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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, some students may feel unsure about taking AP Exams in May. So that students feel comfortable registering by the fall deadline, this year there will be no fees whatsoever if a student decides not to test or to cancel their exams. Every AP student should keep their options open by registering for the exam on time because there will still be a $40 fee for late orders.

View the latest information on testing.

AP Questions and Feedback Throughout the Year
AP practice exams and past exam questions are available in the AP Classroom question bank. Personal progress checks are also available to ensure your students build mastery of content and skills. The progress dashboard highlights progress for every student and class across units.

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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

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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

Sign in to AP Classroom to access resources including the 2020 free-response questions, personal progress checks, the AP question bank, and practice exams aligned to the current course.

If your students answered free-response questions on the AP Exam in 2020, you can access their responses in the Student Response Portal. Learn more about how to access 2020 FRQs and students’ exam responses.

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.

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.