AP Tips for Success

Tips for Success on the AP Spanish Exam

The AP Spanish Language and Culture exam is a 3-4 hour skill-based exam testing your abilities and proficiency in Spanish. It is not a knowledge-based exam like most other AP exams. You are “on stage” in Spanish for over 3 hours integrating all four of your skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing.


The first tip is to know what you are up against by familiarizing yourself with the AP Spanish Language Exam format. You can find it on the College Board Website. The exam requires critical, integrated expression in Spanish which will require you to focus for 3+ hours. In this time you will read, write, listen and record a simulated conversation and an improvised two -minute formal oral presentation. You must show analysis, synthesis and evaluation of the selections to receive a 4 or 5.


It will require self-discipline and dedication on your part as this class will be treated and taught as if it were a college course. Some other things you can do in the summer and throughout the year:

1. Pick up a Spanish language newspaper or magazine when you see one. You can often find People en Español or Selecciones (the Spanish version of Reader’s Digest). Also, notice Spanish on packaging and signs in the stores you frequent. See if you can guess what they mean or look them up when you get home. Notice the Spanish that is already all around you!

2. Visit and read online Spanish language newspapers such as bbcmundo.com, elpais.com, 20minutos.es or clarin.com. Read about things that interest you.

3. Watch Univisión or other Spanish programming on TV. News programs like “Primer impacto” or “Noticiero” are especially useful. Also, watch DVDs in Spanish or actual Spanish movies. Don’t try to understand every word at first. You will get better.

4. Listen to Spanish music on the internet or listen to podcasts in Spanish. There are numerous podcasts for learning and some designed for entertainment. Notesinspanish.com is a good source for entertainment and discussion of current topics.

5. Seek out “live” experiences with Spanish in your community. Keep your eyes open for cultural events or local service organizations that appeal to Spanish speakers and get involved. You may also have co-workers that speak Spanish. Take advantage of them and practice!