If you are thinking about taking AP Lit next year, this guide will answer all of your questions! You will learn the difficulty level, the course content, and how it differs from AP Lang.
What is AP Lit?
AP Lit is short for AP English Literature and Composition and is a class for college credits. In this course there is a heavy emphasis on reading rather than writing. You read multiple books, essays, poems, plays, short stories, and other forms of text. You are expected to be able to read and analyze complex works of literature.
What do you learn in AP English literature and composition class?
In AP Lit, essentially you learn how to read and analyze various texts from different time periods. You are taught to be able to grasp important details, themes, and concepts within texts. There are 9 units divided into 3 sections: short fiction, poetry, & longer fiction or drama. Here is an overview of each section:
1. Short Fiction – Throughout the semester you read several shorter texts. These are usually printed papers that you are expected to annotate. Usually each text will be analyzed and discussed no longer than a few class periods. Oftentimes classes start and end with these short stories, and they are read throughout the year. You may also read short plays and then watch the movie adaptation.
2. Poetry – Oftentimes AP Lit is students’ first serious exposure to poetry. In this class you read dozens of poems and even write your own poetry. You are taught all about poetic techniques, poetry vs verse, and how to write a great poem. Poetry is a very appealing part of the class to many students.
3. Longer Fiction or Drama – Expect to read 2-3 longer books throughout the year. Many of the AP Lit books contain very abstract ideas and can be difficult to read. If you are a quick reader, some of these books will force you to slow down. For many, the most rigorous part of AP Lit is the reading, annotating, and quizzing on the longer books.
How hard is AP Lit?
AP Lit is definitely not an easy class. With that being said, if you enjoy reading, the work you put in is enjoyable. What makes AP Lit more difficult is that you can not “BS” your work, like in other english classes. The texts you read are complex, and require close, careful readings. As long as you are willing to take the time to understand the details and concepts of what you are reading the class is definitely doable. The class does require time and effort, but the content is very interesting!
AP Lit vs AP Lang
Essentially, AP Lit is more reading focused while AP Lang is more writing focused. There is definitely overlap in both the classes. In AP Lit there are usually a few writing assignments, and in AP Lang there are usually a few texts covered. AP Lit is designed to make you a stronger reader and help you develop analytical skills as you read various texts. AP Lang is designed to make you a stronger writer, and write more articulately. The two classes aren’t drastically different, but there are definitely some differences.
Is AP Lit harder than AP Lang?
The general consensus is that AP Lit is harder than AP Lang. AP Lit usually is more work since it requires a lot of reading complex texts. However, with that being said, it is important to look at 2 key factors:
1. Your skill set. If you are a weak writer, then perhaps AP Lit will be much easier for you. If you hate reading, than perhaps AP Lang will be easier for you. It is important for you to evaluate your strengths when deciding which class to take.
2. Your teacher. Every school is different, and the workload and difficulty of each class varies per teacher. It is important to ask students who have taken the classes from your school to get more opinions.
AP Lit books
The AP Lit exam covers a variety of texts each year. Your teacher will design their curriculum to cover all the content that you need to know on the exam. The exam allows you to select which questions you answer based on the books you have read. If you want to know the specific books, consult your teacher.
How many hours of homework is AP Lit?
AP Lit is usually around 1 hour of homework per night. This number varies per assignment, however. Some days, you will be asked to read and annotate 30 pages of a complex text while other days you will just have to read and annotate a poem. The homework in AP Lit can not be “BS”ed, because you must understand the concepts and details in the texts read to succeed in the class.
When is the AP Lit exam?
The 2023 AP Lit exam date is Wednesday May 3rd at 8:00 AM CST. The date varies per year, however.
How long is the AP Lit exam?
The AP Lit exam is 3 hours long and is composed of 2 sections. The first section is 1 hour and 55 multiple choice questions. The second section is 2 hours and 3 free response essay questions.
Can you get college credit for both AP Lit & AP Lang?
There is a popular misconception that you can not get college credit for both AP Lit and AP Lang. The two classes fall under two different college classes, so you can absolutely get credit for both. Some schools will take both as english credits, while others will take one as an english credit and one as a general electives credit. There are a few schools who do not take AP credits, however, so it is important to research the schools that you are interested in. Most colleges have clearly stated AP credit policies.
Can you self study for the AP Lit exam?
You definitely can self study for the AP Lit exam! If you have the time to read several complex books in depth, then you can absolutely self study for the exam. It is important to make sure that you are reading the right texts for the exam.
Is AP Lit worth taking?
AP Lit is absolutely worth taking if you love reading! If you are not an english person, this class may be a struggle. AP Literature and Composition is definitely a lot of work, but the content is very interesting. Additionally, you do get college credit and truly advance your reading skills. You read a variety of texts including poetry, plays, and classic novels and advance your analytical skills.