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How to Beat the 2016 AP Chinese Practice Test: Follow This Guide with Sample Answers 

Are you considering taking the AP Chinese Language and Culture Exam?

The Chinese AP Exam is a great way to earn college credit, and it provides a good benchmark of your Chinese language abilities.

The exam tests all areas of your Chinese language skillsreading, writing, speaking and pronunciation—as well as basic knowledge of Chinese culture.

But there’s no need for test-taking jitters!

Here we’ll provide an awesome test-taking guide for the 2016 Chinese AP practice test, which will help you get prepared with ease.

How to Beat the 2016 AP Chinese Practice Test

The 2016 AP Chinese practice test is the most recent practice test available. All tests, including tests dating back to 2007, are available at this link.

Sample test questions by testing year are only given for Section II of the exam, which include the Free Response and Speaking Prompts that mainly test Chinese writing and speaking.

Sample test questions and answers for Section I, the Multiple Choice section, can be found here at this link (pages 15-21). These questions are general practice questions, and aren’t from a specific test year.

But since Section II is the more difficult section, and it’s difficult to find sample answers, so it will be greatly beneficial to take a closer look at this section. In this article, we’ll be delving into sample answers and test-taking strategies for Section II.

Ready? We’ll now jump into Section II of the 2016 AP Chinese practice test, walking you through its Free Response and Speaking Prompts subsections. Follow along using the PDF link to the exam, found here.

A. The Free Response Study Guide 

Presentational Writing: Story Narration

If you’re following along with the 2016 AP Chinese practice test (link above), you’ll see that page 4 gives a 4-part storyboard about a girl and her dad finding a lost dog.

The instructions say that you should narrate the story as if you were telling it to a friend. Therefore, it would be appropriate to use first person point of view.

Let’s look at the below sample response before delving into some tips and strategies for this section. This sample response is written from the point of view of the girl’s dad.

For your reference, the numbered sentences correspond to the storyboard picture numbers (although you don’t need to include numbers in your actual response).

Sample Response:

1.

昨天我跟我女儿去买菜。回家的时候,我们看到树上有个寻狗启示。

zúo tiān wǒ gēn wǒ nǚ er qù mǎi cài。húi jiā de shí hòu,wǒ mén kàn dào shù shàng yǒu gè xún gǒu qǐ shì。

Yesterday, I went grocery shopping with my daughter. On the way home, we saw a “missing dog” notice on a tree.

2.

在开车回家的路上, 我们看到这只狗在路边。

zài kāi chē húi jiā de lù shàng, wǒ mén kàn dào zhè zhǐ gǒu zài lù biān。

While driving back, we saw the same dog on the roadside.

3.

我们把车停下以后,找到了狗项圈上的电话。我们打电话以后,找到了狗的主人。

wǒ mén bǎ chē tíng xià yǐ hòu, zhǎo dào le gǒu xiàng quān shàng de diàn huà。 wǒ mén dǎ diàn huà yǐ hòu, zhǎo dào le gǒu de zhǔ rén。

After stopping the car, we found a phone number on the dog’s collar. We called the number, and reached the owner.

4.

我们把狗送回主人家。主人的儿子看到狗之后很高兴。

wǒ mén bǎ gǒu sòng húi zhǔ rén jiā。 zhǔ rén de er zǐ kàn dào gǒu zhī hòu hěn gāo xìng。

We brought the dog back to its owner’s home. When the owner’s son saw the dog, he was very happy.

Strategies for This Section:

  • Even though you’re pretending to tell a story in conversation, as much as possible, demonstrate proper grammar and sentence structure.
  • Study the pictures carefully to include as much accurate detail as you can, such as characters involved and actions completed.
  • Try to be economic in your words, choosing the most precise words instead of using many words to describe the same thing. This demonstrates your language ability. For example, in the above response, we used 寻狗启示 (xún gǒu qǐ shì – a “missing dog” notice) and 狗项圈 (gǒu xiàng quān – dog collar).
  • Check that your story flows well and makes sense. Consider reading your story from the point of view of someone who didn’t see the pictures.

Interpersonal Writing: Email Response

Page 5 presents an email that you must read and write a response to. Let’s look at the email and a sample response, before discussing some tips and strategies.

For your study reference, here’s the email with pinyin and English translation, followed by a sample response in reply.

Question:

今年夏天我想去打工赚点钱。上个星期,我申请了日新百货商店的暑期工作。昨天收到了他们的电邮, 让我周末去面试。你以前在那儿打过工,面试的时候, 他们问了什么样的问题? 除了准备回答面试的问题以外,我还应该注意些什么,为什么?希望恨快收到你的回信。

Pinyin:

jīn nián xià tiān wǒ xiǎng qù dǎ gōng zhuàn diǎn qián。 shàng gè xīng qī, wǒ shēn qǐng le rì xīn bǎi hùo shāng diàn de shǔ qī gōng zùo。 zúo tiān shōu dào le tā mén de diàn yóu, ràng wǒ zhōu mò qù miàn shì。 nǐ yǐ qián zài nà er dǎ gùo gōng, miàn shì de shí hòu, tā mén wèn le shén me yàng de wèn tí? chú le zhǔn bèi húi dá miàn shì de wèn tí yǐ wài, wǒ hái yīng gāi zhù yì xiē shén me, wèi shén me? xī wàng hèn kuài shōu dào nǐ de húi xìn。

English Translation:

This summer, I want to work and earn some money. Last week, I applied for a summer job at Ri Xin department store. Yesterday, I received an email from them, asking me for an interview this weekend. You worked there before. During the interview, what kind of questions did they ask? Apart from preparing answers for interview questions, what else should I be aware of, and why? Hope to hear from you soon.

