Every AP English Language and Composition Practice Exam (2023)

Every AP English Language and Composition Practice Exam (1)

With the AP English Language and Composition exam coming up, it's important to find the best practice resources, and that includes practice tests! The AP Language and Composition exam has two sections: a multiple-choice section with 45 questions, and a free-response section with three essay questions—one synthesis prompt, one analysis prompt, and one argument prompt.

But not all AP Lang practice tests are like the real exam, and they aren't all of equal quality. In this guide, I'll break down where you can find official College Board AP Language and Composition practice test resources, other free resources out there, and paid practice tests and questions. I'll also break down which resources are high-quality and how to best incorporate AP English practice tests into your exam preparation.

A Note on Exam Updates

In 2019, the College Board announced updates to the AP English Language exam. The free-response section stayed the same, although there were some changes to how the essays will be scored.

For the multiple-choice section, there are now only 45 questions instead of roughly 55. Passages are also shorter, and there is a new question type, called "composition questions." They make up roughly half of the questions on multiple choice and test students on their ability to "read like a writer" and properly revise texts. Vocabulary-in-context questions and identification questions no longer appear on the exam. (To learn more about different AP Language question types, check out our guide.)

So what does this mean for you? Unfortunately, it means that any AP Language practice resource created before 2019 is out of date. However, that doesn't mean they still aren't valuable resources. Free-response prompts and passages remain the same. When using older multiple-choice resources, stop answering questions after 45 questions and skip any vocab-in-context and identification questions you see.

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Every AP English Language and Composition Practice Exam (2)

Official Practice Resources

The best practice test resources come from the College Board. This is because they are the ones who create and administer all AP exams, including AP Lang and Comp, so their materials are the closest to the real, actual questions you will be seeing on test day!

If you practice with material that's close to the actual exam, you'll feel more comfortable when you are actually taking the test. Therefore, when possible, it's best to use College Board materials. However, it's worth noting that official resources for AP Language and Composition are a little bit sparse, especially when compared to the AP Literature exam.

There are, in general, three resources that the College Board offers for any given AP exam: complete released exams, released free-response questions from previous years, and sample questions from the "AP Course and Exam Description."

Complete Released Exams

Unfortunately, the College Board doesn't appear to have released any official complete AP English Language and Composition practice exams, so I have nothing to link to here. However, you might be able to find at least one entire past exam by Googling "AP Language complete released exam" or similar variations on that. Make sure any AP Language and Composition released exams you get this way have answer keys, though!

You might also ask your AP teacher if she has any copies of old AP exams you can use for practice. AP teachers can purchase past exams from the College Board that students don't have access to. She may not be able to let you take them home, but even then you could be allowed to use them in a supervised setting.

Released Free-Response Questions

The College Board has posted years and years worth of past AP Language and Composition free-response questions that are at your disposal for practice purposes. However, only the tests from 2007-onward include the same three question types that are on the test currently. (And again remember that the rubrics for grading these questions have changed, even though the questions themselves haven't.) Earlier tests include two rhetorical analysis questions instead of a synthesis question.

Sample Questions From the "AP Course and Exam Description"

Beginning on page 115, the AP Course and Exam description for AP Language and composition includes 17 multiple-choice questions and three free-response prompts: one synthesis prompt, one analysis prompt, and one argument prompt. As mentioned above, this is the only current source of official practice questions for the new "composition" question type, so make sure to check this resource out!

Every AP English Language and Composition Practice Exam (3)

Put them in your question bank!

Free Unofficial Resources

Outside of the College Board, there are lots of sites offering free practice questions for the AP Language and Comp exam. But which ones will actually help you? Since anyone can slap together a few questions and call it an "AP Language and Composition Practice Test," how do you sort the wheat from the chaff?

I've combed through tons of free resources so you don't have to! Presented in order of quality, from best to worst, here's my list of all the free AP Language practice tests and quizzes I could find out there.

College Countdown Complete AP Language Practice Test

College Countdown offers a nearly-complete unofficial practice test, essays and all. While the exact wording of the multiple-choice questions isn't exactly the same as on a real AP exam, the tasks are very similar and the passages are well-selected. The essays are solid examples of the AP essay prompt style, although you could also substitute the unofficial free-response section for an official past free-response question if you wanted to make the experience even closer to a real AP. Also, there are robust answer explanations. This is an especially good resource given that there isn't an official College Board-released exam for this test.

High School Test Prep AP Language Practice Tests

High School Test Prep offers four short practice tests, each offering questions about a given nonfiction passage. The question style is definitely different from that of true AP questions; like the Albert questions below, they are written in a more stylistically simplistic way. Also note that these practice tests haven't been updated for the current version of the exam.

