beginning of content:

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.

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 and scoring, download the AP English Literature and Composition Course and Exam Description (CED).

  • Event
    • WED, MAY 5, 2021, 8 AM LOCAL

    AP English Literature and Composition Exam Day


Exam Format

The AP English Literature and Composition Exam has 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


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.

2020 Exam: Free-Response Questions, Student Sample Responses, and Scoring Information
Prompts and Student Samples Scoring Commentaries Scoring Information

Prompt for Sample Packet 1 – Eng

Sample Packet 1 – Eng

Scoring Commentaries Packet 1 – Eng

Scoring Guidelines – Eng

Prompt for Sample Packet 2 –  Johnson

Sample Packet 2 – Johnson

Scoring Commentaries Packet 2 – Johnson

Scoring Guidelines – Johnson

Prompt for Sample Packet 3 – Porter

Sample Packet 3 – Porter

Scoring Commentaries Packet 3 – Porter

Scoring Guidelines – Porter

Scoring Distributions

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.