English language and composition

Cultivate your understanding of writing and rhetorical arguments


AP Language and Composition (Writer’s Craft) is recommended to students who are highly motivated and have a keen interest in and aptitude for the art of writing. It teaches students to become both skilled readers of prose written in a variety of forms by skilled writers who compose for varying purposes, and it prepares students to write the AP Language and Composition Exam. The aim of this course is to enable students to understand complex texts and to write prose of sufficient richness and complexity to communicate effectively with mature readers. During the course, students become aware of the interactions among a writer’s intentions, audience expectations, and subjects as well as generic conventions and the resources of language that contribute to good writing style. Moreover, students will continually develop their own writing voice while they study and learn to employ a variety of rhetorical strategies.

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Course Content

The course skills are organized within nine units that scaffold student development of the analysis and composition skills required for college credit. For each unit, the teacher selects a theme or topic and then chooses texts, typically short nonfiction pieces, that enable students to practice and develop the reading and writing skills for that unit. This course framework provides a description of what students should know and be able to do to qualify for college credit or placement. As always, you have the flexibility to organize the course content as you like. 

The AP English Language and Composition course focuses on the development and revision of evidence-based analytic and argumentative writing, the rhetorical analysis of nonfiction texts, and the decisions writers make as they compose and revise. Students evaluate, synthesize, and cite research to support their arguments. Additionally, they read and analyze rhetorical elements and their effects in nonfiction texts—including images as forms of text— from a range of disciplines and historical periods.

Course Content

The updated AP English Language and Composition framework included in the course and exam description outlines distinct skills that students should practice throughout the year—skills that will help them learn to think and act like writers.

Skills Description Exam Weighting
Rhetorical Situation: Reading
Explain how writers’ choices reflect the components of the rhetorical situation.
Rhetorical Situation: Writing
Make strategic choices in a text to address a rhetorical situation.
Claims and Evidence: Reading
Identify and describe the claims and evidence of an argument.
Claims and Evidence: Writing
Analyze and select evidence to develop and refine a claim.
Reasoning and Organization: Reading
Describe the reasoning, organization, and development of an argument.
Reasoning and Organization: Writing
Use organization and commentary to illuminate the line of reasoning in an argument.
Style: Reading
Explain how writers’ stylistic choices contribute to the purpose of an argument.
Style: Writing
Select words and use elements of composition to advance an argument.

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