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Important Updates

2021 Exam Information
AP Exams will cover the full content in each course, giving students the opportunity to receive college credit and placement.

Given the uncertainties of the 2020-21 school year, this year there will be no fees whatsoever if a student decides not to test or to cancel their exams.

View the latest information on testing.

AP Daily and AP Classroom
Short, searchable AP Daily videos can be assigned alongside topic questions to help you cover all course content, skills, and task models, and check student understanding. Unlock personal progress checks so students can demonstrate their knowledge and skills unit by unit and use the progress dashboard to highlight progress and additional areas for support. As the exam approaches, assign AP practice exams in the AP Classroom question bank and encourage students to take advantage of live online review sessions April 19–30.

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Exam Overview

Exam questions assess the course concepts and skills outlined in the course framework. For more information on exam weighting and scoring, download the AP English Language and Composition Course and Exam Description (CED).

  • Event
    • WED, MAY 12, 2021, 8 AM LOCAL TIME

    AP English Language and Composition Exam Day

    •  

Exam Format

Starting with the 2021 exam, the AP English Language and Composition Exam will have question types and point values that stay consistent from year to year, so you and your students know what to expect on exam day.

Exam Updates
2019 Exam Starting with the 2021 Exam

Section I: Multiple Choice

52–55 Questions | 1 Hour | 45% of Exam Score

  • Questions focus exclusively on rhetorical analysis and are presented in 4 sets built around lengthy stimulus passages.
  • The distribution of different question types varies.

Section I: Multiple Choice

45 Questions | 1 Hour | 45% of Exam Score

  • Questions will be presented in 5 sets, with shorter stimulus passages.
  • 23–25 Reading questions
  • 20–22 Writing questions

 

Section II: Free Response

3 Free-Response Questions | 2 Hours 15 Minutes (includes a 15-minute reading period) | 55% of Exam Score

  • 1 synthesis question
  • 1 rhetorical analysis question
  • 1 argument question

The free-response questions are scored using holistic rubrics.

Section II: Free Response

3 Free-Response Questions | 2 Hours 15 Minutes (includes a 15-minute reading period) | 55% of Exam Score

  • 1 synthesis question
  • 1 rhetorical analysis question
  • 1 argument question

The free-response questions will now be scored using analytic rubrics.

Exam Tasks and Content

Section 1: Multiple Choice

  • Includes 5 sets of questions:
    • 23–25 Reading questions that ask students to read and analyze nonfiction texts.
    • 20–22 Writing questions that ask students to “read like a writer” and consider revisions to stimulus texts.

Section 2: Free Response

  • Students write essays that respond to 3 free-response prompts from the following categories:
    • Synthesis Question: After reading 6–7 texts about a topic (including visual and quantitative sources), students will compose an argument that combines and cites at least 3 of the sources to support their thesis.
    • Rhetorical Analysis: Students will read a nonfiction text and analyze how the writer’s language choices contribute to the intended meaning and purpose of the text.
    • Argument: Students will create an evidence-based argument that responds to a given topic.

Exam Questions and Scoring Information

2020 Free-Response Questions

2020 free-response questions are now in the AP Classroom question bank for teachers to assign to students as homework or in class, and do not require secure assessment. These questions have been updated, where possible, to best match the format of free-response questions in the course and exam description and on traditional AP Exams.

Sign in to AP Classroom to access resources including personal progress checks and a question bank with topic questions and practice exams aligned to the current course and exam.

To preserve the large number of new FRQs for teacher use, only teachers have access to the 2020 FRQs. If you are a higher education faculty member interested in seeing questions, please fill out this request form.

Student Samples and Scoring Commentaries from the 2020 Exam

A selection of prompts, student responses, and scoring information from the 2020 exam is available below. These resources align with the new rubric. You can find all of the 2020 FRQs and corresponding scoring information in AP Classroom.

Additional Samples and Scoring Information for 2020-21

The free-response sample packets below contain actual student responses from the 2018 and 2019 exams, re-scored using the rubrics that were meant to take effect with the May 2020 exams. Scoring commentaries and specific scoring guidelines that explain how the rubrics were applied are also provided below.

*Important: These documents may refer to the “2020 exam” or the “2020 rubric” since they were released before the coronavirus crisis caused a temporary shift to a shortened, online format for May 2020. The first full exam administered with these rubrics will be in May 2021.

  Samples Commentaries Scoring Guidelines

Questions originally from the 2018 exam

Question 1

Question 2

Question 3

Question 1

Question 2

Question 3

Scoring Guidelines

Questions originally from the 2019 exam

Question 1

Question 2

Question 3

Question 1

Question 2

Question 3

Scoring Guidelines

Past Exam Questions and Scoring Information

For free-response questions and scoring information from the 2019 and earlier exams, visit Past Exam Questions.