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A Program of the Virginia Department of Education

01005 AP English Language & Composition

Field of Study

AP English Language & Composition is a writing-intensive course that focuses on creating civically engaged, critically thinking, reflective writers able to analyze and implement strong rhetoric.

Material Covered

The course begins with an introduction to rhetorical analysis through the study of a memoir. It also begins with regular writing assignments. Students will then read and analyze specific pieces of nonfiction and fiction from a variety of time periods and genres in context of their rhetorical strategies to include, but not limited to: rhetorical appeals, organization, tone, diction, logical fallacies, counter-arguments, refutations, characterization, structure and organization, and literary devices. The course will focus on improving students’ persuasive writing skills through a systematic writing process, purposeful organization, and effective rhetoric. This skills practice will culminate in a formal, MLA-formatted research paper. Students will have opportunities to engage in cohort-wide discussions, produce creative projects, and analyze nonfiction independent reading choices. Targeted grammar, vocabulary, and strategy lessons will be incorporated as the instructor deems necessary to meet the needs of the students.

Student Expectations

The main course goals include developing critical literacy and facilitating informed citizenship. To support these goals, all reading is at the college level, and writing skills are expected to be college-level as well. Students should expect to work approximately 7–10 hours per week on this course outside of regular class time. This time may be spent writing, revising, reading, and completing homework assignments. Students who choose to enroll in this course should be interested in studying and writing various kinds of analytic or persuasive essays. Students who choose to enroll in this course should also be interested in studying literature of various periods and genres and using this wide reading knowledge in discussions of literary topics.

Related Requirements

At the conclusion of the course, students will be prepared to take the AP English Language & Composition Exam. While they are expected to do this, it is not required.


  • While there are no formal prerequisites, the College Board comments that students who have had some experience in rhetorical analysis, argument, and synthesis may more easily address the course objectives.
  • The course is taught as a college-level course. It is assumed that students already know the basics of crafting a strong essay and completing a research project formatted to a style guide.

Course Texts and Materials


  • Links to all required readings are included in the course content. Students may wish to purchase or borrow hard copies of the following books:
    • A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah
    • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Students will also be required to select one full-length nonfiction text from a list of provided works each semester. These books can be found at a school or local library.


  • 5 Steps to a 5: AP English Language (5 Steps to a 5 on the AP English Language Exam) by Barbara L. Murphy and Estelle M. Rankin
    Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education
  • Any comparable AP Exam preparation book
  • Note: The College Board made significant updates to this course in summer 2019, so any prep book used should be published after that time to be most beneficial.
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