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Course Updates

AP English Language and Composition has been updated for the 2019-20 school year to make things clearer for you and your students, define or limit scope, and better align with college-level expectations.

Course and exam information is now clearly presented in a course and exam description (CED).

The CED organizes the course into commonly taught units.

  • The CED organizes AP English Language and Composition into 9 units centered around rhetorical analysis, argumentation, and synthesis.
  • This series of units represents a sequence that is found in widely adopted college textbooks and that many AP English Language and Composition teachers have told us they follow.
  • By organizing the course content and skills into units, we’re able to give you and your students free formative assessments—personal progress checks—that you can assign throughout the year to measure student progress.
  • We want to respect your time and expertise by providing a road map you can modify and adapt to your local priorities and preferences. You can choose to follow this suggestion for how content can be sequenced and paced. As always, you’ll have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like.

The CED defines specific skills for students.

  • The course framework outlines distinct skills that AP English Language and Composition students should practice throughout the year. For example, students will establish a position on a subject and develop a claim, and explain how a line of reasoning relates to a claim.
  • Specific skills are matched to specific course content in the form of essential knowledge statements.
  • With this kind of specificity, you and your students will know how course content will be assessed on the AP Exam.

Some content has been removed to make the course more manageable for you and your students.

  • AP English Language and Composition teachers have told us that there is too much content to teach thoroughly and thoughtfully in a single school year.
  • In collaboration with AP teachers, college professors, and members of the AP English and Composition Development Committee, we’ve removed content that was deemed beyond the scope of the course.
  • Currently, the course description requires students to evaluate sources. Although students will still examine sources and select source material, the CED doesn't ask them to evaluate sources starting in the 2019-20 school year.

Exam Updates

Starting in the 2019-20 school year:

  • The 3 free-response questions will use new analytic rubrics, which will be consistent for each of the 3 question types. This change will give you more specific feedback on your Instructional Planning Reports (IPRs) about your students’ performance.
  • The exam will include multiple-choice questions that assess composition, in addition to ones that assess textual analysis.
  • A few types of multiple-choice questions (e.g., vocabulary in context and identification) will no longer appear on the exam. 
  • There will be a consistent range of difficulty in the reading passages across all versions of the exam from year to year.
  • The updated exam will strike a better balance between reading and composition.

Key Dates for AP English Language and Composition Teachers


  • 2019 AP Summer Institutes begin. Updated AP English Language and Composition workshop materials will be available to provide context on the CED, unit guides, and other new resources.
  • 2019 CED binders are available. You can preorder your free copy now using the 2019-20 AP Course and Exam Description Preorder Form.
  • August 1: The AP Classroom system resources—including unit guides, personal progress checks, progress dashboard, and question bank—become available, along with interactive tutorials on how to make the most of these resources with your students.
    • Completing a simple digital activation process will give you immediate access to the system and ensure your students can register for the exams by the new fall deadlines.*
    • If you’re teaching a new AP English Language and Composition course in 2019-20, you’ll need to have your AP Course Audit form approved by your administrator before you can access the system.*
  • Mid-August: 1-day workshops begin.
  • Your school’s AP coordinator will set up your class sections in the system. If your coordinator chooses not to create class sections, you can create your own.
  • Familiarize yourself with the system and start exploring the resources.
  • As you create your sequencing and pacing calendars, use the Course at a Glance and unit guides in the CED to inform your decisions. These can also help you determine how to fit the personal progress checks into your instruction so you and your students can receive timely instructional feedback.
  • Access the AP question bank to see what questions are available for you to assign to your students for instructional and assessment purposes throughout the year.
  • Before classes start, log in to the system to get join codes for each of your class sections.*
  • Post the join code for your class section on the board or distribute it to your students. Tell students to log in and join you class section before the next class.*
  • October 4: Preferred deadline for your AP coordinator to order 2020 AP Exams.
  • November 15: Deadline for your AP coordinator to order 2020 AP Exams. 
  • Use your progress dashboard to see where students are demonstrating strength and where they have opportunities for further growth.
  • January 31, 2020: Deadline to submit your AP English Language and Composition Course Audit form and have it approved by your administrator for 2019-20 AP Course Audit authorization.*
  • Before March: If your course started after November 15, 2019, make sure that all your students have joined your AP Classroom section and are following your AP coordinator’s directions about registering for AP Exams.*
  • March 13, 2020: Deadline for your AP coordinator to place exam orders for students in courses that started after November 15, 2019.*
  • Use the AP question bank and feedback on the progress dashboard to help students prepare for their AP Exams.
  • May 2020: AP Exam administration.

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