What Do You Learn in AP Literature

What Do You Learn in AP Literature?

AP Literature, short for Advanced Placement Literature and Composition, is a college-level course offered in high schools. This course aims to develop students’ critical thinking, analytical, and writing skills through the study of various literary works. AP Literature covers a wide range of genres including prose, poetry, and drama, from different time periods and cultures.

Here are some key aspects of what you can expect to learn in AP Literature:

1. Close Reading: AP Literature focuses on close reading and analysis of literary texts. Students learn to interpret and analyze various elements of a text such as themes, symbols, imagery, and figurative language. They also develop skills to analyze the author’s purpose, style, and tone.

2. Literature Appreciation: The course exposes students to a diverse range of literary classics from different cultures and time periods. Students explore works by renowned authors such as Shakespeare, Jane Austen, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Toni Morrison. They learn to appreciate the historical and cultural contexts in which these works were written.

3. Writing Skills: AP Literature helps students enhance their writing skills by requiring them to write analytical essays on literary texts. Students learn to develop a strong thesis statement, support it with evidence from the text, and craft well-structured essays. They also practice literary analysis through timed writings and the close examination of literary devices.

4. Critical Thinking: The course encourages students to think critically and engage in thoughtful discussions. They learn to analyze literature from different perspectives and consider multiple interpretations. Students are encouraged to express their opinions and support them with evidence, fostering a deeper understanding of the texts.

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5. Exam Preparation: AP Literature culminates in an AP exam that assesses students’ understanding of the course material. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and three essay prompts. Throughout the course, students practice with sample exam questions and receive feedback on their writing to prepare for the rigorous exam.


Q: Do I need prior knowledge of literature to take AP Literature?
A: While prior knowledge of literature is not a requirement, a strong foundation in reading and writing skills is beneficial. The course is designed to challenge students and build upon their existing skills.

Q: How much reading is involved in AP Literature?
A: AP Literature requires extensive reading. Students are expected to read a variety of literary works throughout the year, including novels, plays, and poetry. The reading load can be demanding, so effective time management is crucial.

Q: Is AP Literature only for students pursuing a career in literature?
A: No, AP Literature is beneficial for any student interested in improving their analytical and writing skills. The course helps develop critical thinking abilities that are valuable in various fields of study, including humanities, social sciences, and even STEM.

Q: What are the benefits of taking AP Literature?
A: AP Literature offers several benefits. It provides students with a college-level learning experience, prepares them for the rigor of higher education, and enhances their reading and writing skills. Additionally, successful completion of the course may result in college credit or advanced placement, depending on the policies of individual colleges and universities.

Q: Is AP Literature a difficult course?
A: AP Literature can be challenging due to the complexity of the texts and the analytical writing required. However, with proper dedication, time management, and the support of teachers and classmates, students can excel in the course.

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