Advanced Placement (AP) English Language and Composition is one of the courses that are taught as part of the Advanced Placement Program. The other course in the AP English curriculum is Literature and Composition, which used to be taught as one with Language and Composition but they ultimately got separated.

This course is centered on rhetorical analysis and it is recommended for students with an aptitude for writing analytic and persuasive essays. Although generally both (Language and Literature Composition) are taught by schools, and students are to take one during junior year and the other during senior year. So, as a student, you are going to take both during your school years.

Scoring an A in this class could exempt you from taking composition or rhetorical analysis in college. But you can always get a head start and prepare yourself before class by following some tips and make sure you read about the course.

During the school year, be sure to practice your reading skills, answer all the questions you have along the way, and understand what this course, based on rhetorical analysis, will ask from you. If you do so, you’d guarantee yourself a spot as one of the top students in the class.

Check out our guide to AP English here.

thesis, reading, essay
You are going to learn how to construct a strong thesis and provide good evidence for your argument.
(Photo by Seven Shooter on Unsplash)

Skills You’ll Learn

In AP English Language and Composition, you are going to work on a syllabus designed to teach you how to master the English language. This means essay writing, reading comprehension, rhetorical analysis, argument construction, mastering answers for a prompt or question, logical reasoning, and more.

According to the College Board site, by the end of the school year, you will have a new set of skills that are going to prepare you for college.

Some of these skills are:

  • Writing an argument based on evidence
  • Gathering trustworthy information from different sources.
  • Evaluating sources of information
  • Reading comprehension: analysis and understanding a piece of writing
  • Drafting out correctly a piece of writing

This class is equivalent to a literary analysis college course and you won’t need any prerequisites to take it.

Superprof tutors can help you refine the skills you need to pass the class and the exam.

Course Units

We want you to understand what’s ahead during the school year, it might help you plan out study time properly and answer any questions or doubts you might have. As you might have figured already, you won’t only be required to write an essay during the exam and score an A. We wish it could be that simple!

You are going to learn how to construct a strong thesis, provide good evidence for your argument, point out the reasoning behind your work and be able to come up with a strong response to a question or prompt.

Here are the course units:

Unit 1

The first weeks of class will be destined for you to learn to identify certain things. You’ll learn to find and analyze the main argument of a text. You’ll practice writing paragraphs that answer the main claim effectively, evaluate the role of evidence in supporting a claim, and identifying the purpose of a given text or prompt.

Unit 2

The next step will be for you to identify how essays have a specific style that appeals to different audiences. This is when you’ll be taught how to write a powerful thesis statement, a claim designed to support a position or point of view of a certain topic (an argument). Using evidence to your advantage is another lesson found in this unit. Finally, you’ll learn about the importance of evidence on the essays you’re required to write.

Unit 3

For this unit, you are going to learn how to find several claims that support one another and help build a strong essay. Reasoning and evidence will be core subjects, as well as learning how to write cause-effect text.

Unit 4

This is when you’ll learn about essay structure. What are the elements of essays, how to properly support a thesis statement, what specific tools add value to a text, how to write a proper introduction and conclusion, and much more.

You can find more about essay composition on our blog, How To Write An AP English Essay.

Unit 5

During this time, you’ll learn how a writer puts an entire essay together. This might include adding commentary in your text, keep track of your ideas throughout the rhetorical analysis, use transitions, and learn about the importance of synthesis writing.

By now, you’ll be more than halfway through the school year which means there might be an exam coming your way. So be ready for your skills to be put to test.

Unit 6

The teacher will go into the difference of a position and a perspective and use various points of view in an argument, recognizing and avoiding bias. By now you will very well be able to develop a structured and logical response to different questions. You just need to continue to practice and add everything you’ve learned during the previous topics.

Unit 7

The next point on the Advanced Placement English Language and Composition curriculum is about argument complexity. You will go into counterarguments and how they can add or subtract value to your response to the question or prompt. Analyzing how text; a thesis, evidence, vocabulary, synthesis, and style are valuable while writing an essay. And how alternative perspectives contribute to an argument.

Unit 8

The next subject you’ll study as a student in an AP English course is about how style affects the argument and how it helps to improve your writing. You’ll be taught to consider how your choice of words enhance or impoverish your ideas and how these appeal to your audience.

Unit 9

Finally, when you’ve reached the last unit, you are going to have enough skills to develop a complex argument, plus multiple abilities that’ll help you during any test in the future.

claim, argument, prompt
You are going to learn how to find several claims that support one another and help build a strong essay. (Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash)

Exam Time

Students will be required to take a final test, where they will show every ability they’ve learned, read, and mastered during each lesson. There are going to be many points to consider before the test.

The exam has a duration of 3 hours and 15 minutes, a time in which you’ll face multiple questions designed to test your knowledge. We recommend you don’t waste any time, every second will count and any free or spare time you have left you better use to review your work.

There are two sections you’ll have to complete, multiple-choice and free-response.

Section 1: Multiple Choice

This section counts with 45 questions and accounts for 45% of your score. You’ll be required to answer reading and writing questions (so, think back to all the lessons where you read and wrote endlessly during class time and study properly). You’ll be required to read and analyze text for one part, and the other to read as an editor and find mistakes in the text.

There is one hour for you to complete this section of the test.

Section 2: Free Response

In this section, you are required to answer three questions or prompts designed to test your composition skills with three criteria.

  • Synthesis: you will have to read 6 - 7 passages about a certain topic and compose an argument combining and citing a minimum of 3 sources to support your thesis.
  • Rhetorical analysis: You’ll have to read a nonfiction literary piece and analyze the choice of language of the text.
  • Argument: You will write an argument based on evidence provided to respond to a certain topic.

You will have 2 hours and 15 minutes for the free-response section y and it counts for 55% of your score.

language, composition, writing
This class is designed to teach you about analysis, reading comprehension, stylistic writing, and more. (Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash)


As you could see, this class is designed to teach you about analysis, reading comprehension, stylistic writing, and more. The value of AP classes is that they provide you with tools that will come in handy for the rest of your student life, perhaps even after.

Scoring a high grade is going to look good in the eyes of the College Board, which will reflect in your application and could even exempt you from some classes in university.

Remember that you can always look for outside help. Perhaps free resources at the library could come in handy or maybe hiring a private tutor to help you get ahead and beyond.

Find more information about AP English Literature and Composition here and search Superprof for AP English tutors.

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