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AP English Language and Composition – A Complete Guide

Feb 23, 2022

As the center has announced the AP English Language and Composition examination on 10th May 2022, you must be wondering how you can prepare effectively for the test. This guide will tell you everything related to the test, overview, the types of questions you can expect, how to study for the AP English language and composition exam, and what you can carry in the examination hall. By the end of the article, you will have better clarity on the examination, and then you can accordingly prepare to get excellent results in the test.

Why Is The AP English Language & Composition Exam Conducted?

The AP English Language and Composition examination test the students’ various abilities. It checks whether the students can apply different techniques in their writing and perform the following tasks: 

  • Recognize the author’s rhetorical tactics and procedures.
  • Determine the author’s goal and target audience
  • Provide knowledge of how to cite sources in research articles.
  • Create and organize an argument that supports evidence and logic.
  • Plan, create and revise persuasive, well-written essays.

Overview Of The AP English Language And Composition Exam

The School Board tests the rhetorical and composition abilities of the candidate through this test. In other words, how do authors create persuasive arguments in their writing? What are the tools they employ? Then, how can you put those tools to good use in your writing?

The Centre has divided the examination into two sections: The first section comprises 25 MCQs that you have to answer in an hour. It is divided into 5 question sets, each based on a passage. The second section comprises 20 rhetorical analysis questions that will put your rhetorical talents to the test. 


Besides, there will also be 20-22 composition questions that will challenge you to consider improvements to the texts. This section will provide you with three questions and 15 minutes of reading time for each, and then you will have 120 minutes to answer the analytical essays. 

You can expect to get the following kinds of essays in the examination: 

  • You have to develop an argument by synthesizing many texts in one essay. 
  • One essay in which you have to examine the rhetorical structure of a nonfiction passage.
  • You have to respond to a prompt with a unique argument in one essay.

You’ll have roughly 40 minutes to answer each essay, but nobody will tell you when to go on to the next one—you can use the 120 minutes in whichever way you like.

The following section will help you understand how to study for the AP English language and composition exam.


The AP English Language And Composition Multiple-Choice Questions

The multiple-choice segment assesses you in two categories. The first is your ability to read and comprehend nonfiction materials for rhetorical tactics and tools. The second is how nicely you can think and revise texts like a writer in composition problems.

The question paper will have five excerpts, each with a small section of orienting information, such as “This text is taken from a series of essays on boating” or “This passage is taken from a 19th-century Haitian essay.” After each passage, there will be a series of questions. You can expect to get eight types of questions in the MCQ section. 


Read through these types to get a clear idea of “how to study for the AP English language and composition exam.”

1. Reading Comprehension

This is the first question that will appear on your AP English Language and Composition examination. In this section, you will have to read a comprehension passage and find out its literal meaning. Thus, the best way to answer this question is to read it several times before attempting. 

2. Implication

This is similar to the first type, but it can be challenging to attempt. First, you have to understand what the author conveys in the passage for this question. Generally, the paragraph that appears for this section is tricky to understand. So, read it repeatedly and bring out evidence to support your answer. 

3. Passage And Author Questions

In this part, you will have to answer the aim of the passage and the author’s approach to the idea. Besides, you also have to detect the passage’s overarching style and the target audience. You can answer these questions quickly if you read it from a “bird’s eye” point of view. 

4. Relationship Between Different Segments In A Sentence

You will have to determine the relationship between two segments in a paragraph of this type. You might expect questions that compare one part of the passage with the rest. The fundamental way to handle such questions is to mark each segment as you read. 

5. Interpretation Of Figurative Language

These questions will expect you to find the underlying meaning or connotation of the text’s figurative language or imagery. In other terms, why did the author choose to utilize this metaphor or simile? What is he attempting to achieve?

You may usually identify these questions because it refers to a specific instance of figurative language in the content. But, it may not be immediately apparent that the term being addressed is symbolic, so you may have to go back and review it in the paragraph to be sure of the type of topic you’re dealing with.

6. Purpose Of A Selected Text

Other questions will require you to determine what role a specific section of the text plays in the author’s overall argument. For example, what is the author attempting to achieve with the passage in the text referred to in the question?

These questions are easy to spot because they usually inquire about what purpose a particular section of the text serves. Phrases or words like “serves to” or “function” may appear in the passages. 

7. Rhetorical Strategy

You have to identify a rhetorical tactic in these questions. They will frequently use the phrase “rhetorical approach.” You may be able to spot them by looking at the answer options, which typically list many rhetorical tactics as options.

8. Composition

For these questions, the candidate must pretend to be a writer and consider the various decisions authors must make when producing or altering content. Changing the sequence of sentences or paragraphs, adding or removing information to support an argument or improve clarity, making modifications to grab reader attention, and other composition-related decisions are examples of these problems.

Tips To Prepare Well For The AP Language Examination

  • First, understand what your strengths and weaknesses are. Conduct many tests at home and measure your progress. Work on the areas you feel you are underconfident.  
  • You can download the AP English Language Cram Chart PDF to cover every topic that can appear in the AP English Language and Composition examination. This way, you will have better preparation before the primary test day. 
  • Build a study plan and allow the most time for the complex subjects. Practice the essay as much as you can. Solve many questions and practice writing. This will help you get confident for the AP examination.  
  • Study with your friends and solve questions together to make your study time fun. This will keep you engaged with your studies for a long time. 
  • Try to memorize all the rhetorical devices. However, if you have less time, focus on only the important ones in the previous year’s sample papers.    

What To Carry During The AP English Language And Composition Exam?

Now that you know what questions can appear and how to study for the AP English language and composition exam, it’s time to understand what you can carry for the test. Of course, you would not want to bring something that gets confiscated by the examiner or put you into trouble. 

We have assembled a checklist that you can carry to the examination hall to aid you with this. However, anything that is mentioned in the list is better to keep at home. 

  1. You need to carry two No. 2 pencils. They are sufficiently dark, and you will need them to answer the MCQ questions.
  2. Eraser is also important to make corrections. 
  3. Black and blue ink pens are also essential as you need them to write the free-response answers. Ensure to carry extra in case you need it. 
  4. Carry a watch as well. This will help you keep track of time. Also, if you are running slow, the watch will help you increase your writing pace. 
  5. The examiner will provide an AP Student Pack. Do not forget to carry it in the hall as you have to place it on your paper. 
  6. Government ID is also required. This is because the examiner will check the ID for verification purposes. 
  7. If you need extra accommodation, you must carry the Student accommodation letter. 


Hopefully, the guide has helped provide you with all the details related to the AP English Language and Composition examination. Before the exam date, you can go through this guide to learn more about the test and how to study for the AP English language and composition exam effectively.

AP English Language and Composition Exam


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