Sample Response:

我以前面试的时候,商店经理问我什么时候可以上班,以前有什么工作经验,我的优点和缺点,还有我为什么可以胜任这份工作。我建议着装正式, 这样可以给人精练的感觉。我还建议谈吐清晰,百货商店的工作很注重沟通。

wǒ yǐ qián miàn shì de shí hòu, shāng diàn jīng lǐ wèn wǒ shem me shí hòu kě yǐ shàng bān, yǐ qián yǒu shem me gōng zùo jīng yàn, wǒ de yōu diǎn hé quē diǎn, hái yǒu wǒ wèi shēng me kě yǐ shèng rèn zhè fèn gōng zùo. wǒ jiàn yì zhuó zhuāng zhèng shì, zhè yàng kě yǐ gěi rén jīng liàn de gǎn jué. wǒ hái jiàn yì tán tǔ qīng xī,bǎi hùo shāng diàn de gōng zùo hěn zhù zhòng gōu tōng. 

When I went for the interview, the store manager asked me about my availability for work, my past work experience, my strengths and weaknesses, and my qualifications for the position. I recommend dressing formally, as this can give a sophisticated impression. I also recommend speaking clearly, because department store jobs emphasize good communication.

Strategies for This Section:

  • Even though this is a casual email reply, proper grammar and sentence structure are important.
  • Where possible, use technical vocabulary that demonstrates the extent of your language knowledge. For example, here we used 经理 (jīng lǐ – manager) and 谈吐清晰 (tán tǔ qīng xī – clear speech).
  • Write the most important parts of your answer first (in this case, the interview questions and strategies for your friend). Then, if you have time, go back and flesh out your email with greetings, etc.
  • Since the given email is terse and doesn’t include much small talk, it’s appropriate to mirror that style. It’s fine too if you want to write a fuller email, but remember that the examiner will be looking first for answers to the question.

B. The Speaking Prompts Study Guide

Interpersonal Speaking: Conversation

In this section, you’ll hear someone speaking to you, and you’ll speak in response during certain pauses. Pages 10-11 give a transcript of this conversation. In the real test, however, you won’t see any transcript; you’ll only hear the audio.

To listen to the audio version of this section, go to this link and click Conversation.

For your learning reference, here is the transcript of the conversation, along with pinyin and English translation, followed by a sample response:

Questions:

1.

你的汉语说得真好!你是怎么学的?

nǐ de hàn yǔ shūo dé zhēn hǎo! nǐ shì zěn me xué de?

Your Chinese is excellent! Where did you learn it?

2.

现在学中文的外国人越来越多,这是为什么呢?

xiàn zài xué zhōng wén de wài gúo rén yuè lái yuè dūo, zhè shì wèi shén me ne?

There are more and more foreigners studying Chinese, why is that?

3.

你这次来中国除了参观故官, 还打算做什么?

nǐ zhè cì lái zhōng gúo chú le cān guān gù guān, hái dǎ suàn zùo shén me?

During your visit to China, other than visiting the Forbidden City, what else are you planning to do?

4.

你对北京的印象怎么样?

nǐ dùi běi jīng de yìn xiàng zěn me yàng?

What are your impressions of Beijing?

5.

你觉得北京跟你居住的城市有什么不同?

nǐ jué dé běi jīng gēn nǐ jū zhù de chéng shì yǒu shén me bù tóng?

How do you find Beijing different from the city you live in?

6.

如果我有机会去你的国家旅行, 我应该到什么地方去玩儿?为什么?

rú gǔo wǒ yǒu jī hùi qù nǐ de gúo jiā lǚ xíng, wǒ yīng gāi dào shén me dì fāng qù wán er? wèi shén me?

If I get a chance to travel to your country, what places do you think I should visit?

Sample Response:

1.

谢谢,我去汉语学校学的。

xiè xiè, wǒ qù hàn yǔ xué xiào xué de.

Thanks, I studied at a Chinese language school.

2.

世界各地都有中国人。 学好中文会方便我沟通。

shì jiè gè dì dōu yǒu zhōng gúo rén. xué hǎo zhōng wén hùi fāng biàn wǒ gōu tōng.

There are Chinese people worldwide. Studying Chinese enables me to communicate better.

3.

我还打算享受中国的美食。

wǒ hái dǎ suàn xiǎng shòu zhōng gúo de měi shí.

