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Important Updates

New Samples and Scoring Commentary
Student samples from the 2018 and 2019 exams that have been re-scored using the 2020 rubrics, along with specific scoring guidelines and commentaries that explain the assigned scores, are now available on this page.

Rubric Webinars in October and November
Visit the professional development page to learn more about webinars that’ll help you get to know the new AP English rubrics.

Updates to CED, Rubrics, and Scoring Guidelines
The AP English Literature and Composition CED has been updated, along with the rubrics and CED sample question scoring guidelines. Please refer to the errata sheet for details about the specific updates that were made.

Accessing Practice Materials
We’ve introduced a suite of new resources and a daily support tool called AP Classroom for teachers and students to use throughout the year. Designed and tested in collaboration with AP teachers, these resources include unit guides that cover the content and skills assessed on the exam, personal progress checks, and a dashboard to highlight strengths and opportunities for growth.

Create personalized practice with a library of multiple-choice and free-response AP questions you can assign to students online or on paper using the question bank in AP Classroom. Learn more about the new resources.

Sign In to AP Classroom

Exam Overview

Exam questions assess the course concepts and skills outlined in the course framework. For more information on exam weighting, download the AP English Literature and Composition Course and Exam Description (CED). Scoring guidelines for each of the sample free-response questions in the CED are also available, along with scoring rubrics that apply to the free-response questions, regardless of specific question prompts.

The CED, scoring guidelines, and rubrics documents were updated in September 2019. Please see this errata sheet for details about the specific updates that were made.

  • Event
    • Wed, May 6, 2020

    AP English Literature and Composition Exam Day

    • 8 a.m. | 3 hrs

Exam Format

The AP English Literature and Composition Exam will continue to have consistent question types, weighting, and scoring guidelines every year, so you and your students know what to expect on exam day. There will also be a consistent range of difficulty in the reading passages across all versions of the exam from year to year. The free-response questions will be scored using analytic rubrics, rather than
the current holistic rubrics.

Section 1: Multiple Choice

55 Questions | 1 Hour | 45% of Exam Score

  • Includes 5 sets of questions with 8–13 questions per set.
  • Each set is preceded by a passage of prose fiction, drama, or poetry of varying difficulty.
  • The multiple-choice section will always include at least 2 prose fiction passages (this may include drama) and at least 2 poetry passages.

 Section 2: Free Response

3 Questions | 2 Hours | 55% of Exam Score

  • Students write essays that respond to 3 free-response prompts from the following categories:
    • A literary analysis of a given poem
    • A literary analysis of a given passage of prose fiction (this may include drama) 
    • An analysis that examines a specific concept, issue, or element in a work of literary merit selected by the student


Scoring Information for 2019-20

The free-response question sample packets below are aligned with the AP English Literature and Composition Course and Exam Description. Please note that the CED was updated in September 2019; complete details can be found in the errata sheet.

These samples are actual student responses from the 2018 and 2019 exams, re-scored using the 2020 rubrics. Scoring commentaries and specific scoring guidelines that explain how the rubrics were applied are also provided below. 

  Samples Commentaries Scoring Guidelines

Questions originally from the 2018 exam

Scoring Guidelines

Questions originally from the 2019 exam

Scoring Guidelines

Exam Questions and Scoring Information

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