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AP English Language » Overview


Course Objectives:

Welcome to AP English Language and Composition. This class has an extremely broad scope and high expectations in terms of how much knowledge and how many skills students must be able to demonstrate on class assignments and the AP exam. This is not merely a class but a way of life in terms of being aware of what is going on locally and globally, as well as forming thoughtful opinions on major issues.


According the College Board’s official course description, the main objective of AP English Language and Composition is to “. . . enable students to read complex texts with understanding and to write prose of sufficient richness and complexity to communicate effectively with mature readers. An AP English Language and Composition course should help students move beyond such programmatic responses as the five-paragraph essay that provides an introduction with a thesis and three reasons, body paragraphs on each reason, and a conclusion that restates the thesis.”


Course Organization

This AP English Language and Composition course should prepare juniors to utilize the following:

  • an expansive vocabulary used appropriately and effectively;
  • a myriad of sentence structures, including appropriate use of subordination and coordination;
  • logical and cohesive organization, enhanced by specific techniques to increase coherence, such as diction, repetition, transitions and emphasis;
  • a balance of generalization and specific illustrative detail; and
  • an effective use of rhetoric, including controlling tone, establishing and maintaining voice, and achieving appropriate emphasis through diction and sentence structure.


According to College Board, upon completing the AP English Language and Composition course, students should be able to do the following:


  •             Interpret and analyze purposeful writing, identifying and explaining an author’s use of rhetorical strategies. This process includes students’ understanding of what an author is saying, how an author is saying it, and why an author is saying it. Additionally, this process looks at how an author’s rhetorical choices develop meaning or achieve a particular purpose or effect with a given audience.


  •             Analyze images (e.g., photos, artwork and video) and other multimedia (e.g., music, speech, social media) for rhetorical features in order to acknowledge the power of visual literacy in understanding an author’s purpose.


  •             Use effective rhetorical strategies and techniques when composing. Students apply their analytical skills to their own writing so that they are reading like writers and writing like readers.


  •            Write for a variety of purposes. Students’ writing experiences in the course must exceed the timed writings that are assessed on the AP English Language and Composition Exam. For instance, students might undertake a lengthy and intensive inquiry into a problem or controversy, consulting and evaluating arguments and viewpoints presented in a variety of sources, and using those sources to provoke, complicate, and/or support their own responses to the problem or controversy.


  •            Students' writing in the course should also go through a process that includes feedback from other readers, revision, and proofreading. Finally, forms other than the essays featured in the exam have a place in the course, such as personal narrative, letters, advertisements, reviews, etc.


  •            Respond to different writing tasks according to their unique rhetorical and composition demands, and translate that rhetorical assessment into a plan for writing. Different contexts require different choices in creating and delivering texts. This goal addresses the importance of prewriting and planning in the writing process. Create and sustain original arguments based on information synthesized from readings, research, and/or personal observation and experience.


  •             Students learn to see argument as addressing a wide range of purposes in a variety of formats.


Source: College Board. “English Language and Composition Course Description.” Fall 2014. Web. 28 July 2015. <>.

2016 AP Exam Schedule

Week 1Morning 8 a.m.Afternoon 12 noon

May 2

Environmental Science


May 3

Computer Science A
Spanish Language and Culture

Art History
Physics 1: Algebra-Based

May 4

English Literature and Composition

Japanese Language and Culture
Physics 2: Algebra-Based

May 5

Calculus AB
Calculus BC

Chinese Language and Culture

May 6

German Language and Culture
United States History

European History

Studio Art—last day for Coordinators to submit digital portfolios (by 8 p.m. EDT) and to gather 2-D Design and Drawing students for physical portfolio assembly

Teachers should have forwarded students' completed digital portfolios to Coordinators before this date.

Week 2Morning 8 a.m.Afternoon 12 noonAfternoon 2 p.m.

May 9

Music Theory

Physics C: Mechanics

Physics C:
Electricity and Magnetism

May 10

United States Government and Politics

French Language and Culture
Spanish Literature and Culture


May 11

English Language and Composition

Italian Language and Culture


May 12

Comparative Government and Politics 
World History



May 13

Human Geography