The ratio of questions about the passage overall versus specific moments in the passage is weighted much more heavily towards overall passage questions than the real AP exam. However, these are still decent rhetorical analysis practice questions, and this resource is an especially good choice if you find yourself struggling with identifying the major themes and arguments of passages overall.

Varsity Tutors AP English Practice Tests

Varsity Tutors offers very short, skill-specific quizzes. The questions don't sound all that much like AP questions, and every question asks about a different short passage, which is a little bit bizarre and inefficient. Additionally, not all of the specific skills they offer quizzes in are super-relevant to AP Language (e.g. "Motives and goals of characters"). However, if you feel like there are very specific rhetorical techniques you are confused about, taking some of the quizzes here could be a good study strategy. If you want to track your scores, you can make a free account with Varsity Tutors, but it's not necessary to be able to access the quizzes.

4tests.com AP English Language Exam

This site offers a 38-question AP English Language and Composition practice exam. The questions are somewhat overly basic and passages are not particularly similar in style or content to actual AP Language passages, though. Additionally, the interface is a little bit clunky. I would only use these if you desperately need some extra, very basic rhetorical analysis practice. (It's also not updated for the newest version of the exam.)

Crack AP English Language Tests

Crack AP has a plethora of AP English Language "tests" (that are actually short quizzes), however; we don't recommend them as a resource to use. They're based on outdated versions of the AP exam and don't cover many of the skills you'll actually see on the AP test. Feel free to skip this resource.

Every AP English Language and Composition Practice Exam (4)

Clunky like a retro calculator.

Paid Unofficial Resources

If you need even more practice, there are also paid unofficial practice test resources available.

Albert AP English Language Practice

Albert offers a large number of mini-quizzes on analyzing the rhetoric of various notable nonfiction passages. Some of their questions don't match the tone of actual AP Lang questions, but they are one of the few resources to have practice composition questions. You need to create an account to use this resource, and while some questions you can access for free, for others you need a paid subscription.

Review Books

Review books usually contain one or more complete practice tests and are a great resource when you run out of free resources. Not all review books are equally high-quality, though—be sure to look at reviews (and check out the questions by flipping through the book at the bookstore if you can, to see how similar they are to actual AP questions). As a starting place, Barron's and the Princeton Review both generally offer high-quality AP review books.

Peterson's AP Practice Tests

A plan costs roughly $50 a month for access to all of Peterson's resources. For AP English Language, they have two practice tests. I couldn't find much information or reviews as to the quality of the material, though, so this is a bit of a gamble. You'd likely be better off buying a well-reviewed review book with practice tests.

How to Use Practice Resources in Your Exam Prep

How to best use practice resources as you study depends a lot on what kind of practice material you are using. I'll review how to make the most of different types of resources here.

Complete Practice Exams (Official and Maybe Unofficial)

The best way to use complete practice tests is to do full timed practice-runs for exam day. Bring a clock, a timer, and a hefty supply of pencils into a quiet room and have at it! A practice-run will help you to feel more comfortable when it's time to take the exam for real in May.

If you have access to multiple practice tests, you can even take complete tests at different times in the studying process to see how you've improved and what you still need to work on. When you do take practice tests, it can be helpful to get someone else to help grade your free-response essays based on the rubric.

You should aim to take your first full-length practice test around the beginning of your second semester. Normally I advise to only use official College Board practice tests for this, but since easily accessible complete official exams for the AP Language and Composition exam are sparse, you may want to supplement with the practice test from College Countdown linked to above.

Official College Board Practice Free-Response and Sample Questions

Released free-response questions from past years are best for practicing specifically for the free-response section in a targeted way. You can work on the prompt types that you find the most difficult or practice outlining essays in a certain amount of time, or writing all three essays in 120 minutes.

If you don't use the Course and Exam Description as a practice test, the multiple choice questions are great targeted practice for the first section of the text. It will help you get familiar with the College Board's question style and work on your rhetorical close-reading.

Unofficial Practice Quizzes and Questions

Unofficial practice quizzes and questions just aren't going to be as much like the real AP exam as College Board materials. However, while they aren't as helpful for prepping for the exam format or question styles, they are still good practice for building your rhetorical analysis skills, which is critical for the exam. High-quality unofficial resources are definitely worth your time.

Every AP English Language and Composition Practice Exam (5)

Building rhetorical analysis skills: more complicated than building with blocks.