I also plan to enjoy China’s delicious cuisine.

4.

北京很大,很繁华。人也很热情。

běi jīng hěn dà, hěn fán huá. rén yě hěn rè qíng.

Beijing is huge and bustling. Also, the people are friendly.

5.

北京的居民真的很多。

běi jīng de jū mín zhēn de hěn dūo.

Beijing is much more crowded.

6.

落基山脉的班夫国家公园是很好的选择。

lùo jī shān mài de bān fū gúo jiā gōng yuán shì hěn hǎo de xuǎn zé.

Banff National Park in the Rocky Mountains is a great choice.

Strategies for This Section:

  • Remember that you can make up any answer, so they don’t necessarily need to be answers that are true of you or your real opinions.
  • Choose answers that highlight vocabulary you know and words that best demonstrate your speaking ability.
  • For questions that ask about places, make sure you know and use Chinese names, even if you’re referencing a Western location. (e.g. Banff National Park = 班夫国家公园 bān fū gúo jiā gōng yuán).
  • Don’t be pressured by the beep tone. If you need time to come up with an answer, stall by saying something polite like, “谢谢” (xiè xiè  thank you) or “你说得对” (nǐ shūo dé dùi – you’re right).
  • You can also stall by starting off with a general point, such as “我对北京的印象很多…” (wǒ dùi běi jīng de yìn xiàng hěn dūo… – “I have many impressions about Beijing…”) before giving a more specific answer.
  • Remember to answer all parts of the question; for example, one question had a “why?” following.
  • Speak slowly, so that you have time to think and give a clear answer.

Presentational Speaking: Cultural Presentation

Finally, we reach the last part of the Chinese AP exam, your speech presentation.

Page 14 gives instructions for speaking a 2-minute presentation on one Chinese myth or legend of your choice. There are several examples of stories you could use: “Cowherd and Weaver Girl,” “Story of Nian,” “Butterfly Lovers” or “Hua Mulan.”

You’ll have 4 minutes to prepare your speech.

Note that you must not only describe the myth but also explain its significance! Here’s a short sample speech on “Hua Mulan” for your study reference.

Sample Response: 

花木兰是很勇敢的女性。 她代替年长的父亲出兵打仗。 这证明了她的孝心。为了出兵打仗,花木兰必须隐瞒自己的身份,把自己装扮成男生。打仗时,花木兰很勇敢。 其他士兵也很钦佩她。 花木兰证明了女性也可以通过努力做到和男人一样成功。从古代到现在,花木兰始终是中国文化中的一个注明人物。

Pinyin:

huā mù lán shì hěn yǒng gǎn de nǚ xìng。 tā dài tì nián zhǎng de fù qīn chū bīng dǎ zhàng。 zhè zhèng míng le tā de xiào xīn。 wèi le chū bīng dǎ zhàng, huā mù lán bì xū yǐn mán zì jǐ de shēn fèn, bǎ zì jǐ zhuāng bàn chéng nán shēng。 dǎ zhàng shí, huā mù lán hěn yǒng gǎn。 qí tā shì bīng yě hěn qīn pèi tā。 huā mù lán zhèng míng le(liǎo) nǚ xìng yě kě yǐ tōng gùo nǔ lì zùo dào hé nán rén yī yàng chéng gōng。 cóng gǔ dài dào xiàn zài, huā mù lán shǐ zhōng shì zhōng gúo wén huà zhōng de yī gè zhù míng rén wù。

English Translation:

Hua Mulan was a brave woman. She joined the army and went to war in place of her father. This demonstrated her filial piety. In order to fight in the army, she had to conceal her identity and disguise herself as a man. In battle, Hua Mulan was very brave. Even other soldiers respected her. Hua Mulan showed that, through hard work, women could do equally great acts as men. From ancient times until now, Hua Mulan remains a prominent figure in Chinese culture.

Strategies for This Section:

  • Use your 4 minutes of preparation time well, writing down essential points and a general outline.
  • First plan the descriptive summary of your chosen legend. Then plan how you’ll explain the significance.
  • Write down important keywords and technical vocabulary, so you won’t hesitate to recall them.
  • If you have enough time, write out your speech fully.
  • Speak slowly, so that you have time to think and give a clear answer.

More Great Strategies for the AP Chinese Exam

Although this article focuses on the 2016 Chinese AP practice exam, there are many commonalities between exams from past years.

The first Free Response written section is a storyboard in which you’ll narrate the events. The second Free Response section is an email requesting your advice. The first Speaking prompt is a conversation, usually requiring your opinions and referencing your experiences, and the final Speaking prompt is related to Chinese culture. This is true of all exams, and there are no plans for this to change in the near future.

To prepare better for any AP Chinese Exam, immerse yourself in more Chinese language content. Build a habit of listening to Chinese radio, or viewing Chinese programming on TV and online. Expand your vocabulary and practice basic writing skills such as replying an email or telling a simple story.

Take up opportunities to converse with Chinese speakers, and enjoy your language learning process!

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