AP Literature Vs AP Language
Choosing between AP Literature and AP Language can be a challenge, especially for students who aren’t sure what they want to major in college. But knowing what the classes are about can help you make the right decision.
For starters, consider what types of books you like to read and whether you want to study fiction or nonfiction. Also, look at the class syllabi provided by the College Board.
What is AP Literature?
AP Literature covers a wider range of fiction, focusing on literary devices like character development, plot, and theme. You’ll also analyze the way that poems and passages are structured. This might be a familiar subject for you, as previous English classes might have covered many of these topics.
Alternatively, AP Language and Composition deconstructs rhetorical strategies used in non-fiction works. These could be journalism, memoirs, essays, satire, or even comics. It might be a new experience, but a useful skill for college and beyond.
On the exam, you’ll answer 55 multiple choice questions (45% of your score) and write three essay prompts (55% of your score). The essay prompts will ask you to compare excerpts from different sources with a focus on writing that uses “close reading and thoughtful rhetorical analysis.” It’s important to know which works have comparable literary merit for this section. You’ll not be given the full text of these excerpts, so you must be prepared to read extensively from the list of works provided.
What is AP Language?
AP Language is a writing-intensive class that studies nonfiction literature and rhetorical techniques. Students will write free-response essays with different aims, including to explain an idea, argue for a position, or persuade readers.
The AP language exam consists of two reading passages and three writing passages. The multiple-choice questions account for 45% of your score, while the essay portion carries 55%.
AP language has a broad scope that will help you in many majors, such as science or engineering. However, if you know you want to focus on the arts or humanities, then a class with a deeper focus in literary analysis might be better for you. You’ll still gain valuable writing skills in a poetry appreciation or prose novel analysis class, but the subject matter will be more specific.
What is the Difference Between the Two?
Ultimately, the decision between taking AP Literature or AP Language comes down to your preferences, strengths and career aspirations. Both classes are difficult and require hard work and dedication. It also depends on the quality of the teacher.
AP Literature involves reading and writing about fiction, poetry, and drama from different periods and cultures. The course requires a good understanding of literary devices like allegory and hyperbole. It also requires an ability to understand and analyze themes, motifs, and symbols.
AP Language examines non-fiction texts from different fields and disciplines. The class teaches students to write commentaries on these texts and evaluate the author’s point of view, style, organization and tone. It’s important to understand how these elements influence a text’s meaning and purpose in order to be able to critique it. The class will also teach students to use a variety of rhetorical strategies, including ethos, pathos and logos. It is important to understand these concepts so that you can write persuasive essays.
Which Course is Right for Me?
There are a few key factors to consider when choosing which AP English class to take. First, consider which kind of reading and writing you enjoy more. While a strong interest in both is necessary for success in both classes, it may be more manageable for some students to focus on one type of text than the other.
Second, look at the syllabi for both AP English Lit and AP English Language. The College Board provides sample syllabi for each course on its website, and these syllabi can help you understand the topics, reading materials, and skills the College Board expects teachers to teach.
Lastly, check out the College Board’s released AP exam questions for both courses. By studying these questions, you can see what the test-taking experience will be like for both classes and get a sense of the difficulty of each.