Key Takeaways

Practice tests are a key AP prep resource. The best resources come from the College Board, but unfortunately, official College Board resources for AP Language and Composition are a little bit sparse as compared to some other AP exams. However, there are also tons of unofficial resources, and some are high-quality. Most are free, but a few are paid.

Once you have your resources assembled, you might not be sure how to use them. Complete practice tests are best for mimicking the experience of the actual exam, sample Official questions are best for targeted section practice, and unofficial practice tests are best for rhetorical analysis skill-building.

You're ready to practice your way to AP success!

What's Next?

We also have complete practice test lists for AP Literature, AP US History, AP Chemistry, AP Biology, AP Psychology, and AP World History. Or see our guide to finding the best AP practice tests for any exam.

Taking the AP Literature exam? See our ultimate guide to AP Literature. for everything you need to know to ace this test.

Wondering if you should be trying for a perfect AP score? See how difficult it is to score a 5 and the best tips to get you there!

Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points or your ACT score by 4 points? We've written a guide for each test about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

Every AP English Language and Composition Practice Exam (6)

Every AP English Language and Composition Practice Exam (7)

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Every AP English Language and Composition Practice Exam (8)

Ellen McCammon

About the Author

Ellen has extensive education mentorship experience and is deeply committed to helping students succeed in all areas of life. She received a BA from Harvard in Folklore and Mythology and is currently pursuing graduate studies at Columbia University.

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How many questions are on the AP English Language and Composition exam? ›

The exam is 3 hours and 15 minutes long and includes 45 multiple-choice questions and 3 free-response questions. Question 1: Synthesis (6 points). Question 2: Rhetorical Analysis (6 points). Question 3: Argument (6 points).

What percent is a 5 on AP Lang? ›

What percent is a 5 on AP English Language? Based on the 2022 AP score distributions, only 10.4% of students received a 5. Alternatively, you would need to have earned 74.7% of the total available composite points on the AP Lang exam to score a 5.

How hard is the AP English Language and Composition exam? ›

AP English Language and Composition is considered moderate difficulty, with class alumnae rating it 5.2/10 for overall difficulty (the 16th-most-difficult out of the 28 large AP classes surveyed). The pass rate is lower than other AP classes, with 56% graduating with a 3 or higher.

How to get a 5 on AP Lang exam? ›

5 Ways to Get a 5 on the AP English Language Exam
  1. Understand the format of the exam and study. ...
  2. Pay attention to everything your teacher says in class. ...
  3. Read literature beyond the scope of your class syllabus. ...
  4. Learn necessary literary vocabulary. ...
  5. Practice using both unofficial and official resources.
Dec 14, 2021

What is the hardest AP class? ›

Physics 1

This class combines physics, scientific inquiry, and algebra. AP Physics 1 is considered one of the hardest AP classes, covering topics like Newtonian mechanics and electrical charge and force. Students also spend about 25% of their class time performing college-level lab experiments and writing reports.

What are the hardest AP classes ranked? ›

Hardest AP exams by pass rate
  • AP Environmental Science.
  • AP European History.
  • AP Government & Politics United States.
  • AP Human Geography.
  • AP Latin.
  • AP Physics 1.
  • AP Psychology.
  • AP United States History.
Jan 24, 2023

Is a 70 a 5 on AP exam? ›

Usually, a 70 to 75 percent out of 100 translates to a 5. However, there are some exams that are exceptions to this rule of thumb. The AP Grades that are reported to students, high schools, colleges, and universities in July are on AP's five-point scale: 5: Extremely well qualified.

Is a 50% a 5 on the AP test? ›

No, if you only answer 50% of the questions correctly on an AP test, you are extremely unlikely to score a 5. As an example, one of the hardest AP exams, AP Physics C: Mechanics, had a 55.6% cutoff to earn a 5 in 2022.

What AP test has the lowest pass rate? ›

At many high schools, AP Physics is notorious for its difficulty level. In addition, it has the lowest overall pass rate of any AP exam.

Is AP English harder than honors? ›

AP classes, however, are more challenging than honors classes. These courses cover information, teach skills and give assignments that correspond to college classes. High school students taking AP courses will be held to the same standard as college students.

What happens if you fail the AP Lang exam? ›

Unless you retake the exam, you cannot use your failing AP® English Language exam grade for college credit. Any score lower than 3 (and at some schools, a 4 or 5) is typically not recognized for credit by most colleges. The most important thing to remember is that you have control over who sees your AP® exam scores.

What happens if you don't finish an AP exam? ›

No one will know you missed the exam, and colleges don't necessarily expect that you will take the AP exam for every AP-level class you take. If you still want that college credit, you can take the AP test the following year; however, you'll have to put in some serious study time to be able to remember everything!

