AP Class Reviews
AP English Literature taught by Lilianna Meldrum Serbicki
by Students and Parents
AP Literature Class Review posted by Meghan Philcox on May 11 2018 at 17:54:13
I felt thoroughly prepared for the AP exam, and I was confident with the test format because Mrs. Serbicki had assigned 2 practice exams and multiple practice essays beforehand. I was much more prepared for the exam than the students from the school that I took the exam from were.
I spent around 8-10 hours a week on this course. Typically, an hour and a half each school day and two to three hours over the weekend.
I loved reading and discussing full-length novels. I felt that doing this greatly increased my literary comprehension and improved the way I approach a novel. I also felt that this increased my analytical skills, which, in turn, helped me work on my AP exam essay skills.
I have always loved literature. This class helped me to strengthen my knowledge so that I could further enjoy reading because I now recognize many nuanced aspects of books that I had not realized before this class.
I loved reading discussion questions and essays written by other students and learning the different ways my classmates analyzed a particular work/question/prompt.
Any student who is passionate about learning should excel in this class. I think even someone without a love for literature could take this class and gain a better appreciation for literature. This class is wonderfully set up so that the student determines how long they will take or how in depth they will go with their homework, so a student that is motivated and driven will greatly succeed in the long run. I will definitely be recommending this course to others.
Mrs. Serbicki was an incredible teacher for this course. She was very organized, enthusiastic, and kind. She made all of the assignments and expectations for homework clear. She was a strong motivator and was actively invested in our progress. Her live meeting discussions were very helpful. She was always prompt in responding to questions or concerns.
My Favorite Class posted by Elizabeth Hardt on May 11 2018 at 13:27:42
I just want to start out by saying that Mrs. Serbicki is an amazing teacher. This is my third year of having her as my English teacher, and she has encouraged my writing in a way that I would receive nowhere else. While her class is challenging, she has many flexible and fun assignments, and is always there if you have a question or need some help. By signing up for her class, you will get to read books across a wide range of genres. This is excellent because more often than not, you will know a few of the books on the Free Response Essay on the AP Exam.
This course more than prepared me for the AP Exam. While I definitely did not nail every question, I felt I was able to analyze each question in relation to the passage and to write my essays well.
It depends on the assignment for how many hours per day and week I spent on the course. If it was something like a vocabulary prompt, then I would spend about five minutes. MCQs would be about half an hour and essays would typically be 60 minutes to more.
One of my favorite assignments was writing a poem for an extra credit assignment. I love writing and reading poetry and had a lot of fun writing it. I also loved writing all the essays. Analysis essays can be really tricky and getting tons of practice was very helpful.
I already had a huge love for English Language and Literature, but whenever I take any kind of English course it always enhances my love for the subject.
I always love talking to the other students and seeing what their interests are. Often we have a lot in common with each other.
I would definitely recommend this course to any student who loves writing and reading. I was to personally thank Mrs. Serbicki for an amazing class. I will miss her.
A Wonderful Class! posted by Noel Archer on May 18 2017 at 21:19:01
I really loved taking AP English Literature with Mrs. Serbicki. This was my first online class so I can’t really compare it to other classes. However, I will say that it was incredibly fun and, at the same time, incredibly educational. By the end of the exam, I felt like I had done enough practice to know the AP Lit exam inside and out, and because of this test day was really a breeze. An especially important part of the course is the wide range of books we read, which meant we had ample material to draw from for the third free-response question on the exam, for which you need to write about a piece of literature you’ve read.
One of the most fun assignments of the class was when we had a ‘dinner party’ where we got to take on the roles of characters we had read about throughout the year. This was a nice way to review all the books we had read in an engaging manner. It’s much easier to remember a character if you’ve held a discussion with them, after all! Additionally, the discussion questions posed to us throughout the year were a very valuable resource that taught us what to look for when reading literature. When reviewing books, I found myself looking back at them often. Despite learning so much, I never felt overwhelmed by the work we did. I don’t recall ever spending more than a few hours a week on the class, not taking into account the reading and occasional practice exams we did.
