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AP English Language and Composition. An Overview of the Course. The College Board Definition.

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ap english language and composition

AP English Languageand Composition

An Overview of the Course

the college board definition
The College Board Definition

An AP course in English Language and Composition engages students in becoming skilled readers ofprosewritten in a variety of periods, disciplines, and rhetorical contexts, and in becoming skilled writers who compose for a variety of purposes.


This class is basically a writing class. In fact, it is structured to be (and in some cases, take the place of) a college Freshmen composition course.

So the emphasis is on writing and understanding what makes good writing—rather than on literature.


In a standard English Literature class, you read to discover the meanings the writer creates with his written work. (In other words, “What does the writer say?”)

In this class, you will be reading to discover how the writer uses his written word to create the meaning. (In other words, “How does the writer say it? What techniques does he use? And what is the effect?”)


Besides reading, you will be writing. A lot of writing.

This course is structured to give you a chance to write analytical, expository, and argumentative essays. You will be given the opportunity to write both formal and informal essays.

As you read and analyze other writers’ techniques and styles, my hidden goal is that you discover your own writing VOICE.

the units of the course
The Units of the Course
  • An Introduction to Rhetoric
  • Everything’s an Argument
  • The Synthesis Essay
  • Preparation for the AP Exam
the works to be studied
The Works to be Studied

Much of your reading will be expository writings.

  • The Prentice-Hall Reader (a collection of essays)
  • Compact Reader

The fictional works to be covered in class:

  • The Scarlet Letter
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (sort of)
  • The Great Gatsby
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God
workload expectations for the class
Workload Expectations for the Class
  • 10-15 AP Style timed writings (20-40 minutes each)
  • 3-4 multi-draft essays (including the synthesis essay)
  • 5-7 expressive writings – allowing you to practice various styles of writing
  • 3-4 major literary works to read/analyze
workload expectations for the class continued
Workload Expectations for the Class (continued)
  • You will be reading several essays and analyzing the rhetorical strategies used by the authors
  • 1 Major Project at the end of the term: The Three Guidelines for Your Life
  • A Possible Literary Project
the ap english language and composition exam
The AP English Language and Composition Exam
  • The Exam will be administered on May 16th.
  • The Exam is three hours in length

--60 minutes for the multiple choice section (to test the students’ skills in analyzing the rhetoric of prose passages)

--120 minutes for three essay questions

the essay portion
The Essay Portion

Each year, the AP English Language exam includes three essay prompts. The types of prompts vary from year to year. Typically, the prompts consist of:

--prose analysis

-- “write an argument”

--the synthesis essay

(But there are no guarantees!!)

brunk s goal
Brunk’s Goal
  • Prepare you for the exam by providing test taking techniques, equipping you with the “rhetorical” vocabulary and the understanding of how to use those devices, completing several practice exams, and giving you the chance to write.
brunk s real goals
Brunk’s Real Goals
  • To allow you the opportunity to find your voice both in writing and in speaking
  • To experience writing and reading in a whole new way!!
  • To help you learn more about yourself as a writer, a speaker, a student, and an individual