Is the AP Lang exam curved? ›

AP exams aren't scored on a curve or norm-referenced. This means that the percentage of exams earning scores of 3s, 4s, and 5s can increase each year if a greater proportion of students demonstrates mastery of the material.

How many people fail the AP Lang exam? ›

The Pass Rate
AP Class/ExamPass Rate (3 or Higher)Perfect Score (5)
AP English Language and Composition62.1%12.6%
All AP Classes71.13%19.57%
Mar 3, 2022

What is an 80 on the AP Lang exam? ›

A composite score of 0 to 52 results in a 1 for the exam, 53 to 80 is a 2, 81 to 97 is a 3, 98 to 113 is a 4, and 114 to 150 is a 5.

What is the highest failed AP exam? ›

AP Physics 1 is the hardest AP class with the least passing rate of 51.6. It means almost half of the students fail this exam.

What is the rarest AP class? ›

In 2021, the least popular AP exams were as follows, based on number of test-takers:
  • AP Italian (2,102 test-takers)
  • AP Japanese (2,204 test-takers)
  • AP German (4,315 test-takers)
  • AP 3-D Art and Design (4,573 test-takers)
  • AP Latin (4,889 test-takers)

What is the easiest AP to take? ›

Calculus BC

AP Calculus BC has earned a reputation as an easy AP course because many of its students master the material. Most AP Calculus BC students perform at an advanced level — at least one year ahead of their high school class in math — helping them achieve a high pass rate.

How many AP classes is impressive? ›

To be competitive at some of the most highly selective colleges in the country, 8-12 AP courses may be the sweet spot amount, assuming the student can handle that level of rigor. There are no colleges out there that require you to take 14, 17, or some other obscene number of Advanced Placement offerings.

How many AP classes is ideal? ›

To be a competitive candidate for admission, you will need to take at least 8 AP® classes, more if you can. It is a good idea to take 1 AP® course in each of the following core disciplines: English, Foreign Language, History, Math, and Science to impress the admissions officers.

What is the least hardest AP class? ›

AP Environmental Science

Regarded as one of the easiest AP classes, AP Environmental Science still manages to give students trouble.

What is a 50% on an AP exam? ›

Step 3: Estimate your Final AP Scaled Score by Using the Chart Given Below:
Composite ScoreScaled Score
1 more row
Apr 12, 2023

Is a B+ in an AP class good? ›

In summary:

In theory, a “B" in an AP or honors class is “better" than an “A" in a regular class, but many applicants to top colleges will have all A's in the top classes.

What grade is failing in AP? ›

But what is a passing AP score? The College Board considers a score of 3 or higher a passing grade. That said, some colleges require a 4 or 5 to award credit.

What is a 60% on an AP test? ›

Yes, a 60 is a passing rate in AP classes. The average passing rate in AP is 60-70%.

What happens if you get a 1 on an AP exam? ›

In fact, on the AP® rubric, a 1 is described as “no recommendation”. Because of that, no college in the United States of overseas will accept an AP® score of 1 and give you college credit.

What is a B+ in an AP class? ›

Honors English = B+ (3.8 x 1.0) = 3.8. Algebra II. = B+ (3.3 x 1.0) = 3.3. AP US History = B+ (4.3 x 1.0) = 4.3. Honors Chemistry = C+ (2.8 x 1.0) = 2.8.

Is getting a 1 or 2 on an AP Exam bad? ›

Key Takeaway: AP students who earn a score of 1 or 2, or average a score of 1 or 2 across their AP Exams in high school, have better college outcomes than academically similar college students who did not take an AP course and exam. compared to academically similar students who did not take AP in high school.

Can you get a zero on AP tests? ›

Often, composite scores are between 0 and 100, or 0 and 150. The composite score is then converted to a number on the scaled score range 1-5. This means that for each scaled score, there is a range of possible composite scores that could earn it.

What percent of AP students fail? ›

All AP exams have a passing rate of at least 50%.

Do colleges prefer AP or honors? ›

Colleges like them both. Both honors and AP courses are rigorous courses that most high schools weight more heavily on your transcript. AP courses, however, culminate in the AP Exam. Good AP scores show colleges you are ready to succeed at college-level work and can even earn you college credits.

Do colleges prefer AP over honors? ›

Many state colleges like to see applicants with honors classes, as it shows commitment and determination. The country's most prestigious schools, such as Ivy League institutions, usually prefer AP classes on transcripts. These standardized courses can help schools compare applicants more directly.

Do AP classes boost GPA? ›

AP classes can boost your GPA and strengthen your college application. But the number of advanced courses you choose to take should depend on your academic interests and your schedule.

