. Needless to say, I did terrible. It dropped my grade massively. The highest grade in the class was a 75. That test woke me up. I realized I had to work harder so I started studying the terms for longer periods of time.
The only thing that helped my grade were the  rhetorical analyses.

Our first rhetorical analysis was on the Santa Ana Winds. This was the first rhetorical analysis I had ever written. Of course it ended up in the middle. I was surprised it was an even lower grade. It was terrible. I had bad word choice, I didn't stay in the right tense, and I misinterpreted a lot. Yeah it was pretty bad.


I had no idea how to write a rhetorical analysis. I looked at the examples and tried to mirror them. I needed to learn how to write the piece by myself. I couldn't mirror another person's writing style. After the Santa Ana piece, I consistently stayed around a 6 or 7. A 7 was equivalent to an A-. I felt good about it. It was an improvement, even if it was a small one. I worked harder on the next rhetorical analyses we did, and I kept getting a 6 or a 7. The hardest part was writing the essays in only 40-45 minutes. At first, it would take me 60-65 minutes to write these essays, but after all of the drilling of technique into our heads, I could easily get it done in 40-45 minutes. Sometimes I could get it done in even less time so I could have extra time to review what I wrote.

Out of all of the essays, I believed rhetorical analyses were the hardest. It was just looking for certain devices. There was no way you could add in other information. There was nothing to argue or add to. It was just writing what the author used.

Now, I can't help but analyze everything and see what devices the author uses. I analyze commercials, campaign speeches, etc. It has been drilled in my head, and I can't stop thinking about it. That's probably what helped me during the test. The amount of preparation we had made writing a second nature to me.

The Beginning

At the beginning of the year, I was crapping my pants going into AP Language and Composition. I had heard from friends that it was one of the hardest classes I would ever have to take. I thought about dropping out. They were right. It was one of the hardest classes I would take. The class required so much time and effort to do a simple assignment. It required a lot of thought into each homework assignment. On the first day of the class, I met Ms. McMahon, and I was terrified. She threw so much work at us from day one. I thought I was going to die. I'm glad I stuck with the course though. I always liked a challenge and this proved to be one of the biggest ones for me. Second period every day, AP Lang would wake me up after having a study first thing in the morning. It got my mind moving for the rest of the day, but it also drained it. Come sixth period, I couldn't think straight and I almost fell asleep on multiple occasions. However, it was well worth it. I learned life lessons in this class. Also, I can't watch or read anything without thinking about the rhetorical devices that were used in it.
About halfway through the year, I didn't feel like I was overwhelmed with work. I had become used to the amount of time and effort that I had to put into each assignment. I learned how to manage my time more efficiently. I could right essays in 45-50 minutes and could annotate a piece in 5-10 minutes. The workload became second nature to me. Ms. McMahon drilled the work into us and made us the hardest workers we could be.