As someone who enjoys reading, I would highly recommend this class to anyone who has a love of the English language. A lot of the time the class was almost more enjoyable than it was rigorous. And for anyone who hopes to develop a love of reading and writing, I am confident that this class could help accomplish that.
Coming into this class, I was worried. The AP English Literature exam seemed daunting, and I was concerned if an online class could fully prepare me for it. After taking the class though, these ideas seem ridiculous. Mrs. Serbicki’s English class made the exam much less stressful, and showed me that an online class could be of the same quality as any other—it could even be a lot better. Thank you for a wonderful year Mrs. Serbicki!
Wonderful English Class posted by Srishti Kumar on May 15 2017 at 16:02:04
For me, one of the most useful parts of the course was the poetry analysis. I haven't had much poetry experience, and our poetry discussions really taught me how to read and (most importantly) understand them! The Discussion Qs were one of my favorite parts, as it really made me think deeply about the texts we were reading.
I would recommend this course to anyone interested in taking an English class - Mrs. Serbicki is a wonderful, passionate teacher, and works hard with all of her students - even if this may be someone's first English class. The student environment is also wonderful - my peers are very welcoming, and I have learned so much from them. Thank you Mrs. Serbicki! (And PA Homeschoolers)
A Wonderful Class posted by Annika Clark on May 14 2017 at 19:38:33
AP Literature & Composition with Mrs. Serbicki was simply a joy. This class proved to be my favorite course of the entire school year and an incredibly enriching experience. By the test day in May, I felt well prepared for the exam and walked into the room confident in the skills Mrs. Serbicki had equipped me with throughout the year. Not only did she instruct in the specifics of the AP exam, she made sure to emphasize the importance of literature in the context of history and our daily lives. The plays and novels I read during the year were at my disposal come test day, and I was prepared to discuss any of them in depth. I felt incredibly lucky to walk into the test room knowing Mrs. Serbicki had been my teacher! I started the year a little timid about writing literary analysis, even with a whole week to write the first draft of an essay. By May, I was confident that I could write about anything the test threw at me in the two-hour essay section.
I believe this AP Literature course would be a great fit for a range of students. If you are looking to step up a level, whether you’re already advanced in English or intimidated by an AP course, Mrs. Serbicki will meet you where you are and help you thrive. In observing my fellow classmates, I don’t think there is a single one of us who did not grow immensely throughout the year. Mrs. Serbicki is a teacher who inspires you to do your best and reach your highest potential. She creates a classroom atmosphere that takes away the fear and insecurity I know many of us feel about academic essays, especially those involving complicated literary analysis.
As an already avid reader, this class expanded my knowledge of classic and modern works alike. I read everything from Jane Austen to Billy Collins, Shakespeare to Flannery O’Connor. While not every reading assignment was my favorite, I feel I gained specific perspectives from each new work that broadened my overall understanding of literature. Students should be prepared to step out of their comfort zones in this AP Literature class, no matter their previous experiences. The wide range of styles, eras, and themes were truly challenging to master, but ultimately, enriching.
I met many delightful classmates in AP Literature, from all kinds of backgrounds and locations. Making a social connection through an online course can be difficult, but my classmates were always eager to chat with one another and have fun on our social board. I found brilliant, diverse, and kind friends through this program, who I hope to keep in touch with beyond the school year.
One assignment, in particular, showed off the great classmates I had in AP Literature. In the spring, we did the “Dinner Party,” conversing as the characters we had studied throughout the year. It was a blast! Everyone really got into character (by that time, we were truly a bunch of literary geeks) and displayed our in-depth knowledge of the course texts. Outside of the everyday pleasure of reading for class, the Dinner Party was my favorite assignment. As for the most valuable assignment, I found the two practice exams at the end of the year to be beneficial in gauging how far I’d come and solidifying my preparation for the exam.
Finally, I cannot stress enough my admiration for my teacher, Mrs. Serbicki. From her excitement and wonder at the topic of literature to her thoughtful feedback, Mrs. Serbicki has been a highlight of my school year. With every assignment, I wanted to work hard because my teacher inspired me to be my best. She never hesitated to provide extra help with difficult topics and was the teacher I could turn to while applying for summer programs. She brought joy, expertise, and richness to every live discussion, and organization, preparation, and purpose to all weekly assignments.
