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Important Updates

2021 Exam Information

Updated April 8 Students can now download the digital testing application and take digital practice to prepare them for the testing experience. See below for more information on digital practice and taking the digital exam.

AP English Language and Composition Exams will be offered on paper in early May and as a digital exam in late May and early June.

The paper and the digital versions of the AP English Language and Composition Exam will be full length, containing the typical multiple-choice and free-response sections and covering the full scope of course content, giving students the opportunity to qualify for college credit and placement.

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP English Language and Composition only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

Learn more about 2021 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 AP Daily: Live Review sessions April 19–29.

Sign In to AP Classroom

Exam Overview

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

Encourage your students to visit the AP English Language and Composition student page for exam information.

Digital Practice and Testing Information

Updated April 8

Digital Practice Now Available

Starting April 8, students can try out the test-day experience by answering example questions in the digital testing application.  See the Digital Practice page for general information about practice options.

AP English Language and Composition students will have two options to answer example questions in the digital testing application. Both provide approximately the same time limit per question as the full exam.

  • Digital Practice has a shortened multiple-choice section (14 questions, 20 minutes), a shortened break of 5 minutes, and a full-length free-response section (3 questions, 2 hours and 15 minutes). 
  • The App Demo is an even shorter subset of the questions in Digital Practice–5 multiple-choice questions, a 2-minute break, and 1 free-response question.

We highly recommend all students take the Digital Practice, and strongly advise that if they can’t take the Digital Practice, they at least take the App Demo. Both can be taken multiple times, and can be accessed directly in the digital testing application. Students can access their answers and solution materials (MCQ answer key, FRQ scoring guidelines) for the Digital Practice. Note: Taking the App Demo after completing Digital Practice may override student answers from Digital Practice. Teachers can also access digital practice from the teacher dashboard, available beginning April 22.

Taking the Digital Exam

Students should be aware of some aspects of testing digitally that they’ll encounter—in the Digital Practice and on exam day:

  • The digital testing application includes an annotation tool, which allows students to mark text and make notes on passages. Students can use the digital annotation tool to identify key elements within texts, organize their thoughts, and create brief textual analysis. While the annotations that students construct will not be scored, annotating is an opportunity for students to interpret texts to help them answer multiple-choice or free-response questions.
  • Some multiple-choice questions reference a part of the text provided. Students can click on the » symbol shown in the question to automatically scroll to the referenced location.
  • Free-response questions will be presented in a different order on the digital exam (as well as on Digital Practice) than on the paper and pencil exam–see "Exam Format" below.
  • On the Synthesis question (FRQ 2 on the digital exam), students will view the Sources directly in the exam app. They should click on the tabs on the left side of the screen, lettered A through F, to view one source at a time. They may need to scroll down to view the tabs and the complete sources.
  • As a reminder, students will answer all multiple-choice questions and type all free-response answers directly in the digital exam application. Scratch paper is permitted for notes or planning, but students cannot handwrite or otherwise upload responses
  • Students cannot go back to questions they’ve already answered, and cannot skip ahead. 
  • Exam directions and section-specific directions will not be read by a proctor–they’ll appear entirely in the application. Students will see them at the beginning of each section, and can access them at any time during the exam. Please note that the exam timer starts when the directions appear. While students should read the directions, they should be aware that the timer will be running while they do so. Teachers and students can view the full text of the exam and section directions in advance of the exam.

More information about taking digital exams is available in the Digital Testing Guide.

Digital Exam Readiness Dashboard

Beginning April 22, AP teachers and AP coordinators will have access to a new digital exam readiness dashboard. Teachers and coordinators will access the dashboard from their personalized AP login page (after signing in through AP Central or through myap.collegeboard.org). The dashboard can be used to monitor students’ progress in taking the steps necessary before and on exam day to enable them to take a digital exam. See details in the “Preparing for Digital AP Exams” section of the AP Digital Testing Guide.

Exam Dates

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

    AP English Language and Composition Exam—Administration 1

    Paper, In School
    •  
  • Event
    • WED, May 26, 2021, 12 PM EDT

    AP English Language and Composition Exam—Administration 2

    Digital, In School and At Home
    •  
  • Event
    • MON, Jun 7, 2021, 12 PM EDT

    AP English Language and Composition Exam—Administration 3

    Digital, In School and At Home
    •  

Exam Format

The AP English Language and Composition Exam has question types and point values that stay consistent from year to year, so you and your students know what to expect on exam day.

Note on 2021 exams: Both the paper and digital versions of the AP English Language and Composition Exam will be full length, containing the typical multiple-choice and free-response sections, and cover the full range of skills and knowledge specified in the course and exam description.

There are differences between the paper and digital versions of some 2021 AP Exams, and those variations differ by course. The information below applies to AP English Language and Composition only. View a summary of all 2021 AP Exam formats.

Section I: Multiple Choice

45 Questions | 1 hour | 45% of Exam Score

  • 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.
  • For digital exams, please note that Reading and Writing sets will appear in a different order on the paper and pencil and digital exams:
    • On the paper and pencil exam, the sets appear in the following order:  Reading, Reading, Writing, Writing, Writing.
    • On the digital exam, the sets appear in the following order: Writing, Reading, Reading, Writing, Writing. Just like on the paper exam, all the questions in each set appear consecutively–in other words, once a student has finished answering questions about a particular text, they won’t have any more questions about that text.

Section II: Free Response

3 Questions | 2 hours 15 minutes (includes a 15-minute reading period | 55% of Exam Score

  • 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.
  • Please note: FRQs will be presented in a different order on paper and pencil and digital exams, as follows:
    • Order of FRQs on paper and pencil exams
      1. Synthesis
      2. Rhetorical Analysis
      3. Argument
    • Order of FRQs on digital exams
      1. Argument
      2. Synthesis
      3. Rhetorical Analysis

Exam Questions and Scoring Information

2021: Free-Response Questions
Questions

Free-Response Questions

 

Past Exam Questions and Scoring Information