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AP English Language and Composition study guide

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Do you need additional resources to be prepared for the AP English Language and Composition Exam? Read further for simple ways you can adjust your studying as well as the best study guides to use.

Table of Contents

AP English Language & Composition Study Guide

There are so many opportunities available to students in this day and age and it is not surprising AP classes are a very popular attraction for high school students. The Advanced Placement program, often referred to as the AP program, has an extensive number of classes available to high schoolers nationwide including AP English Language and Composition. Do you need help to pass your AP Lang exam?

AP English Language and Composition Study Guide

AP English language and composition study guide is a comprehensive guide designed to be a test prep and also function as a rubric for the AP English language exam. The study guide for the college board exam focuses on all major sections of the test. It sets the student up for success with an exam description and practice tests using practice questions about nonfiction texts including question types like multiple-choice questions and essay questions. It will teach the student how to expand on their writing skills and diction on any given topic of reading passages and to use proper word choice with supporting evidence, counterarguments, rhetorical choices, figurative language, line of reasoning, and their knowledge of English literature to create an argument essay, a synthesis essay, a rhetorical analysis essay. Students can peruse the table of contents to find the section they need to focus their efforts on studying.

AP English – What Is It?

AP English is an introductory college course helping students explore and encourage their writing and rhetorical analysis knowledge. Understanding and comprehension are increased through reading, writing, and analyzing texts. Former AP English Language and Composition students have rated the class as moderately difficult requiring 1 to 3 hours of study time per hour of in-class/lecture time. That being said, an average of 5-7.5 hours of reading and study are essential for success.

Why Is It Important?

AP English Language can save parents hundreds if not thousands of dollars on college classes and tuition costs. The composition exam and all AP tests cost less than $90 to take thus saving the cost of the class at college. Taking AP classes in high school can provide a student with more opportunities to finish their bachelor’s degree sooner or even double major in college. 

How Will This Help With Future Education?

AP English Language is an important stepping stone for those students looking to develop and foster their critical thinking skills while learning how to manage their time appropriately to ensure college readiness and success. They learn how to effectively study and prepare for college-level courses and exams with some guidance from their high school teacher, whereas once a student reaches college they are immediately thrust into course work with only the syllabus as their guide. AP Language and Composition helps a student prepare for all college-level courses in that, it fosters critical thinking and a student’s own writing abilities.

Exam Overview

The AP English Language and Composition Exam will require an understanding of literary elements and the ability to synthesize written responses and interpretations of reading prompts to show a student’s comprehension of the concepts covered in the course units.


How Hard Is The AP English Language And Composition Exam?

The difficulty of the course may vary from student to student, and teacher to teacher. The difficulty is based on the depth of understanding a student has of the course material and their ability to study and use literary elements like point of view, parallelism, rhetorical devices, and synthesis of essays. The difficulty is also based on the practice of study and reading period.

How Difficult Is It? How Many Hours Of Reading And Prep Is Required On Average?

The AP English Language course can be as difficult as the teacher or student make it. If the student fails to read consistently or struggles with writing and making revisions they may have a difficult time with the coursework. Likewise, a student may also find it difficult if the teacher doesn’t prepare them for the level of reading or writing arrangement required of the college-level course. It is estimated that 1 to 3 hours of reading and study time are needed per one hour of class time. That is an average requirement of 3 to 15 hours needed per week.

What’s On The AP English Language & Composition Exam?

The AP English Language and Composition Exam consists of an essay section and a multiple choice section. Both are designed to test a student’s literary knowledge of concepts and strategies, as well as, their ability to synthesize a thesis statement and body paragraphs into a well-structured essay. Students are tested on these aspects through multiple choice questions and essay questions. 

How Long Is The AP English Language Exam

Students have a total of 3 hours and 15 minutes to complete the AP English Language Exam. The 45 question, multiple-choice section is allotted 60 minutes to complete garnering 45% of the overall exam score. The free-response section is three essay questions where the student has 2 hours and 15 minutes to present their argument or analysis in response to the prompt given.

Sections And Question Types

The AP English Language and Composition Exam consists of two parts: the multiple-choice section and the free response section. Each section is specifically created to challenge the student and display their knowledge of syntax and literary functions while answering passage questions that encourage critical thinking and organizational writing skills.

Multiple Choice 

The multiple-choice section is made of two types of questions. There are approximately 23 to 25 reading questions for a student to answer and 20 to 22 writing questions to answer. A passage of text is provided for the student to respond to prompts or questions based on the sample passage. There are 45 questions in total and 60 minutes to complete them. This section has the largest amount of questions but only comprises 45% of the exam score.

Free Response

Free response questions in this section will contain three essay prompts, among those prompts are an argument essay, a rhetorical essay, and a synthesis essay form. The student will need to create an answer in essay form that will answer each prompt in the essay form that is asked of them. In the argument essay, the response should contain a thesis statement that defends their position on the argument. Supporting evidence must be provided for the line of reasoning. The rhetorical essay is the student’s analysis of the written passage provided. They must be able to interpret the deeper meaning within the passage and equate it to the writing style the author uses. In order, to properly complete this essay the student must be able to use rhetorical strategies and apply them to an unfamiliar writing passage. For a complete answer to the synthesis essay, the student will need to write a response that includes at least three of 6 to 7 accompanying sources as support for their answer. And as in all cases of all English tests, syntax with appropriate grammar and punctuation must be followed. This section has the fewest amount of questions but it is the most difficult section with its scoring rubric making up 55% of the exam score. Each essay is worth 6 points and the allotted time is 2 hours and 15 minutes. 