Overall, I had a wonderful year and am extremely glad I got the chance to be a part of this class. As Mrs. Serbicki would say… “Bravo!”
Fantastic Class posted by Christopher Page on May 31 2016 at 13:49:18
I took AP Lang with Mrs. Serbicki last year, and this year I took AP Lit. My review for either of these classes would be very similar, as both were wonderful classes. For me, my main priority was preparing for the AP exam, and this class did a great job of preparing me. Many AP classes are filled with other material which seems off topic or unnecessary, but this class was filled with content directed towards preparing students for the AP exam. As a result, while I was nervous before the exam, I felt very competent and prepared to handle the test when I took it.
I probably didn't spend as much time as I should have on this class due to my crazy senior year, but I found the time requirements very manageble. I would have a hard time giving an hour estimate, but I can say that the work for this class is very efficient. I never felt like I was wasting time (how I feel for the work for some classes) when I was working. So I would say the time requirement is certainly manageble. In addition, like many classes, to a degree you get out what you put in. So the harder you work and more time you put in, the better you are likely to do on the AP exam. This class provides plenty of extra optional material for anyone who wanted more work in particular areas, which I think is great.
My favorite assignment was reading the books. I really enjoyed some of the novels in this class. Also I think the practice multiple choice sections were great because they didn't take too long and were great practice for the AP exam.
I personally am a STEM oriented person, so while I don't have a crazy interest in literature, this class made it much more interesting for me than usual
Communications with other students were valuable in the commentary on other students' posts. It was nice for me to see other people's perspectives on the discussion questions. Students would bring up insightful points I had not thought of.
You should certainly be prepared to work hard and take this course seriously, but also don't be scared of it. I absolutely would recommend this course to anyone who is looking ahead for their future and aims high for achievement.
AP Literature with Mrs. Serbicki posted by Amanda Chang on May 31 2016 at 04:26:38
I really enjoyed learning from Mrs. Serbicki through AP Literature. Her passion for and knowledge of literature really helped me develop an interest for exploring the texts and poetry offered through this course. She more than adequately prepared us for the exam with several tests and multiple practice essays throughout the school year. I generally put 1-5 hours of work into this course a week, and I would highly recommend Mrs. Serbicki as an instructor who cares for her students and teachs with enthusiasm and insight.
Exceptional course, complete AP preparation posted by Emma Ladwig on May 28 2016 at 14:02:18
Mrs. Serbicki's AP Literature and Composition course was one of the best courses I have ever taken! It fully prepared me for the AP exam. I felt very comfortable while taking the test, and finished every part before the time allotted had passed.
The course requires attention to detail and hard work, but it is definitely doable! I spent about an hour to an hour and a half each day on the materials, depending on the projects each week.
I particularly enjoyed the Dinner Party in the spring, where everyone interacted as a character or author and answered questions that helped to analyze each person's motives, quirks, actions, and emotions.
Through this course I was able to foster a deeper appreciation for literature and writing, so much so that I now aspire to pursue a career as a screenwriter.
The in-class discussions and the feedback from the other students was also helpful, since everyone is offering their opinions and views, making it easier to gain a broad appreciation and understanding for each piece of literature.
I think any student could do well in this course, as long as they understand the work ethic needed and are willing to challenge themselves for an entire school year. It sounds like a tall order, but the benefits reaped are unquestionably worth every minute of reading, writing, annotating, and testing.
Thank you to Mrs. Serbicki and to the PA Homeschoolers for providing such worthwhile courses for homeschoolers!
AP Lit Review posted by Max Dragan on May 24 2016 at 24:07:30
This class was extremely helpful both in preparing me for the AP Literature exam and in helping cultivate my further interest in literature—especially poetry. My writing skills improved greatly, and I have become a much more efficient writer than I was when I began the course. To put that in perspective, the first essay assignment we were given took me several days to write. By the time I took the exam, I was able to write a much better essay in under 40 minutes. Additionally, I grew a deeper appreciation for poetry as I learned how it was structured and how to analyze the different themes contained within poems. My favorite assignment was the midterm essay, as comparing two novels gave me a much deeper appreciation for both and finishing the long essay was extremely rewarding when it was finally finished. Communications with other students were helpful and often enlightening as well, and the point system for discussions helped ensure that I benefitted from that. I would say that this course is for persistent students who like a challenge. At first it will seem daunting but as you learn the ropes it becomes more and more natural, while still retaining a high standard of quality for the work you turn in.
