AP English is a course that will not only test your reading and writing skills but it is designed to teach students how to properly analyze, discuss, support, and draw conclusions of literary pieces. In this class, you will have to study hard and dedicate your time to learn how to properly write an essay during test time.

This language class is compulsory and all students need to pass it to graduate from high school. Scoring an A in this class could exempt you from taking composition or rhetorical analysis in college. You can always get a head start and prepare yourself before class by following some tips and make sure you read about the course. If you do so, you’d guarantee a spot as one of the top students in the class.

AP English is not only important because it might help you skip a class in college or become one of the top students in the school year, but it is important because good writing and reading skills are what many employers look for in future employees. Data shows that learning how to use language properly will open many doors in your future. If you are planning to pursue a career that requires reading and comprehending lengthy text or writing a lot, like literature, creative writing, philosophy, even politics, developing good writing skills during your school years is imperative for you. So, think about your future, not only college.

Now, continue reading because we’ve created this guide with tips that will help you pass AP English. Remember this is a class designed to test your language composition skills through essay writing so make sure you are reading and writing at least once a day.

AP English might not require you to learn nomenclature like url. or jpg., data analysis, or math topics like width, height, you will still be faced with challenges like passing exams with tricky questions, that will require you to show your composition skills and how well you can manage pressure.

poetry in AP English class
AP English is not like learning math topics like width, height, or memorize nomenclature like url. or jpg. (Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash images, null)

How to Score a High Grade

Teachers have guidelines they have to follow to grade an essay. Don’t worry too much though, they are required to tell you how they will be doing it.

The first thing you have to keep in mind is that teachers know that during an exam you’ve only had 40 minutes to read the literary sample and write a five-paragraph essay. This means they won’t be expecting perfection as they usually do with out-of-class assignments.

These essays are graded over 10 points. Be sure to understand what will be required of you to aim for the highest score during the exam. Here are the guidelines:

  • 2 - 1 Little Success: Scoring a 1 or 2 means that the student failed to understand what the prompt was asking. In other words, you didn’t write about the topic you were asked to write about.
  • 4 - 3 Inadequate: Your writing fails to communicate effectively, the arguments aren’t coherent and the evidence is poorly used or unconvincing. Students score a 3 if the essay lacks “writing maturity” which means they haven’t learned how to properly communicate through writing.
  • 6 - 5 Adequate: Your capacity to develop arguments is still good but you failed in syntaxis or weren’t very eloquent in your writing. Scoring a 5 means the student provided arguments that were inconsistent, unclear, and limited.
  • 8 - 7 Effective: The communication of ideas is done effectively in the exam. You can argue in a convincing matter and provide evidence with coherent explanations. The essay is written in such a way that you showed the capacity to manage many variables like time constraints and more. Scoring 7 means that the essay is adequate, with complete development of ideas and writing style.
  • 9 - To score a 9 out of 10, you will have to meet the criteria for effectiveness but also show a higher level and sophisticated writing style. A 9 means your use and control of language is “particularly impressive”.

We believe that knowing how you’re going to be graded will empower you to understand what it is teachers are looking for in your work or during the exam/ test. If you get started knowing how a 9 essay looks like and prepare yourself to meet the correct criteria, you can be almost certain that that’s the grade you’re going to get. You will have a lot of time to prepare, be sure to use that time wisely.

Even if AP English is not like learning data analysis, math topics like width, height, or memorize nomenclature like url. or jpg., you will still be faced with challenges like passing tests that are designed to see what type of a writer you are.

practice reading for AP English
The exam for this class is text-heavy, but there is no window for data or false information. (Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash)

Important Tips To Keep In Mind

You can use the following tips for both AP English Language and Composition and AP English Literature and Composition.

Teachers look for eloquence

Your writing has to be eloquent, and eloquence means fluent, elegant, and persuasive. An eloquent person can express strong emotions while using appropriate language and producing conviction or persuasion in the people listening or reading.

Remember, a score of 9 means that the writing is impressive. If this is what you are required to do, a good idea is to look up and read speeches of famous leaders or people you admire. For example, Barack Obama is a very talented speaker and this is because he has mastered eloquence. It wouldn’t hurt to use some of his work to study and see how he uses language to persuade, argue, and provoke emotion in people listening.

Now, remember, you won’t master eloquence in one AP English class. But you will for sure get started and improve throughout the school year, especially if you understand what you are expected to achieve and practice to do it. Essays are a challenging thing to master, but always keep in mind that practice makes perfect and that you will have multiple opportunities to fail and get back up, it is your choice.

Students are required to show good control of language

The keyword here is control. You might feel that by pushing an academic type of vocabulary you’ll score a higher grade. But the truth is that if you don’t know how to properly use a word and you just throw it in the middle of the essay because you think it will help you sound smart, you’ll end up hurting your grade.

We are not saying you shouldn’t learn new vocabulary, all we say is that by the time you make it to the exam, be sure to only put words you know how to properly use. Lengthy, 10-syllable words can look fancy but will only manage to hurt you if you misuse them.

Once you’ve reached the point where the test is right in front of you, the day to learn new vocabulary has passed, be aware of that and work with what you do know. You will have plenty of time during your college days to continue learning. It would be false to say that if you have really good use of vocabulary you’ll get a high score, keep in mind all of the elements involved in a good grade.

The choice is yours, to take advantage of school or to leave it for your college years.

No height or width is needed but gets on board with multiple uses of text, questions, composition, argument, and zero false statements. (Photo by J. Kelly Brito on Unsplash)

Pay Attention To The Thesis

The thesis statement is probably one of the most important elements of an essay and an exam. AP English exams are designed to see if you can understand the question and put all the elements of a good thesis together in a coherent sentence with a proper answer.

You will have to become well versed in this topic since it is a big part of your grade. A poor thesis will automatically give you a lower score. These tests are designed for that.

Make sure that the thesis includes your general argument followed by the top three ideas you will develop as you answer the main question or prompt. You also need to guarantee that all of the text that follows, which are the supportive paragraphs, are tied to your general argument.

Check our guide on how to write an AP English essay.

If all this information is a little overwhelming and you still have a lot of questions about the exams, know that you aren’t required to learn all this in one day. You will have the opportunity to develop these skills throughout the school year. But we would advise that you keep your eyes open for a window of opportunity to go over your doubts and questions with your teacher, they will be happy to answer any question you might have.

Use Rhetorical Strategies

Since you are going to analyze a literary piece, rhetorical devices are well in the mix. It is always a great idea to go back and study all these elements you’ve been taught throughout your school years.

So, let's refresh your mind. Here are some examples of rhetorical devices:

  • Hyperbole
  • Metaphor
  • Onomatopeia
  • Simile
Student studying for AP English
This class will prepare you to answer multiple college-level types of questions, so you better practice. (Photo by Ben White on jpg. Unsplash)


It would be a false claim to say that this course will be easy. You will have to study hard, get on board with any obstacle you encounter, and pass all the tests that will be thrown your way. Even if English language classes don’t require you to learn data analysis, math topics like width, height, or memorize nomenclature like url. or jpg., you still have to face many challenges and pass tests that are designed to make you put an effort, study and challenge yourself.

Know that you can always find tips and help if you look for a window of opportunity with your teacher or even if you find a tutor.

Need tutor?

Enjoyed this article?

5.00/5 - 1 vote(s)