The Best App To Listen To The Study Guide For The AP English Language Composition

Listening to the AP English Language and Composition Study Guide on the Speechify app will help students increase their study efficiency. Students who listen to their guide can retain up to 75% more of the information they are consuming. It also allows the student to study their course material twice as fast as reading. With a common reading speed of 200 words per minute, this can be doubled to 400 words per minute or more using the Speechify app. 

With Speechify For Chrome, Prep, And Read Along

Speechify is rated as the #1 text-to-speech app with over 150,000 5-star reviews. It is available with a Chrome extension to turn text into natural sounding voice. With this voice app, a student can improve their focus and remember more of what they read while maximizing their time thus increasing their consumed coursework content to 2 to 3 times. Since Speechify is an app it can go wherever the student goes.

AP English & Composition-How You Can Listen To The Study Guide/Audio Guide

Anyone can turn any book into an audiobook, including students and their study guides and it can happen instantly. The hardest part is scanning your hardcopy into the app. Speechify can read anything you want from a PDF. Once you download the extension from your browser open the camera icon and choose the multi-scan option. Once there, use your device’s camera and make sure you have all words in the frame on the screen. After you’ve taken all your pictures select the arrow button. That’s all there is to it to listen to your AP English and composition study guide in audio. 

Listen While Working Out, Running, Commuting…A Better Way

Having your study guide as an audiobook allows you, the student to use time more efficiently. You can study while commuting instead of wasting time sitting still you can be reading your course work quickly. When you study while working out you are focused on the topic of your audio instead of the difficulty of your workout thus producing both more efficiently. 

Preparing For The AP Exam

Preparation for the AP English Language and composition exam is not an overnight studying experience. It is a dedicated learning and organized preparation over the expense of the course. A student must study 3 to 15 hours per week to receive a score of five for their efforts on this AP exam. Preparation is meticulous and time-consuming but it can be more effective if a student elects to use a text-to-speech audio reader like Speechify.

Study Better With Smart Study Tools

Students who have a daily study routine in place are more likely to be prepared for the exam and struggle less. With study tools like daily reading, a student will be more versed in vocabulary and writing styles that will help them identify syntax and rhetorical situations. Smart study tools like Speechify allow a student to read faster, improve their memory, and practice difficult pronunciations while focusing more and comprehending better. This, in turn, allows students with learning challenges like dyslexia and ADHD to have a reading experience that encourages them and helps them embrace their difficulties and not hide them away. 

There’s An Easy And More Efficient Way To Retain…With Speechify

There is an easier, more efficient way to retain the reading skills and material for passing with an exam score of 5. Most often when a student is studying for a test they need a quiet place to study without distractions. Maintaining focus is of utmost importance and silencing your phone or social media notifications on your computer is the first step to good study habits. A student’s busy lifestyle in college makes this a less likely outcome for them to achieve. Students may find all of these steady habits hard to attain that is why Speechify is such a valuable app for them to increase their reading consumption and retention of their course material. 

Speechify will allow students to save up to two hours or more every day while listening to their course material instead of just reading. This increases memory because not only does a student have visual cues but they also have audio cues. This makes future recollection greater because the student can pull a memory from not one but two sources.

Audio Like Speechify Helps If You Have Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a learning disorder that can affect a student’s reading, writing, spelling, and in some situations speaking ability. Dyslexics often have difficulty differentiating letters, numbers, symbols, and words when viewing them as text on paper or a screen. With their difficulty, they may reverse these numbers or letters in their mind as they read or as they represent these words on paper or a screen. With Speechify, a student can listen to the words as they read making it less likely for them to misrepresent when they recall the information.

Test Taking Tips

To excel on your AP English Language and Composition Exam be sure to practice good test-taking tips like the following:


  1. Make studying a daily habit and start this habit at the beginning of your course.

  2. Take advantage of study guides and other materials provided by your instructor to aid in the understanding of your coursework.

  3. Join a study group and quiz each other.

  4. Take practice tests.

  5. Read, read, and read some more.

  6. Make Speechify your go-to text-to-speech app to help you read faster and retain more for a better experience on your AP English language and composition exam.

Study Tips

Students must first recognize that reading and writing are twin sisters. Good writing skills are attained with good reading skills, therefore, students must read and write daily to further develop and master these abilities. Some tips to increase the dexterity of the reading and writing muscles are:

  • Be diligent in your reading habits

  • Logically organize your writing ideas

  • Make good use of your time by using a text-to-speech app like Speechify to read daily material.

  • Hone your observation skills while gathering supporting evidence from reading material.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 3 essays for AP Lang?

Argument, rhetorical, and synthesis are the three types of essays on the AP English Language and Composition Exam.

What is a thesis?

A thesis is the main idea of the essay, a claim that the writer intends to prove throughout.

What are the best AP Lang study guides?

The best AP Lang study guides are:

  1. Barron’s AP English Language and Composition 10th Edition by George Ehrenhaft.

  2. Cracking the AP English Language & Composition Exam 2022 Edition by Princeton Review.

  3. CliffsNotes AP English Literature and Composition 4th Edition.

  4. 5 Steps to a 5: AP English Language 2022 Edition.

What are the most important things to know for the AP Lang and Comp test?

Make studying daily a routine and habit from the beginning of your AP course.

What is the most recent edition of the book?

Discover the most recent edition of a book by perusing the bottom of the copyright page at the front of the book. The edition will be labeled by “ first, second, or so on” followed by the year.


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