AP English Literature Class Review posted by Ethan Hoffman on May 06 2016 at 17:26:14
I loved taking AP Literature with Mrs. Serbicki this year! The class was fun, informative, and not full of unnecessary busy work either. We had plenty of easily accessible materials which made our preparation for the AP exam much less stressful and very comprehensive. The class discussions both online and in class were also helpful for hearing other students' perspectives and tips for working on essays/MCQ's. I would highly recommend this class to anyone who wants a great literature learning experience!
Great Class! posted by Olivia Fish on May 27 2015 at 15:59:37
Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?
Yes. I felt very confident and prepared on exam day. Each assignment was so valuable in preparing me for the test, and while it was difficult for me to complete timed essays at the beginning of the year, I finished them with plenty of extra time on the day of the exam.
How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?
I generally spent about an hour per day on this course. It would sometimes take less time or more time. It just depended on what assignments were due that week. As the exam got nearer, I would spend closer to two hours on this class, so that I could complete the assignments but also study for the exam. One thing I really appreciated about this class is the amount of homework. It was never overwhelming but always enough to keep me busy.
Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?
I really enjoyed every assignment in this class. I loved every work that we read, and the various extra credit assignments were extremely valuable. For example, the weekly vocabulary prompts helped me to retain all the definitions of the terms. Also, I liked the weekly discussion questions. They really helped me to analyze and comprehend the texts we were reading, and it was interesting to read my classmates answers and see their interpretations. If I had to choose a favorite assignment though, it would probably be the dinner party. It was a really fun way to review the works we had read throughout the class and to interact with other students.
Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?
Definitely! While I already loved English, this course definitely enhanced and expanded my interest in literature. I especially enjoyed studying poetry, as it wasn't something I was very familiar with before this class.
What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?
AP English Literature: The Best Class I've Ever Had! posted by Hannah Socolofsky on June 03 2014 at 14:06:11
AP English Literature with Mrs. Serbicki was honestly one of the best experiences of my life. When the class ended, I found myself wishing that I could take it again! I can't say enough good things about the course and its teacher.
Mrs. Serbicki made herself available to answer any questions we students might have, and yet she also gave us the opportunity to mingle with other students online and during class lectures. The discussions I had with my fellow students were fantastic ways to understand specific concepts as well as to introduce new ideas and perspectives found in the works of literature we read. The famed Dinner Party was a hilariously fun assignment--you'll have to take the class yourself to understand what a blast it is.
One of the aspects of this class which I loved most was that Mrs. Serbicki focused more on quality of homework than on quantity. She didn't pile on assignments every week just for the sake of giving her students "more to do"; rather, she assigned specific essays, quizzes, etc. that she knew would help teach a particular concept we were learning at the time. Because Mrs. Serbicki understood the busyness of her student's schedules, she ensured that this class would rigorously prepare us for anything the exam could require. . . while still giving us plenty of time per week to work on other school subjects.
Because of Mrs. Serbicki's teaching style and the assignments she gave, I've realized that I want to study English Literature. Mrs. Serbicki was so kind and encouraging, making us understand that she loved us both as students and as people. I credit Mrs. Serbicki for giving me a passion for reading and analyzing great literature. I've discovered that the discussions such as we'd have in her class are essentially my life's blood! =)
I highly recommend Mrs. Serbicki's AP English Literature class for anyone who yearns to improve their essay writing, to understand the ins and outs of analyzing literature, and to recognize the beauty of writing as a means of expression. It's a class you will never regret taking!
Great Teacher and a Great Course posted by Julie M. on May 16 2014 at 15:09:56
Mrs. Serbicki is one of the most patient and open-minded teachers I have ever had, and her AP Lit course provides first-class exposure to all elements on the AP Exam. She prepared us very diligently throughout the entire year, and she seemed to be almost always available to answer a question. Mrs. S gave me, and I'm sure everyone else in the class, the impression that she really cared about each of us, not only as her students, but as people. And I wouldn't be able to thank her enough for her encouragement and support throughout the year :-).
