Writing: HELP!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Okay next year I'm taking THREE AP classes, not a lot compared to other people but to moi 3 APs= No Life.

Aside from signing my life off my life to an array of textbooks, and other mundane reading material what concerns me is AP Language & Composition.

From what heard this class requires you to write a essay practically every other day, literally.

No big right? Yeah, think again because guys I am the worst essayist in the existence of mankind. Third graders could write more effective essays then I can, actually scratch that, a neantherdal could most probably write better, with a few movements of their pens on paper. (Try to ignore how, very historically inaccurate that last statement is.) What I'm getting at is, aside from how much I suck at World History, is that me and writing are like water and oil, we do not mix.

I do not enjoy writing, I do not enjoy planning stupid essays, I do not enjoy revising essays and I sure as hell ain't any good at it. Yet here I am sitting on my bed already enrolled in an AP course in which I'm most likely guaranteed to fail.

Any logic person would ask, "Why, oh why would you sign up for this class?"

And here's my logistics for this act of stupidity.

Like I have mentioned a gazillion times I am not good in any manner or degree of writing an essay. That is bad. What also is bad is admission to a college requires one emaculate transcript, one hell of a extracurricular activities, and one kick ass ESSAY (oh no that word again). And this is what my brain thought:

  • Transcript- is irrevocably scared or ....about to be
  • Extracurricular activity- most probably the same as the kid sitting behind you in class second period, nothing extraordinary.
  • Essay- . . . . . . . (I will not tell you something you already know)

So here was my reasoning I'm not going to be turning into Einstein overnight and I don't think NASA will allow sixteen year old girl to go on a space mission with them anytime soon. So technically, the only thing I have to resort to is what I am horrible at most- writing. And so I signed up for AP Lang & Comp signed the contract saying I will not drop the class and if I do I get an automatic fail.

So I need to write, write, write and aside from reading I will be writing, writing, writing. Not only do I want to do well in the class I also want to prove my friend who gave me this look o_0 when I told her I will be in the meeting Tuesday for AP Language and Composition. She bluntly told me that I sucked writing essays, thanks biyatch love ya to.

So, I got June, July, and August to become a somewhat decent essayist. I am so ready for the summer assignment.

Not sure how many will read/skim this post in its entirety but I would LOVE you if you can give me some ideas, pointers, suggestions in how I can become a better writer. And please let me know if you took or taking the course next year or if someone you know took the course.


Simply_Megan said...

I took Language and Comp this year and I didn't think it was too too bad. Obviously every teacher/school is different, and I feel like mine was on the lenient side, but whatever. We didn't write essays every day, and half the year was spent learning rhetorical strategies and taking practice multiple choice exams. Unfortunately the other half of the year was writing essays.

An important thing to remember is to be clear and consise (two favorite words of my teacher). Just explain yourself thoroughly, but don't confuse the reader. Be organized, make sure you answer all of the question, things like that are good to keep in mind. I could sit here for hours and type up pages of things you can do, but I'm sure your teacher will help you a lot. Also, if you decide to take the AP exam, get one of those books that tells you all about the test. I recommend The Princeton Review.

If you have any questions at all, even if it's sometime next year, feel free to email me! Hope that helped.

TruBlu93 said...

I am not much of an essaylist either but here's usually what I do when I have to write one.
-i always use the 5paragraph format. openning, body, and closing
-I never write in order. Like i just around form the first to the third to the second to the last to the fourth paragraph and so on.
-I revise, revise, revise. I usually write like two copies before my final one.
-Use a lot of big words. I usually have word help me with that.
-i get my friends to read my papers also, see it they have any pointers.

But other than that, I think you'll do just fine. Plus, this blog will give you extra writing practice and such. hope i helped. =)

MssJos said...

As an English teacher of *gasp* AP Composition - (we drop the Language part of the title at my school) I think you will be just fine. From this post alone I can tell that you have a great voice and a talent for getting your point across. A few strategies you might try over the summer are: 1) start small, essays can be intimidating--work on writing a really great paragraph, do an outline for this paragraph, a rough draft (or 2) and a final draft in which you say exactly what you want to as clearly and concisely as possible-when that's done work on a small essay, like 3 paragraphs repeating this process and work your way up to the page/word requirement of your school. 2) Practice writing about things you care about, even if they are not academic at all and 3) Look at some sample essays (from your teacher and/or other classmates or even online) and try to evaluate them critically and find the strengths and weaknesses of these essays then compare and contrast with some of your own.

I have some sample exercises I use with my students that I would be happy to send you, also, please feel free to send me any drafts for review or advice. You will be fine, I think it's admirable that you are taking on such a challenging schedule and making plans to prepare yourself.

Feel free to e-mail anytime: mssjos(at)gmail(dot)com

Heather Zundel said...

I took this class. My teacher was amazing (besides being one of my favorite teachers, she had a 94% pass rate on the AP tests for her students).

One thing she did that was really helpful, I think, was that every day, the first thing in class, she had us do a ten minute free-write. Like literally, we were not allowed to "think" about what we were writing, just spew out words on a page. And we were NOT. ALLOWED. TO. STOP. That was key. Because as the year went on, we went from half a page, to a full page, and near the end to almost two full pages in ten minutes. Did it always make sense? Sometimes. Did our hands hurt? Like nothing else. But our words became more varied, more refined and we learned to think fast (key when it comes to the actual AP test).

Another thing I would suggest is to read the dictionary. Hear me out. I'm weird, but I actually like it. No, please don't read it from beginning to end. Just open to a random page and skim to a word you don't recognize. Then read it. Often, you're like "really? I didn't know we had a word for that." And I started to find some of those "smart people" words slipped into my essays. Make it fun. Do it until it's not fun anymore, then come back later. Just make that a really simple game.

Have some good essay "fall back words" - you know, words that make it sound like you're way smart for using them. "Didactic" was a big-time favorite of mine in my essays.

Oh, and read a lot, of course. But you already have that covered, I think :)

james said...

Thanks a lot for a bunch of good tips. I look forward to reading more on the topic in the future. Keep up the good work! This blog is going to be great resource. Love reading it.
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