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AP English Literature and Composition Frequently Asked Question

Questions about the course

What is the focus of this course?

Reading, analyzing, and writing about fiction, poetry, and drama from various periods. For more details go to the two-page Course Overview (.pdf/1.24MB).

How does this course differ from AP English Language and Composition?

The language course uses nonfiction texts exclusively, and focuses on rhetorical analysis and the development of analytic and argumentative writing.

What is the equivalent college-level course?

The AP English Literature and Composition course aligns to a college-level introductory literary analysis course.

Are there any student prerequisites?

There are no prerequisite courses, but students should be able to read and comprehend college-level texts and apply the conventions of Standard Written English in their writing.

Are students expected to do summer reading?


Is there a required reading list?

No. But, a list of authors whose writing reflects the range and quality appropriate for the course is available in the AP English Literature and Composition Course Description (.pdf/2.21MB). This list is only a guide; feel free to use other works of your choice.

Which textbooks does the College Board recommend?

The College Board does not recommend specific textbooks. However, a list of example textbooks appropriate for the course appears on the AP Course Audit page for this course. Anthologies can be used instead of traditional textbooks, as long as they feature a wide range of readings.

How do I identify students who should take this course?

Any motivated student should be given the chance to benefit from an AP course. If your school gives the PSAT/NMSQT®, use AP Potential. This free online tool allows you to identify students who are likely to succeed in AP based on their PSAT/NMSQT or SATŪ scores. Such scores have been proven to be stronger predictors of AP success than high school grades or GPA.

How can I prepare myself to teach this course?

These resources will help:

Have more questions?

The AP English Teacher Community might be the best source for answers. You’ll also find articles, tools, and resources to help you teach every aspect of the course on the course home page.

Questions about the AP Course Audit

What is the AP Course Audit?

The AP Course Audit is an authorization process that provides teachers and administrators with guidelines and requirements for offering AP courses. It also ensures that AP courses across high schools meet the same college-level criteria.

Is the course audit required?

Yes. Every school wishing to offer an AP course must participate in the AP Course Audit.

What’s involved? Who needs to participate, and what do they need to do?

The AP Course Audit requires the online submission of two documents: the AP Course Audit form and the teacher’s syllabus. The AP teacher and the school principal (or designated administrator) submit the Course Audit form, acknowledging the curricular and resource requirements. The syllabus, detailing how the AP course requirements will be met, is submitted by the AP teacher for review by college faculty.

Where can I get help preparing my course syllabus?

The AP Course Audit page for this course will give you the tools you’ll need to create and submit your syllabus for authorization, including information and guidelines, sample syllabi, and a tutorial.

Have more questions?

Go to AP Course Audit for more FAQs, resources, and information about the whole course audit process.

Questions about the exam

How can I prepare my students for the exam?

These resources will help:

  • A full practice exam is available by logging in to your AP Course Audit account.
  • Free-response questions (FRQs) with student samples and scoring guidelines can be accessed from the course’s exam information page.
  • Scroll down the “Scoring” column in the free-response questions table to find yearly Student Performance Q&A’s from the Chief Reader that describe how students performed on the FRQs, typical student errors, and specific concepts that challenged students the most that year.
  • Released exams are available for free download on the course home page, and 10-packs can be purchased on the College Board store.

When is the AP English Literature and Composition Exam administered?

The exam is given each year in early May. Go to the Exam Calendar for the most current exam dates.

What score do students need to get on the AP Exam to receive credit or advanced placement?

That depends on the college. Some require higher scores than others, and some might not grant credit for exam scores for both AP English Literature and Composition and AP English Language and Composition. Tell your students to use the AP Credit Policy Info tool to verify the credit/placement policies at the colleges they are considering.

Have more questions?

Go to the AP English Literature and Composition Exam Information page for answers. You’ll find specifics about the exam format and more.

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