This course is very fluid in the amount of time it requires. Some weeks, when we had long novels to read, I could spend up to 10 hours in homework and designated reading; when spring semester dawdled down, I found myself having only about 2-3 hours a week of homework (and, thus, was afforded spare time for studying for the exam). The weekly live chats were a great addition to this class, and I participated in almost all of them. They were a time for discussing numerous aspects of a novel or poem we were studying (aka applying critical concepts on the AP exam), and it was an excellent medium for expanding my analysis skills.
What I suppose is most fascinating about this course is Mrs. Serbicki's use of subliminal learning. Now that I think about it, she never really made "learning" seem like "learning," if that makes sense. Rather, she instillied important concepts in us with each novel/play/poem until, finally, we came to notice things like imagery, tone, metaphor and theme on our own. This, in the long run, was genius; by test day, I was breathing analysis like oxygen, not even really thinking about it. It would be an understatement to say that Mrs. S "prepared" me for the AP exam; she instilled so much confidence in me that I felt over prepared for the exam - I almost found the exam (dare I say) easy.
Thank you, Mrs. Serbicki, for an amazing course and for all of your time and attention! And for all you prospective students out there, go ahead and take this course; you really won't regret it!
Must Take AP Lit Class posted by Maia Paddock on May 13 2014 at 17:38:51
1. Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?
I absolutely felt prepared for the AP exam. I wrote plenty of essays throughout the year and was very familiar with the essay formats and expectations by the time of the AP exam. The timed essay practices during the second semester were especially helpful. We also had AP style multiple choice quizzes on all of our reading throughout the year. Towards the end of the year we also did MCQ practice using questions and passages from past exams.
2. How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?
I generally put between 1 and 1.5 hours of work into the course per day. Some days it was longer, especially around the midterm essay. There is lots of extra credit available if you feel like you are not doing enough work.
3. Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?
I really liked the midterm essay, even though it was a lot of work. I loved writing an in depth analysis of a single literary work. Additionally, it really helped me on the exam - the book I wrote my midterm essay on fit perfectly with the free responce essay prompt!
Overall I really liked this class. Mrs. Serbicki is a wonderful teacher and gives very helpful comments on all assignments. The class was stuctured well with a manageable workload and definitely prepared me for the exam. I highly recommend this class!
A Fun Challenge posted by Taylor Scott on May 20 2013 at 20:31:48
This course definitely prepared me for the AP exam. We practiced multiple-choice questions almost every week that we did not have to write an essay. In addition, the optional vocabulary assignments helped me to learn and review literary devices. You are very comfortable with figurative language, both using it in your work and analyzing it in someone else’s, by the end of this course. We also practiced timed essays the entire second semester. Mrs. Serbicki did an excellent job easing us into a timed format by slowly decreasing the amount of time we had to write until we reached the forty minutes you are allotted per essay on the AP exam. She also had us practice a couple essays from each category on the exam (Prose, Drama/Poetry, and Free Response). By the time I took the actual test, I felt confident in my ability to write effective timed essays and solve the puzzle that is the multiple-choice section.
I put about nine hours a week into this course. Non-essay weeks were less hours and essay weeks were more but that is about the average. It is not necessary to put that many hours into the class; however, I learned much more by participating extra on the discussion board and doing extra credit assignments. I also had more fun because I felt like a bigger part of the class community.
My favorite assignments in this class were fiction responses. There was an extra credit opportunity to write from a minor character’s point of view, which I loved so much I completed it three times. I also chose to rewrite a scene from Macbeth instead of writing an essay. Personally, I find fiction to be more difficult to write than an essay because there is not set formula; however, I love the creativity of fiction and how much power you feel while writing it.
The other students in my class were wonderful. A variety of opinions and ideas came out of our discussions. I had a blast reading their work and debating with them. They forced me to defend and expand my analysis of the various works we read. They all helped me grow both as a reader and as a writer. I wish I was going to take English with all of them again next year.
