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Important Updates

AP English Language and Composition Updates and New Resources for 2019-20


To help more students prepare for—and succeed on—the AP English Language and Composition Exam, we’ve clarified the course’s focus starting with the 2019-20 school year and are introducing new resources for your classroom. We’ve also moved exam registration to the fall, a best practice that improves students’ chances of earning college credit and placement.

Download the new course and exam description

New AP Resources
This August, we’re introducing AP Classroom, with a suite of new resources designed in collaboration with AP educators that will help give students personalized feedback throughout the year. These include in-depth unit guides, personal progress checks and a dashboard to measure student progress, and a question bank of real AP questions.

Learn more about AP Classroom


Course Overview

AP English Language and Composition is an introductory college-level composition course. Students cultivate their understanding of writing and rhetorical arguments through reading, analyzing, and writing texts as they explore topics like rhetorical situation, claims and evidence, reasoning and organization, and style.

Your new course and exam description (CED) for the 2019-20 school year more clearly outlines all required course content and skills and defines how they will be assessed on the exam.

Course Content

The course skills are organized within nine units that scaffold student development of the analysis and composition skills required for college credit. For each unit, the teacher selects a theme or topic and then chooses texts, typically short nonfiction pieces, that enable students to practice and develop the reading and writing skills for that unit. This course framework provides a description of what students should know and be able to do to qualify for college credit or placement.

The AP English Language and Composition framework is made up of nine units. As always, you have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like.

 Unit 1: Rhetorical Analysis I
 Unit 2: Argument I
 Unit 3: Synthesis I
 Unit 4: Rhetorical Analysis II
 Unit 5: Argument II
 Unit 6: Synthesis II
 Unit 7: Rhetorical Analysis III
 Unit 8: Argument III
 Unit 9: Synthesis III

Course Skills

The updated AP English Language and Composition framework included in the course and exam description outlines distinct skills that students should practice throughout the year—skills that will help them learn to think and act like writers.

 Skill Categories
 Exam Weighting (Multiple-Choice Section)
 1. Rhetorical Situation: Reading  Explain how writers’ choices reflect the components of the rhetorical situation.  11%–14%
 2. Rhetorical Situation: Writing  Make strategic choices in a text to address a rhetorical situation.  11%–14%
 3. Claims and Evidence: Reading  Identify and describe the claims and evidence of an argument.  13%–16%
 4. Claims and Evidence: Writing  Analyze and select evidence to develop and refine a claim.  11%–14%
 5. Reasoning and Organization: Reading  Describe the reasoning, organization, and development of an argument.  13%–16%
 6. Reasoning and Organization: Writing  Use organization and commentary to illuminate the line of reasoning in an argument.  11%–14%
 7. Style: Reading  Explain how writers’ stylistic choices contribute to the purpose of an argument.  11–14%
 8. Style: Writing  Select words and use elements of composition to advance an argument.  11–14%

AP and Higher Education

Higher education professionals play a key role developing AP courses and exams, setting credit and placement policies, and scoring student work. The AP Higher Education site features information on recruitment and admission, advising and placement, and more.

This chart shows recommended scores for granting credit, and how much credit should be awarded, for each AP course. Your students can look up credit and placement policies for colleges and universities on the AP Credit Policy Search.

Meet the current Development Committee for AP English Language and Composition.