The Ultimate AP English Literature Guide & Official Past-Year Papers with MCQ

by SAT GrandMaster on April 03, 2021

Content Difficulty

AP English Literature has the lowest five-point rate of about 6%, showing the difficulty level of the subject. It is more suitable for students who have a strong interest in literature and have a good foundation in literary reading. AP English Literature requires more in-depth reading and analysing. Students are required to read the classic poems, novels and dramas, and have deep understandings of their meaning, artistic achievement and cultural value and write literary reviews in a standardised manner.

AP English Literature has a high requirement for writing ability. The structure must be clear, the usage of words and sentences must be formal and the views need to be objective. You will also need to justify your points while analysing the work.


Content Coverage

AP English Literature and Writing is an exam that focuses on examining candidates' comprehension and analysis of literary texts. The genres examined are mostly novels, poems, and dramas. The scope of examination are mainly focused on mastering different styles of writing, the style of the passage, the objective, the analysis and understanding of the emotions expressed in the passages.

Candidates must not only understand the work, but also be able to analyse the work in terms of writing and rhetoric. They will also need to sense the connection between the work and the historical and cultural background.


Should You Take AP English Literature?

Compared to the other subjects, AP English Literature will require more time to prepare. In addition to strong English reading and writing skills, it also requires candidates to have a solid foundation and a great interest in literature.

It is suitable for students who plan to study language, literature-related majors. In view of the difficulty level and low five-point rate, it is recommended that students need to understand the subject objective fully and consider carefully before choosing the subject.


Exam Format

Section 1: Multiple Choice
55 Questions I 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 I 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

Score Distribution



Test Prep Strategy

AP English Literature examines fictional literary works, involving prose, poetry, drama, novels, etc. The most important thing is to read a lot. When preparing for the examination, you must read more and fully understand the books, master each role, as well as the psychology of the role and other aspects. Also, you will need to practise a lot of writing and critical thinking.


Recommended Study Guides

-AP English Literature and Composition Crash Course 2011 Edition
-5 Steps to 500 AP English and Literature Questions to Know By Test Day
-AP English Literature Composition for Dummies 
-Glencoe Literature The Reader's Choice—American Literature
-Cracking the AP. English Literature and Composition Exam by Princeton Review 
-Glencoe Literature The Reader's Choice—Course 4 & 5 
-Peterson's AP English Literature and Composition 


Collection of Official Papers with Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)

  1. AP English Literature 1987 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Question
  2. AP English Literature 1999 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions
  3. AP English Literature 2004 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions
  4. AP English Literature 2008 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions
  5. AP English Literature 2009 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions
  6. AP English Literature 2012 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions
  7. AP English Literature 2013 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions
  8. AP English Literature 2014 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions
  9. AP English Literature 2015 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions
  10. AP English Literature 2016 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions
  11. AP English Literature 2017 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions
  12. AP English Literature 2019 Full Exam Paper with Multiple-Choice Questions

Click here to obtain the latest AP English Literature Guide & Official Past-Year Papers with MCQ from ExclusiveSAT. 

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