If you are interested in taking this course, you have to ask yourself if you are willing to take on the workload. Particularly in the first semester, it is a lot of work. However, it is a fun challenge. If you are a student who loves literature, writing, and discussion, you would love this course. For students taking this course, I highly recommend doing every weekly vocabulary assignment, answering more than the required amount of discussion questions, and attending an optional live chat. Also, if there is an extra credit opportunity, take advantage of it. Even if you do not feel you need to boost your grade, it will only help to give you a better understanding of the material, which is vital for the AP exam. This is my favorite class that I have ever taken. Mrs. Serbicki is a wonderful teacher and she is very encouraging. She is definitely willing to work with you one on one which helped me a lot this year. You can tell how much she loves the material that she has her class discussing. If you have that kind of love for literature and you are willing to work hard, I recommend that you register for this course immediately.
A wonderful course! posted by Jamie Wheeler on May 15 2013 at 24:45:58
This has possibly been the best course I have ever taken. While I have a personal predilection for the subject of literature, Mrs. Serbicki not only encouraged my interest but also helped me to expand my literary taste and improve my analytical skills. She skillfully balanced the reading of high-quality works, the writing of essays on challenging but thought-provoking topics, and the discussion of insightful questions, with a few creative projects thrown in for good measure. I found a new outlet, rigorous and demanding but never frustrating or dull, for my favorite work of reading, writing, and reading some more!
I felt confident and comfortable taking the AP Exam, and though I have not yet received my scores, I know that whatever success I receive owes a lot to Mrs. Serbicki's well-paced practice regimen and amazingly detailed critiques of my writing. For me, the most valuable assignments were simply writing the essays, both timed and untimed. I received a lot of valuable practice and training not only in developing my thoughts about a work into a clear analysis, but also in expressing those thoughts precisely and attractively with a good prose style. However, webboard discussion was also extremely valuable, and often helped me clarify my thoughts in the writing of the answers and in sharing discussions with my classmates (whom I will miss).
I generally put about eight hours a week into this course; the required work did not always take me that long, but I often spent additional time on the discussion board or writing essays simply because the assignments were so enjoyable. I would definitely recommend this course to any hardworking student, especially one who already enjoys reading, thinking, and writing about literature and is ready to take it to the next level.
Highest Recommendations! posted by Kelsey McCleskey on June 10 2012 at 20:48:01
As a student in Mrs. Serbicki's 2011-2012 AP English Literature class, I truly have only good things to say! Mrs. S was prompt, considerate, and organized, and went over and above duty on many occasions to spark our interest, keep us on track, and help us grow as writers. The coursework was thorough and challenging, but I never felt overburdened or had any reason to complain about "busywork." In fact, I had a lot of fun!
Mrs. Serbicki's course prepared me very well for the AP Lit exam. By introducing multiple-choice quizzes and timed essays early in the year, Mrs. S made sure we had ample practice and time to develop test-taking strategies for each portion of the test. I purchased a standard AP preparation book to read along with the course, but by the end of the year, I really felt that I hadn't even needed it. There was nothing in the extra book that we didn't cover! I'm happy to report that the exam didn't even feel too difficult, and I have high hopes for a 5 when scores return.
As with most English courses, the time a student spends, especially on the writing assignments, could certainly vary depending on the student's level of interest and commitment. I found myself spending 2-3 hours a day most weeks. I never found this a burden, however - I found myself enjoying the writing, discussions, and study of materials so much that I often spent some extra time polishing writing pieces, discussing topics on the webboard, or even just rereading the week's piece.
The variety in the assignments certainly kept my interest. Far from a coursefull of analytical essays, Mrs. S's included lively weekly forum discussions on questions pertaining to the week's reading, Skype chats (which she kindly repeated twice a week to make sure everyone could attend), frequent chances to choose fiction writing assignments (my favorite!), and a multitude of extra credit opportunities. One of my favorite "special" assignments was the "Dinner Party," in which each student took on the persona of an author or character in a work we'd studied and "attended a party" hosted by Flannery O'Connor (aka Mrs. Serbicki!).