Do colleges care if you fail AP exam? ›

Colleges will not look at your score

According to the College Board, over 75% of admissions officers surveyed said that a poor AP score would have no impact on an application. If you are still worried that your college may be off put by a low score, you can opt not to send your AP score.

Is it OK to do bad on AP Exams? ›

You may also take AP exams and never reveal your scores to universities if you're not happy with your results. This means that even a bad AP score can't negatively affect your application. Every year, students get into top universities without any AP scores on their resumes.

Will bad AP scores hurt me? ›

AP scores have very, very little impact on college admissions, especially if the exam has nothing to do with your major. If you don't report, they probably won't really notice. They can't assume you failed, as maybe you never took the exam in the first place. They care more about your grade in the class.

Should I retake an AP Exam if I got a 2? ›

If you got a 2 on your AP® English Language exam, it is definitely worth trying to retake it. Make it worth the added time and expense by taking these steps to improve your score. Track your scores on the multiple choice section. As you prepare, carefully note your score on the multiple choice section.

Should I report an AP score of 2? ›

Sending your AP exam score to colleges is optional.

If your exam score is eligible for credit, self-report it on the college application and send the official report through the CollegeBoard. Never report or send an exam score of a 1 or 2. They are not considered “passing” scores.

How many AP tests do you need to skip a year of college? ›

If you manage to take 11 AP classes throughout your high school stay, that's enough (33 credits on average) to skip a whole year of college. While that may too much, even a couple of classes can be enough to give you a semester ahead of your peers coming into college.

How long is the AP English Language and Composition exam? ›

The AP English Language & Composition exam is 3 hours and 15 minutes long and consists of two sections: a multiple-choice section and a free response section.

Is a 4 on the AP English Language exam good? ›

What is a good AP® English Language score? Scoring a 3, 4, or 5 on any AP® exam is generally considered good. Typically, a 3 is defined as 'qualified,' 4 as 'well qualified,' and a 5 as 'extremely well qualified.

What is a passing score for AP Lang? ›

Although a 3 or higher is considered a passing score, each college sets its own policies for accepting AP credit. Typically, a score of 5 for an AP English Language and Composition exam will earn you some college-level composition credit at almost any school.

Is a 4 on the AP English exam good? ›

In general, a score of 3 or higher on an AP® exam is a solid score. According to The College Board, a 3 is 'qualified. ' A 4 is considered 'well qualified. ' Finally, a 5 is deemed 'extremely well qualified.

Is the AP Lang exam hard? ›

The AP® English Language exam is considered average in terms of its difficulty level. This exam has a slightly lower-than-average passing rate, but has a higher passing rate than many other reading and writing-intensive courses.

Is there a break during the AP Lang exam? ›

Under standard testing conditions, most AP Exams include a 10-minute break between the two sections. Students with disabilities can be approved for different types of breaks: Extra breaks: Students are provided one or more additional breaks.

Are AP tests curved? ›

Yes, there's a curve on AP exams, especially in relation to the AP Physics C tests. They have a heavy curve, as can be seen by the scoring distributions. A large majority of the test takers pass the exam, and 50 percent score a 5.

Is a 4 on AP exam bad for Ivy League? ›

An AP Score of 3 or 4 will likely not get you any college credit or respect at a top school like Stanford/Ivies/MIT.

What score is a 50% on the AP exam? ›

On most AP exams, a 50% will likely result in an AP score of 3. However, scoring a 50% on some of the harder AP exams such as AP Physics C: Electricity & Magnetism will earn you a 4.

Is a 60% passing AP test? ›

Yes, a 60 is a passing rate in AP classes. The average passing rate in AP is 60-70%.

Has anyone gotten a perfect score on the AP Lang exam? ›

The perfect score means Zhang received the maximum score on each portion of the exam for a score of 108 out of 108. Zhang took the test in the spring when he was a sophomore. The school said 20 percent of students who took the test during that time earned a 5, the most since 2016.

What is the lowest AP score? ›

The AP® exams are scored by five numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. With 1 being the lowest score and 5 being the highest score, students can see where they fall.

Does Harvard accept 4 on AP exams? ›

Harvard only accepts AP® scores of 5 for course credit. If you have 4 scores of 5, you can opt to obtain Advanced Standing. You can use AP® credits to opt-out of lower-level classes. Harvard has general academic requirements that all students must take.

What is a 75 on an AP test? ›

AP Scale Grading
If you got a percentage of...If you got a raw score of... (For FINAL EXAM)Your letter Grade will be...
87% or above94-108A+
9 more rows


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