In summary, I thoroughly enjoyed Mrs. Serbicki's class, and I highly recommend it to anyone who would enjoy learning from a dedicated teacher who truly loves her subject. Though I came into the course with an already strong love of wordcraft, I left with a much broader appreciation of the tools and techniques that can bring passion to life and turn ink on a page into a living, breathing work of art.
AP English Literature Class Review posted by Jeremiah Lin on June 06 2012 at 18:54:57
I felt that the course definitely helped me prepare for the AP exam. The entire year was full of preparatory exercises that accurately reflected the real exam. The timed practice essays and the multiple choice quizzes were especially helpful, as were the other projects that we did during the year.
I spent about 5-7 hours on the course, per week. Of course, if there were special projects or extra credit projects, I spent much more time.
I really enjoyed writing the essays. I think that it was good to reflect on the differing views of the characters and analyze their motives and actions. The varying themes and time periods kept the plots and characters fresh, providing for new ways to analyze and see the author's intent and style. The multiple choice quizzes also were valuable as well as enjoyable. The quizzes accurately exemplified the real AP exam, and they were fun to do at the same time.
The course certainly enhanced my interest in composition. I was not a very strong writer coming into this course, but now I feel more confident in my writing abilities. As for the literature part, I wouldn't exactly say that it enhanced my interest in literature, because I came into this course already having great love for reading. However, the course gave me numerous great books to read!
I found the webchats to be somewhat disappointing, as there were only usually three people, myself and Mrs. Serbicki included. The other weekly webchat usually had three people as well, Mrs. Serbicki included. I understand that people may have had conflicting schedules with the webchat times, but I wish that the webchats could have had some more opinions and ideas. Not all was disappointing though. I must say that the webchats I that I participated in were fun and very thought-provoking. On the course website, I enjoyed the open-discussion questions, where we got to interact with other students through questions on book themes, character motives, literary devices, and much more. I most enjoyed the Dinner Party project, in which I had thoughtful conversations with other students, while playing the roles of authors and characters in the literature that we had read.
Because this is an AP course, diligence is definitely a must. I think that a student who loves reading would do well in this course. Because there is so much literature involved, strong reading comprehension is essential. Although this is a composition course as well, I would dare say that very strong writing skills are not absolutely necessary, as Mrs. Serbicki is very patient and works hard to strengthen a student's writing skills throughout the year. Personally, before this year, I was not a strong writer at all, though I loved to read. Through I am still not a perfect writer, Mrs. Serbicki was constantly helping me to improve and work hard to become a much better writer. I would recommend this course to students looking to improve their writing, as well as reading some awesome pieces of literature! This was a great course, probably my favorite of the year!
AP English Literature - A Wonderful, Challenging, and Enriching Class! posted by Claire Graja on June 04 2012 at 24:42:44
Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?
- Yes!!! Mrs. Serbicki created an absolutely marvelous class that truly prepped me for the AP English Lit Exam. When I walked into the room on test day and opened up my booklet, I wasn't in for any surprises - everything had been beautifully covered. The rigorous writing assignments were especially helpful in preparing me for the 120 min of essays, while the literary device projects really aided me in the MCQs. Thanks to Mrs. Serbicki's excellent preparatory work, I was able to breeze right through both of them. Also, if you're planning on taking any SAT II Subject Tests this is a fantastic prep course for the Literature SAT (I waited to write this review until my 6/2 test date so I could add this!). All in all, this course was so wonderful, complete, and lush that I was able to prep for not one but two tests and feel very confident about my performance on both!!!
How many hours of work per day or per week did you generally put into the course?
- My weekly hour-schedule was highly variable for AP English Lit, since Mrs. Serbicki variated the weekly assignments beautifully. She regularly alternated predominently reading and discussion weeks with weeks that were mostly spent writing. It made for a really nice study cadence. Much of the time I spent on writing was for extra credit as well, making my hours during the writing weeks far longer than they would be if I hadn't chosen to pursue the extra credit options. Also, some of the reading assignments were more demanding than others - Brave New World, being a full novel, made for much longer reading sessions than some of the poems or short stories. Altogether, I'd say I probably spent between 7-12 hours a week on the coursework for AP English Literature. Generally, it broke down to roughly 1-2 hours every day, which I think was absolutely perfect: it is definitely a rigorous course, but not so overwhelming it's impossible to truly savor it. That in itself is another wonderful thing about the time commitment: while some weeks are very heavy, every single hour is spent studying and discussing some of the most inspiring, beautiful, and thought-provoking literature ever produced in our native tongue. Mrs. Serbicki's thoughtful selections were an especial pleasure to read and ponder!
Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?
- For me, the extra credit assignments were absolutely invaluable. I honestly think they're truly what made this such an enriching experience for me. Every other week (occasionally more often!), Mrs. Serbicki would offer one to three extra credit options. By completing all of these, I really feel like my understanding and appreciation of whatever piece we were studying at the time deepened. Also, the extra writing practice truly helped hone my analytical writing skills for a format ideal for the AP English Lit Exam. By the time I faced those final essays on the AP Exams, I felt like I was perfectly prepared to write my very best.
Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?
- Yes - it truly enhanced and refined my approach to the subject of literature. I've always been a passionate and eager reader, but very often I tended to focus on the story more than the actual writing. Mrs. Serbicki's class is wonderful in that it predominantly focuses on just the opposite: we study literature not just in terms of its plot, but also for its thematic, technical, and contextual value. Since taking her class, I find myself more and more often pausing to pick out the literary devices in the paragraph I just read, or considering the broader theme in the book I recently finished. As a result, my appreciation of literature has truly deepened with this class's focus on always looking beyond the surface of a novel and analyzing its deeper core.
Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?
- Definitely! The biweekly webchats (everyone was encouraged to attend one) were wonderful interactive opportunities. There is nothing like discussing a work of literature with other people, and the webchats really allowed me and other students to make connections in both literature and life. Also, group projects like the Dinner Party and the extra credit Peer Commentaries were fantastic for their fun yet constructive nature. I've definitely benefitted from bouncing ideas and concepts off others, and discussing their own thoughts in the same way. In short, it was a fabulous experience, and as a result I've made some really valuable and wonderful connections with others that I'll always remember.
What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?
- I'd suggest this course for anyone who's eager to read wonderful books, have lively discussions, and write thoughtful reflections. This is definitely a high-workload course, especially if you take advantage of the numerous (and extremely helpful!) extra credit opportunities, thus a very driven student would also do quite well in this class. Ultimately, however, Mrs. Serbicki makes this a very accessible course despite its college-level demands. She is always available to answer questions, provide feedback, or offer suggestions. So truly, if you're a curious student with an appetite for good books, a desire to stretch (and improve) your writing skills, and an interest in discovering the deepest meanings of literature, this class is a really fantastic course for you. Sign up - you'll be so, so glad you did!
Mrs. Serbicki's AP Literature Class 2011-2012 posted by GenevieveB on May 20 2012 at 23:01:47
- Did you feel the course prepared you for the AP exam?
Yes, I feel that the course prepared me very well for the AP exam. The practice multiple choice quizzes and the assigned timed essays gave me a good idea of the workings of the actual exam. In fact, because to the timed essays, I was able to approach the free-response questions on the exam with confidence.
- Are there any particularly favorite assignments that you found especially valuable?
I had very positive experiences with all of Mrs. Serbicki's assignments. I was able to build upon the essays such that each one fixed the errors of the previous one. This was mostly due to Mrs. Serbicki's fair and timely feedback.
• Did the course enhance your interest in the subject?
Absolutely! I felt that my ability to analyze literature greatly increased during this class and, consequently, I love literature.
- Did you find your communications with other students to be interesting or valuable?
Yes, the weekly Skype chats were absolutely invaluable. Although they were optional and the attendance did vary throughout the year, the chats provided a sense of community that enhanced my experience. The other students brought up fascinating topics during the chats and were always prepared for the chats.
- What sort of student would do well in this course? Would you recommend this course to other students (if they are willing to work hard!)?
A pre-existing love of literature and/or writing is recommended although a student willing to learn to love literature would probably also do very well. Mrs. Serbicki's availability was spectacular and consistent: I was always able to ask for advice or clarification and receive a prompt response. Overall, this is an amazing class that is well-worth the time and effort that it requires!
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